What's eating my hosta?

sueswatercolor(4)June 15, 2012

My little struggling Francis Williams is being eaten by something, but what???

I see no critters under the leaves.. did see a green leafhopper on the ground nearby. I want to stop this eating thing before it moves to the nearby hostas.

Any ideas what might be doing this?

Thanks in advance!

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

slugs and cutworms..

ken

ps: you probably should have asked for remedy.. but you didnt...

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 7:17PM
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CindyCRNA(6a)

Ortho Bug Geta Plus for slugs and Ortho Eight for cutworms.....sorry, I'm a chemical girl!!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 9:06PM
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HostaEdz5

Wow there is not much left to that poor little hosta.

B.T. is also supposed to work for cutworms. This is the first year I have had cutworm problems, I think because of the lack of cold temps. this winter, so I just used some B.T. Had to get it at a real nursery, not a big box store. I have not seen any more cutworm damage since I applied it.

Ed

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 9:14PM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

Cindy,

I don't object to judicious use of chemicals, but can you tell me what is in "Ortho Eight." I can't find any reference to it. As I mentioned before Bug Geta Plus kills both slugs and cutworms.

Steve

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 9:42PM
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bkay2000(8a TX)

It's my experience that Bug getta doesn't get cutworms, maybe bug getta plus will. I used BT once and had no more problems.

Sue, go out there after dark with a flashlight and see what's there. A cutworm is a beige caterpillar. I had problems with other caterpillars, not just cutworms. I had some kind of armyworm, too. We're several weeks ahead of your season. The caterpillar season is pretty much over here. By the way, if you use the powedered BT, it won't wash of blue hosta.

bkay

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 10:34PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

The newer organic caterpillar/leaf sucker-upper killer is spinosad. It it working well, so far, on my herbs and tomatoes. Better (for me) than BT.I don't see a residue on those plants, but haven't needed to use it on hostas.
-Babka

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 11:24PM
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steelskies(5)

More cut off stems today. At this rate, I won't have alot of hosta leaves left. I went out twice at night and didn't see anything. Maybe this critter comes VERY late at night. I bought mothballs today and put some around a few of the worst-eaten hostas.

Trying to post picture of some of the leaf stems. Hope it works!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 2:51AM
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sueswatercolor(4)

Everyone is referring to B.T. What does BT stand for??

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 6:36AM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

Bacillus Thuringis. It's a naturally occurring bacterium that is toxic only to Lepidoptera or caterpillars. I don't think it will work on cutworms.

Spinosad is probably a better choice. But you have to be careful with Spinosad, even though it's also a naturally occurring substance, it is toxic to bees. As with all of these things, READ THE LABEL. And don't use it for things it was not designed for.

If for example, someone puts out mothballs around their Hosta to control squirrels, and a visiting child eats them, gets sick or dies, then the homeowner is liable and criminally responsible because they have broken Federal law.

Read the labels on this stuff. As Ken says, "It's not French perfume."

Steve

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 7:32AM
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irawon(5a Ottawa)

I found a few cutworms around my most chewed up hostas. I have sprinkled corn meal around them. I will report back if it helps.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 11:05AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

steelskies..

check out the link for thoughts on using poison in your garden

ken

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 12:52PM
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bkay2000(8a TX)

Steve, cutworms are caterpillars. There's no reason BT wouldn't work on them. It's going to work better than a slug bait/treatment. That's what I used this spring and it worked well. I used the powder (Dipel) on the hosta with visible damage to get immediate treatment. Then, a couple of days later, I sprayed all the hosta and passionflowers with the liquid. The gulf frittilary butterflies are coming back to the passionflowers now, but have been leaving them alone for a couple of months.

From the Univeersity of Minnesota:
"Cutworms are the larvae (caterpillars) of several species of night-flying moths in the family Noctuidae. The larvae are called cutworms because they cut down young plants as they feed on stems at or below the soil surface. There are also species of climbing cutworms that move up plants and feed upon foliage, buds and shoots."

bkay

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 1:29PM
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steelskies(5)

Be assured there are no children here ever, (or until my grown children have some which will be a long time from now) And we live on a farm where there are no neighbors for a long ways. The hostas are very far from my vegatable garden.

Would Sevin work if these are cutworms. I am losing leaves at an alarming rate every night. But I've gone out 3 times now at midnight and see no critters. They must come out even later than that.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 3:06PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

When you go cutworm hunting (OBTW they might be earwigs too)at night, are you turning the leaves over to find the buggers? Any caterpillars I've ever found on my hostas are always on the bottom side of the leaf.

To find earwigs, just place a damp piece of rolled-up newspaper near the plants in the evening. The earwigs will go there to hide. In the morning you just shake out that roll and see whatcha got.

-Babka

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 6:26PM
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steelskies(5)

I do see a lot of ear wigs everywhere, not particularly on the hostas.

Can someone PLEASE tell me what to use to get rid of these things. (either ear wigs YUCK! or the cutworm)? Obviously the bug getta does not work.

Do ear wigs cut off the stems like what I see on my hosta leaves? (as shown on the posted picture) I didn't know that.

I have WAY too many hostas to pick them off every plant.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 8:00PM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

Try this from the U. of Illinois:

Trapping

A key element of an earwig management program is trapping. Scatter numerous traps throughout the yard. Traps can easily be hidden near shrubbery and ground cover plantings, or against fences. A low-sided can, such as a cat food or tuna fish can, with 1/2 inch of oil in the bottom makes an excellent trap. Fish oil (e.g., tuna fish oil) is very attractive to earwigs or vegetable oil with a drop of bacon grease can be used. Dump captured earwigs and refill cans with oil. Other common types of traps are a rolled-up newspaper, corrugated cardboard, bamboo tube, or short piece of hose. Place these traps on the soil near plants just before dark and shake accumulated earwigs out into a pail of soapy water in the morning. Continue these procedures every day until you are no longer catching earwigs.

Yes, if you've got enough of them they will do that damage.

Steve

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 8:05PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

Bug Getta works on slugs and snails only.

Bug Getta plus helps with the other critters.

Rolled up damp newspaper "traps" work for the earwigs (you need to shake those out into soapy water each morning.

Spinosad or Bt will work if you spray it on things, but you have to spray the undersides of the leaves too.

It appears that you have a lot of bug problems, but unless you can ID what is eating your hostas, we can only offer suggestions of things to try.

The rest is up to you...but you better get out there fast because the pests will soon go away...no hostas left to eat!!!

-Babka

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 8:30PM
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sueswatercolor(4)

Thanks for all of your postings.... I put down Bug Geta and Ortho Eight... the hostas are still being eaten at an alarming rate... now moving to my bigger hostas....

I have BT on order, hope it gets here soon.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 8:45AM
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johnsonnek

Sounds like deer to me. I lost a dozen hostas to deer in two nights last year. Then they moved on to my apple tree. If that's the case, Irish Spring bar soap seems to keep them away.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 11:43AM
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