What is eating my marigolds?

arizona_soonerApril 23, 2008

Just planted a few a couple days ago. About 25% of them have almost no greenery left. Something chewed them up.

The Petunias I have nearby seem untouched.

What do you think is causing the Marigold damage?

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I vote for rabbits. I have rabbits at my house that snack on my flower bed. I sometimes catch them when I come home at night.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2008 at 10:15AM
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Could also be caterpillars, too!


    Bookmark   April 23, 2008 at 12:24PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Well, in my garden it is ALWAYS the pill bugs and the sow bugs (who live in the mulch) and the organic solution is Slug-Go or any other organic, iron phosphate-based snail and slug killer (NOT a chemical snail and slug killer whose active ingredient is metaldahyde).

It might not be those pests in your garden though. I have a chicken wire fence around the bottom two feet of my woven wire garden fencing and that chicken wire almost always keeps the bunnies out.

It could be anything. Look for insects out in the evening or early morning and that might help you "catch" whatever is eating the marigolds.


    Bookmark   April 23, 2008 at 1:19PM
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I just recall marigolds (tagetes) that served as a host plant to some butterfly, but I can't remember what now. Could be thinking of one of the sulphurs.

BTW, I have Black Swallowtail eggs!


    Bookmark   April 23, 2008 at 6:24PM
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I noticed some pill bugs in the soil this evening. I would bet it is them. Thanks for the advice!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2008 at 11:38PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

You're welcome.

I had the same problem with marigolds for several years and it took me a while to make the connection. Once I started watching, it seemed like I had about a billion pill bugs and sow bugs. Using the Slug-Go doesn't totally wipe them out, but it keeps the damage to a minimum.

This year I have purchased and used a Slug-Go-type iron phosphate product at Home Depot. I think it was called Snail and Slug Killer and it was in an aqua and white bag, and it probably was with the organic products and not the regular ones.


    Bookmark   April 24, 2008 at 7:59AM
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It is some kind of night feeder:

1. Rolly pollies - Pill bugs and Sow bugs will eat up young tender Marigolds.

2. Slugs will too if they are in a wet & soggy area.

3. Earwigs will devastate your garden. They also eat up your strawberry plants, flowers and leaves.

Any or all of these are prime suspects.

So....Go out tonight with a flashlight and do a little detective work. Then you will catch them in the act.

~ sweetannie4u

    Bookmark   April 24, 2008 at 4:54PM
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What on earth is a Pill bug? I thought Marigolds kept the BAD bugs away??? I bought two containers of Marigolds in an attempt to save my Geraniums from whatever is eating them :-(

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 12:48AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


Pill bugs and sow bugs are related to one another, and even though we think of them as bugs, they are not actually insects--they are crustaceans. They often attack and eat marigolds, but I have only seen that happen here in southern OK in the cooler months--mainly April or May.

The only solution I've ever found is to use one of the iron phosphate products (Slug-Go, Slug-Go Plus, Escar-Go, Organic Snail and Slug Killer) marketed as a snail and slug control. I have used Slug-Go for several years and it has greatly reduced damage from pill bugs and sow bugs. This year I switched to a new form of Slug-Go called Slug-Go Plus, which is like the original Slug-Go but has had spinosad added to make it even more effective against crustaceans.

The odor of the Marigold's leaves does often act as insect repellent, but it doesn't repel everything. In addition to sowbugs and pillbugs, rabbits often eat my marigolds. About the only other pest I've ever seen on marigolds are spider mites.


Here is a link that might be useful: Photo of pill bugs and sow bugs

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 6:08AM
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