Where are the pests?

mulberryknobMay 22, 2011

I haven't seen a single Colorado Potato Beetle Larva on the potatoes this year. And only two cabbages have any worm damage. Was it the ten weeks of drought last summer or the 16" of rain in a little over a week last month that interrupted the cycle. I pick and crush every year and it never before has so completely eliminated them, so I'm thinking weather. And isn't it time for the Japanese Beetles to emerge? Seems like I saw them about this time in previous years. This year nada...yet. Anybody know whats's going on?

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soonergrandmom

Dorothy, I have one eggplant in my garden which Chandra gave me and it is totalled dressed. It is so covered up that I didn't think a bug could get to it, but I will tell you that the flea bettles are alive and well and have found their way inside my covering.

My broccoli is just beginning to head and I haven't seen any worms. I do have a little leaf damage but it is from the chickens snacking on it when I accidently didn't close their door.

I rarely see lady bugs in my garden, but they came last year following an aphid attack on my cukes, and I am seeing them again this year, so there must be some pests that they are snacking on.

Wouldn't it be nice if the Japanese Beetles have all drowned in our downpours this year. I haven't seen any either, but it seems early for them.

I haven't seen Colorado Potato Beetles either, but I have so few potatoes growing it may not be worth their effort to find mine. LOL

So far, so good. It seems to be the year of the ants at my house and they seem to be in everything. Everytime I start to use an outdoor electric outlet the ants come flowing out of it. I guess they have been trying to get in out of the rain also.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2011 at 1:44AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Dorothy,

We have some pests here but not in huge numbers like last year. Pest populations cycle up and down, though, just like wildlife so I guess this is a 'down' year for some of the spring pests.

Last year we had millions of CPBs. This year, the Spined Soldier Bugs showed up first (which is rare) and were standing around on the potatoes for days looking for CPBs to eat. Finally, the CPBs began showing up, but the spined soldier bugs are doing a pretty job of controlling them. I have a lot of potatoes and I probably have hand-picked 2 or 3 dozen CPBs. Last year I surely handpicked hundreds if not thousands.
My broccoli and cabbage are not being eaten as much as usual, but they aren't pest-free either. At our house, no flea beetles this year, no cutworms, no aphids (as far as I've noticed, but lots of lady bugs, so maybe the lady bugs are eating them), but lots of grasshoppers. First, we had full-sized adult grasshoppers migrate in during March and April when the wildfires in Texas were so plentiful. Now we have the new ones hatching out weekly. I put out Semaspore weekly, so hopefully it will help control them. We have plenty of blister beetles showing up a couple of months early, but no spider mites yet. I saw the first squash bugs this week. So, it seems about like an average year here at our house.

We rarely have Japanese Beetles here. I might see 2 or 3 or 4 a year, but we have May Beetles, aka June Bugs, and this year they showed up in either late March or early April when it was so hot so early. I think the weather tricked them into thinking it was later in the season than it was.

Ticks have just begun showing up, but we have tons of spiders as always.

Mosquitoes have become pretty bad the last 4 or 5 days, but I haven't seen any chiggers yet.

That's my bug report.

Maybe y'all will get lucky and the JBs won't be so bad this year.

Carol, I hate it when the ants do that. In one flood year (likely either 2004 or 2007) they got into our air conditioner's condenser unit, but we got them out of it before they could damage the condenser.

Dawn

    Bookmark   May 22, 2011 at 9:05AM
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slowpoke_gardener

I have a healthy crop of flea beetles, have seen one potato beetle and 4 squash bugs, several bugs I did not know what they were. I have a lot of birds in my garden each time I go out there and I am sure that they are there for a reason. I also saw two young rabbits and I had just as soon that they go somewhere else.

Larry

    Bookmark   May 22, 2011 at 12:32PM
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PunkinHeadJones(7)

I know, what's the deal I only grow cucumbers and squash so the bettles and bugs have something to eat! They're so cute! I've got some extra spider mites if anyone wants to trade for some stink bugs.Oh gosh maybe there is a dedicated forum for this, sorry.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2011 at 1:13PM
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krussow(6A)

my brocilli is done heading and all harvested out of all of it i just had 1 tiny lil inch worm. i had 60 plants.... i found 2 cut worms in califlower. 60 also.. and 1 worm in my cabbage so far.. 30 plants.. so i 7 dusted everything just to be o nteh safe side.. but LAST YEAR it was INSTANT pests... tomatoes had mites.. ALL my corn got worms in it before it even got to produce.. after tomatoes got going they were fine it was just the corn that got attacked... Japanese bettles seemed to come out closer to July... i hung 2 traps each about 50 ft away from my garden.. i filled them Every day and never had 1 bettle on my plants..

im just praying i can keep the worms out of my corn!!! i have 18rows this year and really dont want to lose it all again this year!

    Bookmark   May 22, 2011 at 2:54PM
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bettycbowen(7)

soonergrandmom - I was about to give up on my broccoli until I read your post then went outside to check and sure enough they are finally making heads!I've been telling my friends I'm keeping the broccoli plants as ornamentals since I'd given up on actual broccoli - but the plants sure are pretty.

As for pests, I too have noticed how few there are - one hole in a potato leaf. I have seen two lady bugs, and loads of tiny ants.

I haven't noticed any bugs at all on my eggplants, and Chandras is still alive. My only garden swap casualty is the little delice melon that got chomped by something. each leaf neatly snipped off.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2011 at 3:52PM
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mulberryknob

The greenhouse is still open, no door on it yet, and a bluebird pair have decided it is the perfect place to nest. (It will probably be safer than the hole in a fence post that a black snake got into last year. He took out two broods before I took him out.)

Anyway, I see them swooping over the garden. Maybe they are on bug patrol.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 12:09AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Dorothy,

I bet they are on bug patrol.

I've noticed birds hang out in my garden all the time when I'm not in it, and I never find bird damage on plants, so I assume they are in there hunting bugs.

A few brave birds, mostly mockingbirds, blue jays and some sparrows, even come into the garden when the cats and I are there.

The mockingbirds have a great sense of humor. They sit ON the scarecrow and sing, sing, sing. They sit on his arms. They sit on his hat. They've done it for years. I don't think my scarecrow scares anything away, but apparently it makes a great bird perch. That's OK though, because the birds sure are welcome to come eat all the insects they want, and I love all the birdsongs too.

Dawn

    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 11:29AM
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soonergrandmom

I think you need something elevated in the garden for the birds to land on and patrol the area. I have noticed that they land on a tomato cage, trellis, fence and then dive down when they see movement I guess. Except for berries and ripe tomatoes, I don't think they bother much. I usually bring in my tomatoes before they are totally ripe for that reason, and I can tell no difference in taste.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 1:21PM
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TairaKL

Saw first squash bug yesterday...he was escorted off the premises. We've got loads of ladybugs and ants. You can't throw a rock without hitting a bird in our backyard...mockingbirds, cardinals and robins mostly. I love watching the mockingbirds with my binoculars; they're the cutest little things. A cardinal was so bold as to hop into my garage last week and did sort of a hiss at me as I tried to put some clothes in the dryer! Saw lots of grasshoppers a couple of weeks ago, but now we don't have any.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 2:06PM
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farmgardener

I still have plenty of grasshoppers - the guineas were doing a good job of reducing their number till a big hawk took two of my best guinea hens..........if anyone needs hoppers just let me know and I'll bag some up and send 'em your way - and by the way - the rabbits eat everything here soon as it's about 2" tall - even ate the tops out of the tomatoes......of course the hawk prefers guineas. Figure that one out!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 2:52PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Carol, I just think it is embarassing that the scarecrow isn't scarey. A friend made it for me, so I'll always keep it out there, but it doesn't do its job very well.

We have birds perching on tomato cages, the entry arbor and the fence too. I love having the birds around.

I don't think there is any discernable loss of flavor as long as the tomatoes break color before you pick them. Sometimes I pick 'em at the breaker stage and sometimes I wait. Mostly it depends on how busy I am.

Farmgardener, I've about given up on having guineas, unless we take out an acre or two of woodland to maintain a larger open perimeter on the north side of the chicken coop. We just have too much trouble with bobcats, coyotes and cougars coming out of the nearby woods and getting them. A hawk tried to snatch one once (and they have successfully done so before) while we were in the yard, and Tim ran and snatched the guinea out of the hawk's talons. That guinea lost some feather, but survived the near miss.

We fence out the rabbits to the extent we can, and I bribe them by putting little piles of henscratch in the driveway for them. They eat that and leave my unfenced flower beds alone. It has been a long time since rabbits have found a way through the garden fence and into the garden, but I think they could do it if they really wanted to. Sometimes they do come up onto the concrete patio and nibble at tomatoes and peppers in pots, but they can't reach much of the plants because they're in big, tall pots and have cages. Every now and then a rabbit must manage to stand on its hind legs and reach through part of the cage to nibble plant foliage.

We are constantly at war with the grasshoppers, and it never seems to end, although as you well know, some years are worse than others.

Dawn

    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 6:39PM
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