Would love a confirmation of what pest is causing this damage!

peapod026April 14, 2014

Hey there!
I recently planted some Zucchini plants, and instantly they were devastated by some sort of pest (there's no hope for them any longer I fear). At first I suspected snails, but after sprinking Sluggo around the plants, they still kept getting damaged. I also kept checking the plants at night, and there were no snails around them! I then treated them by spraying them with a garlic/onion/cayenne infusion (which I read repels a lot of pests) and the culprit was not deterred.
Before I plant more Zuchs, I just want to confirm what pest this is. Based on the damage, it looks to be slugs (even though no evidence of them present is found), but does anyone have any other ideas of what it may be? There are loads of Pincher Bugs and Pill Bugs around, but I've read that those are rarely the culprits.

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

You need to research a bit more.....both of the critters you've mentioned are capable of doing considerable damage. Google earwig damage to plants and check out the images.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 5:53PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

oh crikey ... you have thrown down two cures.. and you still dont have an ID .... ??


scratch around in the soil and find the cutworms ... and unless you find more than 5.. do NOT treat the plants again ... and go out at night and see if you can find anything ...

lay down a leaf of lettuce.. and spike it with a stick... if you find a slug hiding under it the next morning... you will know if its slugs.. otherwise you polluted your garden with sluggo ...

i see no reason that plant needs to be replaced.. based on this pic ...


    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 6:39PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

To trap for earwigs or pill/bugs, fold a couple pieces of newspaper a few times, soak it with water, and leave it in your garden. Check in the morning to see if you find any culprits. The damage certainly looks like that of earwigs.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 6:47PM
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Thanks guys! I've left out some rolled up newspaper as a trap, as well as some beer traps (some users on other forums mentioned this works for slugs as well as earwigs!)
Oh, and Ken--I've heard that sluggo is not too bad to use around the garden, is there a problem putting it down as a preventative measure, before snails attack? I was sure it was snails doing the damage, that's why I put it down. But I guess it is a harsher method than simply putting some newspaper or beer out, haha. I will let you guys know what I find!

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 10:18PM
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dirtguy50 SW MO z6a(6a)

So, what did you find?

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 6:27PM
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Hey! The rolled up newspaper didn't work very well, but put out about 3 beer traps and caught about 30 earwigs in them! I keep refilling them at night, and catching a bit more, but the plants at this stage are completely ruined and any new growth is immediately eaten/destroyed. Is there a better method for deterring/ eradicating the earwigs?

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 6:45PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

I still would bet on slugs/snails.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 1:25AM
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I second Ken-ID first and then treat.


    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 1:44AM
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northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)

When I read your post and saw your pics. and then heard of what you had tried I thought of earwigs. About two years ago I had an infestation in one bed and they completely sheared my radishes to the ground, then the parsley, and thyme. They also got into my potted petunias on my deck, so they do travel. Continue with the traps and try sprinkling some crushed bay leaves around if you can spare them. They don't like the smell.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 2:13AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Look for 'Sluggo Plus '. It contains iron phosphate plus spinosad, an ingredient that will control the earwigs.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 7:11AM
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Sweet thanks guys! I'm nearly certain it's earwigs, it's all I've been catching in the traps! I will try the bay leaves for sure, and try to find sluggo plus! Thanks a ton for your help everyone!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 3:04PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

More than welcome. Lots of helpful people at GardenWeb.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 4:07PM
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