Tilling up strange cocoons

LaurieK123(7b Oregon)December 25, 2011

I tilled up strange cocoons last season when I was expanding my garden and I never found out what they were. The area being tilled was previously nice grass.

Is it safe to say that any cocoon tilled up in a vegetable garden is a critter you don't want?

They were between and inch and inch 1/2; hard, shiny brown, and they seemed to be almost see-through. The cocoons were sorta spiral shaped with slight imprints of wings.

I was also bringing up two types of big, black, shiny beetles. One seemed to have more of a two segmented body and the other seemed to have a 3 segmented body. I was wondering if the black beetles were also bad.

I am in So. Oregon zone 7. Thank you for any help!

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ifraser25(z11 Brazil)

From what you say they are almost certainly beetle larvae. Beetles are good guys in the garden as they are carnivorous ie. feed on other pests. You have no need to worry.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2011 at 9:45PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

I suspect you found pupae of various plant eating caterpillars.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2011 at 11:32PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I agree with jean. But it would be helpful on both counts (beetles and 'cocoons) to post some pictures.

Ian, I daresay that most of the beetles found in the typical veggie garden would be after the veggies, not the pests! And the larvae of many such beetles are grubs.

Laurie, check the picture in the attached link to see if it resembles what you've found. Caterpillar pupae found in the soil (many species do this) often look something like the one in the picture. Again, pictures are the only way that we can help with an identification.

Here is a link that might be useful: Click here to compare

    Bookmark   December 25, 2011 at 11:49PM
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One very good source you could use for identification of these cocoons, if you find more, is your counties office of your state Agricultural University. The pupae of many insects may overwinter in the soil but many of these can be either beneficial or of no concern while some might be pests.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2011 at 7:06AM
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LaurieK123(7b Oregon)

That is almost it! It is so close that it has to be a very similar animal. Thank you guys for the info!

    Bookmark   December 26, 2011 at 4:08PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

If similar, then it surely is the chrysalis (pupa) of a caterpillar turning into a moth. All caterpillars are plant feeders. It could be one of the many hornworms, cutworms, armyworm, etc....many of which make similar structures for pupation.

I would certainly destroy any that you find.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2011 at 12:45AM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Or put it a clear container with a lid, set on the counter, and wait until the adult emerges. Often, it's much easier to ID at that stage than when a pupa.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2011 at 1:48PM
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