Help Identifying Turnip/Oriental Greens Leaf Pest

shazaam(NC 7B)December 19, 2012

I have an outbreak of small caterpillars on my oriental greens and turnips. They're somewhat transparent and have brownish heads, and look nothing like the typical cole crop caterpillar pest that I normally deal with in spring and summer (loopers, imported cabbageworms, etc.). At their largest, they're less than 3/8" long and quite plump. The plants are in a bed that's been under an Agribon row cover since mid-October. The bed also includes various lettuces, kohlrabi, and arugula, none of which have been affected -- just turnips and oriental greens. Any ideas?

This post was edited by shazaam on Thu, Jan 10, 13 at 12:56

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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

please post pictures

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 7:17PM
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shazaam(NC 7B)

I've finally got around to uploading a photo. Do these caterpillars look familiar to anyone?

    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 12:58PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

young cutworms ????? .... brown or dirt colored when a bit older

one of the earliest for me..

ken

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 1:11PM
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shazaam(NC 7B)

Maybe? I did a little reading, and there are cutworm species that feed on foliage, which these guys certainly do. They do extensive damage to the leaves, and I suspect that they're nocturnal, because, during the day, I find them hiding out at the base of the stems. They seem to be endless in supply -- they've been doing damage for six or eight weeks, and I continue to see teeny tiny ones as well as the larger ones as in my photo.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 1:26PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

sevin works on them ...

i dont know about organic solutions ... since you are working on edibles.. i think .... lol

research what they turn into.. and go after those later in the season ... eh????

ken

Here is a link that might be useful: change search to cutworm moth .. bet you see a lot of them around..

    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 6:31PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

handpicking works, too

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 6:10PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Oops. Meant to add that you could cage a plant or two, allow the critters to grow to adults, then post more pictures.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 6:12PM
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shazaam(NC 7B)

I'm a long-time hand-picker. :) I'd rather spend 30 minutes picking cabbageworm eggs and caterpillars off of leaves than spend 5 minutes spraying the same leaves with bt. I really, really dislike spraying anything. That being said, these guys are virtually impossible to remove by hand because of their numbers and the fact that they start out so small and tuck themselves away so securely. At this point, I've resorted to spraying with an insecticidal soap. I'll evaluate my progress this weekend, and I may try bt, as well. The suggestion to isolate a couple of plants and let them grow is a good idea.

This post was edited by shazaam on Fri, Jan 11, 13 at 21:22

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 9:21PM
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