Return to the California Gardening Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Something is eating my plants!

Posted by ekat 10 (My Page) on
Sat, Jun 18, 11 at 12:29

Hello fellow gardenwebers,
This is my first season doing an organic vegetable garden and I am sick of different things eating my plants!
I overgoogled myself and tried many things. I spray neem oil regularly, I tried beer traps for slugs - non actually drown in there, copper tape - does not seem to work well, cinnamon - no difference, sugar newspapers - it only attracted ants! I am going to try garlic spray and then I am out of options. Please ID the bugs by the wholes they are making and advise on what I should be doing to save my garden.

what are these guys? These are the only bugs I see regularly


holes in eggplant

pumpkin

sage

mint. these do not look like holes, more like a top layer was eaten, but a very thin film under the green part is still there

the same with purple basil

same with cucumbers

basil. this looks more like a slug to me.

tomatoes. who would eat a tomato leaf?

pumpkin again. Is it bugs or is it bacteria? earwigs? flea beetles?

some holes are holes, some have some kind of film left as I said, some look like a sunburn or bacteria. Please advise. Thanks!


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Something is eating my plants!

Okay, bug at the top is a pillbug or sowbug. See link below. And, you might want to be sure to bookmark UC Davis' great gardening site, as it has a very nice Integrated Pest Management approach (starting with control methods that do the least amount of environmental harm), then progressing to more toxic methods. You can pick and choose what will work best for you. Pillbugs are usually not an issue, unless you're seeing them in really large numbers, as they tend to feed on decaying plant material and are actually beneficial.

Slugs & snails- the state of California has been taken over at Biblical proportions by snails, slugs and earwigs due to our very damp and cool temps these last 2 years. You might want to try serious hand picking in the early morning and late evening, to reduce your numbers. Chickens are also good slug/snail management options if you can have them where you live (beware - they may attract coyotes). For me, since I can't have chickens, I've opted to use Sluggo. Works well, is organic (iron phosphate which eventually breaks down and can be absorbed as additional iron by plants). If you're having issues with earwigs as well, then select Sluggo Plus, which is iron phosphate and Spinosid, which is a great option for sucking/chewing insects (Google it). Also organic.

Patty S.

Here is a link that might be useful: UC IPM: Pillbugs


 o
RE: Something is eating my plants!

Thank you very much for the link. I think I've seen it before. The problem is I am not sure what bugs do the damage. I don't see any. I tried going into the garden after 11 pm with a flash light, but I did not see any slugs or snails. Can you recognize by the holes what bugs are doing the damage? What is that thin film left on the leaves where the top layer is gone (see tomato, purple basil and mint leaves)?


 o
RE: Something is eating my plants!

I feel your frustration and am having a similar issue. I have been out bug hunting at night and early in the morning. Have yet to catch anything. I am seeing leaves chewed on bites taken out,not so much holes. Have been using Diatomaceous earth which sort of works for me but has to be reapplied if it gets wet. I may try the slugo as I have seen a lot of earwigs this year. They have never been a pest before for me. I think the bigger problem here ,at my place, is the previous owners did not garden organically. Therefor it is not a healthy environment for beneficials. I know how damaging poisons can be so I will never resort to them but keep building up my soil with compost and trying to attract those good creatures.
Some of your plants look healthy despite the pests. The holes look a lot like earwig damage(according to the Western Garden Bk.)A friend of mine got rid of hers by putting a little oil and vinegar in a tuna can. It attracted tons of earwigs and saved their plants. I don't know about the thin film left on the leaves. For myself I have decided to be happy with what crops are surviving and keep working to attract those beneficials. I have two tomato plants full of baby green tomatoes. I am relishing in them for now!


 o
RE: Something is eating my plants!

The small holes and especially the "holes" with a thin film remaining, are most likely made by as very young caterpillar working from the underside of the leaf. So if you've not checked there, please start.


 o
RE: Something is eating my plants!

Yup, agree with Jean. Spray BT if you like. Earwigs are probably doing the other damage. I grew a HUGE crop of earwigs for three years running by using large leaf litter as mulch too close to my house and veggies. I have gotten the problem under control by removing the mulch in the beds adjacent to the house and using compost there instead. I also clean up the leaf litter under the brugmansias now. The oil in the tuna can works, but stake the cans down somehow or you will leave nice snacks, earwigs in oil, for the oppossums. They slurp it right up.
Renee


 o
RE: Something is eating my plants!

Renee,anyone, About the mulch. We have a bad earwig problem here this year. I have heard it is somewhat of an epidemic in southern Cal. I did purchase a truckload of bark mulch a few months back and brought it over in buckets from my old place. I know now the earwigs hide in that. But what other organic mulch do you recommend? I do make my own vermicompost (or rather the worms do) but it does not seem to last long as mulch.


 o
RE: Something is eating my plants!

I know, it's a problem! I just use compost, but there is never enough, and it doesn't last long. And it's expensive! I have stopped mulching altogether in the bed right outside the bedroom, since they crawl under the doors and into the windows. In my veggie beds, this year I put down concrete reinforcing wire and then stretched burlap over it, and planted the squash and cucumbers in a tiny hole in the middle. It seems to be helping- the squash in particular looks less disease-ridden and eaten than it ever has before. I only have bark around the new roses, contained by a barrel hoop, and I police them daily.

I don't know what else to do.
Renee


 o
RE: Something is eating my plants!

I'm having the same issue with my mulch and slugs hiding under it. I don't seem to have an earwig problem, which is odd because my next door neighbor says she's just crawling with them. And their yard has no mulch anywhere or really any leaf debris. I have to check out my one citrus tree that was absolutely infested with slugs to see if my Sluggo and Spinosad treatments cleared it up (along with a LOT of hand picking, yuck). But, I really have to mulch for water conservation purposes, so I'm kind of stuck.

Patty S.


 o
RE: Something is eating my plants!

That's my problem too. I don't dare stop mulching because of how it keeps plants cooler and less in need of a lot of water. I will try to use more compost but I know it won't be good enough. Guess we have figure out which mulch earwigs and slugs don't like; if any. I just went to Lowers after work today and picked up some Bayer Snail and slug bait. It has the same ingredients as Slugo. I am hoping it helps.


 o
RE: Something is eating my plants!

I found them!!! I decided to cut all the mint down and let it regrow, since this sometimes helps I read. And while I was doing it I found a couple of VERY small bright green caterpillars! I am going to get some sluggo if this method of cutting everything down does not help. And I am also going to try just spraying some gentle soap with water. I really do not want any chemical son herbs what I am going to eat.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the California Gardening Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here