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

Mystery munching

Posted by marielizabeth 9B/10 (My Page) on
Sun, Apr 21, 13 at 20:50

New to posting to the forums here but I've been reading for a while. I did some serious gardening on a small organic farm in middle TN the last few years, but I've recently moved back to FL & have a small garden going in the backyard. I knew my main challenge was going to be bug related (we definitely had bugs in TN but FL is just crazy), but I'm really stumped on this one. Something is eating a variety of the plants I have out right now. The munching does seem to be restricted to seedlings in most cases. The current affected plants are beans & okra (although I did have a similar problem with lettuce seedlings a while back, it just didn't do as much harm & they mostly grew out of it). There are little holes all over the leaves, but whenever I check I find no sign of a culprit. I've been checking all times of the day & night - no sign of any slugs, or really anything else for that matter. The only active "bug" I see are pillbugs, but I've always read/heard that they mostly feed on decaying matter (I did pull the mulch back from the stems pretty far just in case). The beans are getting pretty big & are still being chewed on, & the okra is clearly suffering. Anyone have any ideas? Any help at all would be GREATLY appreciated. If it's helpful, I'm technically in Zone 9B but really close to 10, coastal. Thanks in advance!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Mystery munching

Can you dust them with Rotenone or something organic? I don't know what kind of bug that would be. Sorry.

RE: Mystery munching

I was thinking I'd dust them with DE just to see what happens. The not knowing is killing me!

RE: Mystery munching

The only thing that attacks my pole beans are leaf rollers, larvae of the Long-tailed Skipper butterfly. Hand picking is the only control I use for them. The eggs are bright yellow and the caterpillars have enlarged, reddish heads. The adults are quite aggressive if they're trying to lay eggs and I'm in the way! They'll fly at me almost like they're angry at me for hanging around their nursery!

This post was edited by TheTradition on Mon, Apr 22, 13 at 9:27

RE: Mystery munching

The munching might be early in the a.m. Tiny holes make me think of flea beetles, but I've never had them here. Have you encountered those in the past? They are very tiny & jump away when disturbed. I have had fleahoppers, but they are sucking insects, not chewing.

There are various small caterpillars (often feeding @ night) of tiny moths that can be almost impossible to catch in the act. Have you tried Bt yet?

Here is a link to the UF Featured Creatures site - & if you click on the Entomology Dep't hyperlink, you can email them w/ your questions...

Here is a link that might be useful: Featured Creatures

RE: Mystery munching

Thanks for the suggestions everyone! Carol, I have encountered flea beetles before (only in TN - they are a PAIN!) but I'm not seeing any here. I guess I'll try some topical stuff & keep checking - hopefully the plants will grow out of it the way the lettuce seemed to.

 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 Florida 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.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • 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