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Mary-Mary, why you buggin'? BUGS BUGS BUGS
http://forum.theppk.com/viewtopic.php?f=49&t=11472
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Author:  jewbacca [ Thu Jun 09, 2011 9:48 am ]
Post subject:  Mary-Mary, why you buggin'? BUGS BUGS BUGS

This is an official thread for insects and insect control. Come to me with your bug issues, post pics, and let me and other gardening nuts help you out.

*Please be considerate of others who choose to not kill insects. As aforementioned, The Greenhouse won't be a fun place to hang if we get into an ethical whizzing contest about whether it is right to kill an insect. I personally prefer not to, but realize everyone has different choices and is trying to grow their own food. I am not a mod, or the vegan po-po. I don't believe in policing people's language, questions, or methods. I just believe in keeping the PPK fun and safe for all even if I have differing philosophies regarding logistics. If you do think your question might cause some grief, just PM me and I'll happily help you.

One thing you need to ask yourself when dealing with a garden pest is:
a) what kind of damage is the pest causing?
b) am I willing to live with the damage?
c) will eliminating the insect throw off the biodiversity of my garden space?
d) am I prepared for what might happen if that happens?
e) do I understand that control does NOT mean eradicate?

Author:  mollyjade [ Thu Jun 09, 2011 10:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mary-Mary, why you buggin'? BUGS BUGS BUGS

Can I just post pretty bugs? Getting to see all the neat creepy crawlies is one of my favorite parts of gardening.
Image

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Ants "farming" aphids

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spider mites on a sheet of paper

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cabbage loopers (I'm planning to net my broccoli and kale next year to discourage these guys)

Author:  mollyjade [ Thu Jun 09, 2011 10:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mary-Mary, why you buggin'? BUGS BUGS BUGS

Also, I never found the little guys, but this is what it looks like when squash vine borers get into your squash.
Image

Author:  jewbacca [ Thu Jun 09, 2011 10:21 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mary-Mary, why you buggin'? BUGS BUGS BUGS

Oooh! I love that moth. I'm glad you posted a pic of ants harvesting aphids. Many people believe that ants are pests in the gardens, but they're great for controlling aphids and scale.

I have a hard time with those vine borers. NOW is the time to apply beneficial nematodes to the soil or one can inject BT-(yes, with a needle!) directly into stalks of squash/melons/cukes to prevent the problem.

Author:  rabidchild [ Thu Jun 09, 2011 10:26 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mary-Mary, why you buggin'? BUGS BUGS BUGS

I've started my daily checks of cruciferous veggies for cabbage worms! So far so good.

Author:  jewbacca [ Thu Jun 09, 2011 10:31 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mary-Mary, why you buggin'? BUGS BUGS BUGS

Another approach to controlling the loopers aside from ground cloth is to keep your garden dark at night. For some of you in the city or in neighborhoods with lots of lighting, this can be hard. Moths love the light and will happily lay those eggs on the undersides of leaves. Cabbage loopers and tomato horn worms will have 2-3 life cycles in a growing season.

Author:  erindisaster [ Thu Jun 09, 2011 7:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mary-Mary, why you buggin'? BUGS BUGS BUGS

Jewbacca, what can I do about Leaf Miners? they are eating all my chard!

Also my garden has slugs (which I have been dealing with by just moving them out and far away from my garden) and vine weevil larvae. (I suspect) The vine weevil larvae have been eating all the bean and peas that I direct seeded so now I am starting some indoors with the hope that when I transplant them, the roots will be a bit heartier and they will not be so prone to the weevils...

Author:  Mr. Shankly [ Thu Jun 09, 2011 8:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mary-Mary, why you buggin'? BUGS BUGS BUGS

I planted some flowers today in the bench by the pool. On either side of the bench there's built in pots/planters where I've planted the flowers (which I do every year). As I was taking out the old growth, some of the old soil and rotating everything I kept finding tons of tiny millipedes. I took those out and moved them some place else but there was also something in the soil that I'm not familiar with. They were these tiny flies that were IN the soil and even after I added new soil and flowers they kept flying around them. There were tons. Do you know what they are, if they're harmful and what I should do about them?

Author:  jewbacca [ Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mary-Mary, why you buggin'? BUGS BUGS BUGS

Hey Y'all: Happy Friday!

First things first: Erindisaster--leaf miners are technically larvae that make those awesome yet lethal curlicue patterns on your leaves. Once the stomata have been damaged by the intricate shapes the leaf miner makes, the plant fails to thrive and eventually dies.

So, you have a few options for these critters- Bt which I've mentioned before-Bacillus thuringiensis which is a gram positive soil dwelling bacterium that occurs naturally in the guts of some larvae, but largely can't be digested by many larvae. I'm not a bug doctor, or a germ nerd, so I don't know exactly how that works. Safer carries a line of products that are OMRI labeled and contains Bt.

Spinosad- this is a chemical class of pesticide. I say a big fat no to this because it is harmful to our toad, frog, and other amphibian friends. I included this here so if you look at a product and see this on the ingredient list, you'll know to back off.

diatomaceous earth- made from powdered diatoms, a type of hard shelled algae. Harmless to humans and pets-(this is what flea powder is made from), it will literally slice and dice any crawling insect. Once it is wet, you have to reapply.

For slugs, I stick with Sluggo. It is a blend of iron phosphate and bait that gets rid of slugs and snails, biodegrades, and becomes part of the soil in your garden. NOTE: don't sprinkle it on leaves or it will burn holes in them. Some people drown their slugs with beer bait, but I don't do that.

Shacklypants: Millipedes are detritivores and slow moving. Most millipedes eat decaying leaves and other dead plant matter, moisturising the food with secretions and then scraping it in with its jaws. However, they can also be a minor garden pest, especially in greenhouses where they can cause severe damage to emergent seedlings. Signs of millipede damage include the stripping of the outer layers of a young plant stem and irregular damage to leaves and plant apices. That is directly from Wikipedia. I know centipedes are not good to have in the garden because they kill earthworms, but didn't know much about millipedes. They kind of give me the willies.

I would think the diatomaceous earth would help you with those. Remember, ANY insect with a larval stage can be prevented with application of beneficial nematodes:
http://www.wormsway.com/detail.aspx?t=prod&sku=BN700

I use these for flea control. The gnats you describe are fungus gnats. Tell me are they black or white? If they are white, they are whiteflies. Black are fungus gnats. Fungus gnat larvae like to eat at the roots, which is dangerous because that's basically the mouth of the plant. Once they are adults, they'll feed on over watered soil and the fungus that grows in that environment. They'll leave their honeydew-(aka excrement) on the undersides of plant leaves causing another chain of problems. Honeydew causes mold and fungal problems that kill the plant.

For those, I like the one-two punch of nematodes and yellow sticky traps. These bright yellow cards attract the flying insects like aphids/gnats/whiteflies/thrips, and the nematodes get whatever is growing in the soil. I've used both, and they really work!

Lemme know if you need anything else.

Author:  Mars [ Fri Jun 10, 2011 12:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mary-Mary, why you buggin'? BUGS BUGS BUGS

Those nematodes sound kind of like the best thing ever. I feel like I've been spending too much money on my garden already though. Do you know if it's very common for people to buy them for 'just in case' situations, or do people only tend to get them if there is a problem?

Author:  jewbacca [ Fri Jun 10, 2011 12:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mary-Mary, why you buggin'? BUGS BUGS BUGS

Most customers buy them proactively, and many buy them in lots of 6 to save some dough. Here at work we all pitch in so we can get the price break per million and chip in on shipping. I think it is worth it.

Author:  Aubade [ Fri Jun 10, 2011 12:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mary-Mary, why you buggin'? BUGS BUGS BUGS

I used nematodes for my calendula last year, because I'm pretty sure they have thrips. (these kind)It may have helped a little but not really. I also get leaf miners on my chard and the nematodes didn't help that much either. I only did one heavy application in the spring, so maybe I needed more. But it does get expensive!

This year some of my radishes got eaten like this:

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What could this be?

Author:  jewbacca [ Mon Jun 13, 2011 9:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mary-Mary, why you buggin'? BUGS BUGS BUGS

Aubade, I honestly think that is vole damage. I'm scared of an insect that takes bites that huge out of vegetables. Those are massive chunks missing! If it is not a vole, I'm suspecting it is some sort of varmint zombie for sure. I'll bet hot fries and a cold pop.

Author:  Gulliver [ Tue Jun 14, 2011 4:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mary-Mary, why you buggin'? BUGS BUGS BUGS

We have aphids all over our beans... does washing up liquid really work at getting rid of them?

Author:  jewbacca [ Tue Jun 14, 2011 8:31 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mary-Mary, why you buggin'? BUGS BUGS BUGS

Gulliver, yes it will. You do need to dilute the soap--only a few drops to a spray bottle are really needed. Some Greenhouse peeps sing holy praises for Dr. Bronner's. I use Safer brand 3-in-1 spray which is an organic insect repellent made with veggie fat and contains a fungicide for the honeydew left behind by garden pests.

Aphids are really hard to control, and no one ever completely cleanses their garden of them. They are born pregnant. My approach is giving my plants a good blast of water first thing in the morning to blow the lil' things away. Check your leaves and wipe them. If you apply ladybugs, they'll happily nom on the aphids until the supply is gone. They love soft shelled insects.

Author:  mollyjade [ Tue Jun 14, 2011 9:38 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mary-Mary, why you buggin'? BUGS BUGS BUGS

jewbacca wrote:
Aphids are really hard to control, and no one ever completely cleanses their garden of them. They are born pregnant. My approach is giving my plants a good blast of water first thing in the morning to blow the lil' things away. Check your leaves and wipe them. If you apply ladybugs, they'll happily nom on the aphids until the supply is gone. They love soft shelled insects.

I've successfully controlled an aphid infestation with water like jewbacca described. You have to make sure you're getting the underside of the leaves.

Author:  Aubade [ Tue Jun 14, 2011 11:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mary-Mary, why you buggin'? BUGS BUGS BUGS

Yep, I had aphids on my calendulas too. (my poor calendulas get everything)
I blasted them off with a hose and that worked pretty well.

Jewbacca - voles, huh. I never had to deal with those before but it makes sense. We definitely have mice, and I think I've seen things like shrews before too. I'll keep an eye out for tunnels. Hopefully they won't eat all my carrots and turnips!

Author:  jewbacca [ Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mary-Mary, why you buggin'? BUGS BUGS BUGS

Auby, I'd think that the sonic devices would be the best way to deter them without killing them. Just like moles, they can't take the sonic sound.

Author:  Mars [ Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mary-Mary, why you buggin'? BUGS BUGS BUGS

Image

Anyone know what this guy is? There are tons of these bugs all over my chamomile (and only my chamomile). Extremely slow moving. I transplanted them all... Maybe very tiny caterpillars?

Author:  jewbacca [ Wed Jun 15, 2011 12:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mary-Mary, why you buggin'? BUGS BUGS BUGS

I looked at this with one of my directors, and we're pretty sure it's ladybug larvae. Beneficial insects love the chamomile. Google some lady bug larvae, and you'll see the similarities. How adorable!

Author:  Little My [ Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mary-Mary, why you buggin'? BUGS BUGS BUGS

Mars - those are definitely ladybug larvae, so leave them where they are to help your garden!

Author:  mollyjade [ Wed Nov 16, 2011 10:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mary-Mary, why you buggin'? BUGS BUGS BUGS

Caterpillars got 95% of my lettuce and some of my broccoli raab last night. ::shakes fist:: You win this time, creepy crawlies!

Author:  jewbacca [ Tue Nov 22, 2011 10:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mary-Mary, why you buggin'? BUGS BUGS BUGS

Bt, Mollyjade, Bt.

Or you can buy nematodes or caterpillar killers--little parasitic wasps that will control the populations.

Author:  Tuiren [ Sun Nov 27, 2011 8:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mary-Mary, why you buggin'? BUGS BUGS BUGS

I'm a little late to this thread, but I am pretty sure ants don't control aphids. Aphids are ant livestock, and ants will actually defend aphids from predators in order to have them around to "milk".

I wouldn't say to go to war against ants, though, since they do a lot of other good things! My plan for aphid control for next year is to provide habitat for the tiny aphid-eating wasps (along with other beneficial wasps and bees). I saw potter wasps last year, so I hope to attract even more this year!

Here is a page on aphids and natural controls.

Author:  jewbacca [ Mon Nov 28, 2011 7:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mary-Mary, why you buggin'? BUGS BUGS BUGS

Ants are great at controlling scale.

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