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Pickey Eater Devours My Echinacea, Ignores My Shasta Daisy

I'm very new to gardening and planted three "Becky" shasta daisy plants right next to four "Magnus" echinacea coneflowers about two weeks ago. Neither have bloomed as it is not their time yet however.....

The leaves on my coneflowers have been eaten away so baldy they look like leaf skeletons (pics to follow) while my shasta daisy leaves have been untouched. I went out into the garden last night and so an insect on one of my coneflower leaves. It looked very suspect because it was half in-half out one of the "eaten" holes on the leaf (pics to follow).

Does anyone know of an insect that "prefers" echinacea while "dislikes" shastas? I'm trying to find out what I'm dealing with so I can get rid of this nocturnal pest. Thanks, jb






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Well, I've got an answer for you, but you aren't gonna like it.

I prefer Echinacea over the shasta daisy. The shasta daisy is edible, but the Echinacea has healing powers and boosts the immune system.

If you have some fish emulsion or liquid kelp, that will keep your Echinacea healthy enough to hopefully survive the trauma of being eaten. Bugs really like weakened plants.

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I also have Echinacea plants that are being eaten by bugs. If we keep the porch light on at night, the door is covered with Japanese Beetles, so I believe they are the hoodlums eating my poor Echinacea! I'm also a novice gardener, but I've been doing a lot of research online regarding this subject. Following are a few things I'll be trying to deter the beetles: 1.) "Bag A Bug" which some may think is a little expensive. But I'd rather buy this than new echinaceas every year! Make sure you read the directions carefully (don't place close to your plants). Also check the reviews on Epinions.com. 2.) Natural pesticide recipe: Grind up 3 onions, bunch of garlic & 3 hot peppers (I'll use flakes), mix with 1 gallon of water and let sit overnight. Strain the liquid and place in a spray bottle...spray on your plants. I will also be cutting this recipe in half. 3.) Plant Japanese Beetle deterrent plants such as Catnip, Garlic, Geraniums, Rue. I've read about many other plants that deter JB's but, PLEASE do your research. For example, if you have pets that like to eat grass, make sure these plants will not be poisonous to them. 4.) I've also heard of placing a small container of soapy water (dish detergent) with a couple of dead beetles inside. Again, I wouldn't place this too close to your eaten plants as it may attract more to the buffet! Hope this helps :D

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I believe your little critter is a sowbug. You may find this article of interest. It includes suggestions for organic methods of control.

[url=https://www.extension.org/pages/How_to_Discourage_Sowbugs_and_Pillbugs_in_the_Garden]How to Discourage Sowbugs and Pillbugs in the Garden[/url]

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The pictured critter is indeed a pillbug or sow bug, but it is not likely what caused the problem. Pillbugs are detritovores, part of the process of breaking down dead stuff into soil. They are usually found in pretty big numbers in your compost pile. The pillbug being on the plant means there was dead tissue on the plant which the pillbug was kindly removing for you (just as maggots are used by doctors to clean out dead tissue from wounds in human beings, though I know some people will freak at this image).

The article Kisal linked to acknowledges this:

"They are deemed guilty by association, as they are often found feeding in decaying or damaged garden produce," said Fisher. "Actually, diseases, slugs and other pests often inflict the initial damage. Sowbugs enter later to take advantage of the feast. They are great opportunists."

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