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gixxerific
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Let the pest battle begin!!

I had a bad pest year last year and this year isn't starting out so good. I have had aphids and fungus gnats since my starters. These were inside only plants I understand the fungus gnats but where did the aphids come from?

I have been battling flea beetles on my eggplant for a few weeks, go figure, they love eggplant. I went out this evening to check them and saw a bunch. So I sprayed them with pyrethrin (sp) a bunch jumped off but there were tons tons of them jumping to and fro in the mulch surrounding them. I then see them on my radishes and a few on my peppers.

The last few day's I have been noticing cabbage moth caterpillars (i think) on my broccoli. Most of them are still small but I have squished maybe 20-30 in 2 days. Not much damage yet. Last year I trashed every one of them they were so infested in the fall. :evil:

What next? now my potatoes are looking a little sick and my beans are just now coming up my neighbor 2 doors down is having a heck of a time with what I believe are Mexican bean beetles. So I guess that will be next.

Still waiting for the hornworms that devastated my peppers last year to show up.

Arrgggggghhhhhhh it's too early for all this crap. :evil:

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I had this crazy idea (again :wink:) -- the key with flea beetles is that they DO jump off. If you had something on the ground to capture them, then you've got them for good.
-- At first I thought soapy water, but you want as large a surface area as you can. A sheet would be better ... a STICKY sheet would be even better ... double sided tape stuck all over a plastic sheet? (too labor intensive) ... contact paper? (too costly?) ... Plastic sheet painted with Tanglefoot or even just oil or grease? I know they sell a "door mat" of sticky sheets that are peeled off as they become used up for clean rooms, but that's probably too expensive....

8) something along those lines.... 8)

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Everything is getting so lush and BIG in our garden. The bug pressure is staring to mount too! Today I went out there and squished well over 30 cucumber beetles. Spotted ones are slow and clumsy but the stripped ones are FAST! I even caught a pair that were mating!!! HEHEHE TWO FOR ONE!!! I of course found some squash bug egg clusters and some pretty sizeable squash bugs... All of which were promptly squished.

Seems like we have more cucumber beetles this year. I could be out there all day squishing and there are always more :cry: We have loads of tarnished plant bugs too, but damage is minimal right now. Except for our eggplant, which are being DEVOURED by flea beetles :shock: Oh well at least they are staying on the eggplant and away from the beans, potatoes, and tomatoes :D

I read in Mother Earth News that if you brew a tea with fresh catmint and water and foliar spray it on the eggplant it is supposed to repel them. IDK, I haven't tried it. I would just assume leave the bugs to the eggplant. I'm still getting blossoms on them, and anyway I prefer potatoes and tomatoes to eggplant anyway:)

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gixxerific
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applestar wrote:I had this crazy idea (again :wink:) -- the key with flea beetles is that they DO jump off. If you had something on the ground to capture them, then you've got them for good.
-- At first I thought soapy water, but you want as large a surface area as you can. A sheet would be better ... a STICKY sheet would be even better ... double sided tape stuck all over a plastic sheet? (too labor intensive) ... contact paper? (too costly?) ... Plastic sheet painted with Tanglefoot or even just oil or grease? I know they sell a "door mat" of sticky sheets that are peeled off as they become used up for clean rooms, but that's probably too expensive....

8) something along those lines.... 8)
Your a genius Apple. :mrgreen:

Before I got through your post about the sticky tape part and the labor intensive part I stopped to think....... "OIL would work easy enough and I have that readily available" :idea:. You thought of that too, I have said it before we think alike. Wait a minute if your a genius than that makes me genius too than right.

I did some research the beetles are attracted to, I believe it was yellow, sticky traps.

I will have to think about the logistics here. I could roll out some plastic or cardboard/paper soaked will oil but how to do this without leaching oil into my garden. This wouldn't be the perfect ecologically friendly method but would work. Grease would not run off but be very messy to apply and I don't have grease at this time. What would be great as you said a big roll of sticky paper about a foot wide that I could roll down the row and just let it stay there collecting the little buggers.

Thinking on this, thank for the idea Apple what would we do without you. :flower:

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Lindsy sorry to hear you are suffering the same fate as me.

I have heard that too about catmint. Actually most mints, even dropping leaves around them might help repel them. But as you said I don't want to repel them I want them DEAD. I have potatoes right next to my eggplant too so I could be in trouble here if I don't eradicate them. This is my first year with eggplant maybe never again.

funny thing is I'm not a big eggplant eater, too bad them damn flea beetles are. :evil:

no squash bugs yet but my other neighbor right next to me has wish I believe are Mexican bean beetles on his beans now just like my other neighbor 2 doors down. I need to catch one to make sure what it is.

Back to what apple started, nest year I'm not going to mulch. I'm just going to unroll duct tape, sticky side up, all over my garden. Take that you sons of *&^(%$.

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I don't find that flea beetles generally hop, though a few do. Most just sit and get squished between the fingers. Hand picking control works just fine for me on my 6-8 eggs plants which the beetles dearly love. A few holes, or many holes in the leaves pose no problem as the plants produce an abundance of fruit in spite of these pesky critters. I see absolutely no reason to put poison on the few plants that are likely to be grown by the home gardener.
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Alex mainly I use NEEM on them, after I go in and do a smash and grab. I have even been soaking the mulch a few times. There were hundreds of them hopping around the other day. They were kind of easy to see with my dried out, now light coloreds grass mulch.

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My flea beetles have been a little more difficult to control this year. Also, last year my bean beatles were oh so obvious. This year, I'm seeing a multitude of holes, but during walks in the garden am seeing very few of the actual beetles. Still, while egg plants and beans have significant numbers of holes in the leaves, I don't think that production will be impacted too much, therefore will not at this time, consider resorting to chemicals.
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Hey I had another idea -- Dust Buster! (or equivalent cordless hand-held vac -- what I have is an Electrolux) 8) I'm going to try that on the 4-lined Plant Bugs on my mints that continue to elude me. :x

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I have beans on one side of the eggplant row and potatoes on the other. The eggplants are taking most of the munching, then the potatoes, then the beans. As you can see here, my beans are not being bothered by them too much. I have seen a few mexican bean beetles, (which, to my horror, I thought were just really large orange ladybugs), but they were hangin out on the squash. Just took this pic of my beans today. Eggplants are to the right but are not well seen. The eggplant looks really REALLY bad. I have not used ANY sprays or biological controls. If you don't care for eggplant that much anyway, just keep them as a trap crop. If they don't have what they like best, they'll go to what they like second best:)

[img]https://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac153/LindsayArthurRTR/gardenandhousestuff034.jpg[/img]

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I gave up on eggplant after two years ago when I got the plague like Gixx has... I have tons of catmint and would be trying that for sure; the whole garden, but just becuz it's what I got... I'd be trying some nematodes in the soil to get larval stages for sure, if I cared about eggplant...

Dust busting is not so far fetched; there are big commercial vac units for just that purpose you know... why not? Into the soapy bath with the contents! :twisted: Good thinking as usual, AS!

Gixx get some spinosad for those cabbage loopers; stops them eating instantly and they die in a day or two... Bulls Eye from Gardens Alive is what I use...

HG
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...

Everyone who has posted thus far in this thread is a genius. That is all..


...
You can solve all your problems in a garden/laboratory.

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The Helpful Gardener wrote:

Gixx get some spinosad for those cabbage loopers; stops them eating instantly and they die in a day or two... Bulls Eye from Gardens Alive is what I use...

HG
The Spinosad is an all "natural" organic product, a bacterial exudate. However


this study https://ipmworld.umn.edu/chapters/hutchins2.htm

basically says:

The topical acute activity of spinosad against honeybees is less than 1 µg per bee which places spinosad in the highly toxic to bees category of the EPA. However, once residues have dried completely, toxicity of foraging bees is considered negligible (Mayer and Lunden, 1998). There are minimal safety precautions and preharvest and reentry intervals for this reduced risk product.

again:
Beneficial insects: Care must be taken when applying spinosad while honeybees are foraging; after residues dry (a few hours) it is far less toxic to bees (Bret et al. 1997). Spray droplets can also harm Trichogramma wasps and other parasitoids (Suh et al., 2000; Tillman and Mullrooney, 2000; Bret et al., 1997). However, once the deposits dry, they are generally safe for beneficial insects.

So if you are using it you should be sure to do it in the evening after the bees have gone in for the day. It should be dry by morning and not be a problem.

The most environmentally neutral thing you can do to combat all these pest problems is to grow under floating row cover.
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Nice catch RBG; I did know that but forgot to include it. :oops:

Hey this is why I avoid all pesticides until I have to. They all kick holes in the biosphere, even the "safe" ones. It's all relative...

HG
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I just can't win can I?

Maybe you all will be happy all I did today was a smash and grab. Hard to say though! :(

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Still the finest pest control there is Gixx. No secondary damages there... :mrgreen:

HG
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Some of my bean plants are so riddled with holes, looks like they were hit with bird shot. But by using several gardening beds spaced 75 to 100 feet apart, using interplanting, and by using different varieties, the damage IMO is manageable. The bettles have not even found some of the bean plants yet. To me that is what one should strive for in a garden. Try to have a diverse habitat, with not too many plants of one vegetable in the same spot. In that kind of complex space, there is a good likelihood of striking a reasonable balance between beneficials and so called pests. Toss a good measure of hand picking whenever visiting the garden, and the balance will likely fall in the favor of the beneficials and the plants. I don't necessarily care to have picture perfect plants and fruit, but do expect to have healthy plants that give us a long harvest of high quality home grown veggies.

Succsion planting is the final tool that helps the pest situation. Many pests come in waves, and with succession planting, one or more groups of plants may miss the pest activity almost totally.
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All good stuff Alex; to it I would add that polycropping with plants interspersed between each other is less condusive to everything getting munched at once (like my squash between tomatoes making plant to plant travel that much harder and confusing for squash beetles and bugs. AND the tomato pests too!).

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Yep, that is what I was calling 'interplanted.' In our raised beds, we don't have a single 4 x 4 space that is monocrop. For example, one 4 x 4 contains garlic and carrots. Another has garlic, lettuce and arugula. Another 4 x 6 space has day lilies, green beans, sweet peas, and a tomato plant. So goes the whole garden of raised beds and other square foot garden type spaces. I've got corn, squash, cucumbers and many tomatoes in somewhat traditional rows or very large blocks. But still, for tomatoes and cucumbers have multiple beds spaced far away from one another. And some of the cukes are interplanted with beans. I'm not very scientific with the interplanting and should look more at a list of compatible plants. So far everything seems to be doing pretty well to great so such is not a priority this year.

We now are getting more cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes, and herbs than we can eat. Picked a first mess of green beans today. Egg plant are edible but are letting them get a little more size. Peppers are coming off in a trickle. Garlic is being harvested. Sweet peas are near the end of production. Sweet corn is a week or two away. Bugs are active, both beneficial and predators, but everything in balance and manageable at this time.
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So funny to hear about harvesting; we northeners are still waiting for plants to get a foot tall...

Sounds like you are doing nicely with the polycropping Alex; would love to hear what combos are working for you... (or not)

HG
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Hearing about your garden is always inspiring, Alex, though it always make me wonder if I somehow didn't plant early enough, didn't take care of my plants enough. :lol: So it's good to hear from HG, farther north, that this is the way it's SUPPOSED to be. :lol:

Alex, I wanted to point out, though, that it's confusing when you say "Sweet Peas" -- I realize you mean GARDEN/GREEN peas. Whether eat while flat-pod, sugar snap pod, or shelled green type, they are indeed very sweet. I gave three of our first harvest shell peas (Lincoln) in pods to the kids and a fried to eat for a snack, and the boy said they were the "bestest" peas he's ever eaten. :()

I think of "Sweet Pea" as the plants grown for the large/showy and sometimes sweetly fragranced flowers (I prefer the fragrant ones). Although their flowers mature into pods, those "peas" are considered toxic and not to be eaten.

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Down south blackeyed peas, crowder peas, field peas are 'PEAS'. Those green round things, that are usually kind of sweet, needed some name to differentiate, therefore 'sweet peas'. In most conversations the term is not overly ambiguous as the topic is most often involving either food or flowers but not both. Neither of the plants, veggies or flowers, grow particularly well in the south and are often dried from the heat before mid June.

WRT interplanting or polycropping I had never seen a companion planting chart before last year or year before. I've yet to really pay attention to one, and just plant whatever I please in any space that is available. Last year I plants sugar snaps in the space between garlic plants. Both did very well. I was a bit nervous however, as read after planting that peas and garlic are not good companions.
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I do practice the polycropping interplanting to a certain extent as well. And I
m more a bug squisher than a sprayer. So please quit telling me to stop using 'poisons'.

I think I have got my bean beetle population down. And I haven't noticed any worms on my broccoli lately. I do have a bunch of benneficials in the garden. So I leave a certain amount of the bad bugs go so the good guy's will stick around.

All in all not so bad yet. I just remember late last summer early fall it was chaos over here. With some stuff just being totally culled due to infestation.

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Last year my big battle was squash bugs, so this year I interplanted (polycropped, whatever you want to call it) and hopefully that fools the little buggers some...

But I nuked things pretty hard; one time neem, next time soap, and third time pyrethrins. Mixing it up is a good idea to keep anybody from building up immunities. But I have to keep in mind (as do we all) that I asm whacking everyone with the big stick as I use this stuff, so don't take it personal, Dono; I am throwing that sort of idea out to the general populace, not just you...

HG
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Cucumber beetles are really, REALLY bad this year, and they aren't just chillin on the cucurbits, they are on EVERYTHING! Still squishing, but they are FAST :shock: If I spray, I'll have to do the whole garden, which is ridiculous to even think it... I interplanted with icicle radishes in all my cucurbits, but I'm still finding the beetles, squash bugs and their egg clusters, too. Athough, nothing like last years squashbug takeover.(We couldn't even get one edible squash.)

I think the cuke beetles are changing color too, there are your normal spotted and stripped yellow/greenish, but there are some reddish/pink ones now. Are they the same bug?
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Lindsy sorry to hera about your bugs.

I planted flowers and let some of my crops go to flower that is bringing in the good bugs. I did some spraying but not a whole lot. Now things seem to be getting more controlable. The mass of benneficials are to blame for that. So just saying that if you don't have the good bugs you need to atrract them somehow and they will do the work for you.


Good luck

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Picked and squashed the first squash bug today... here we go...

HG
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I am seeing lots of good bugs, too. Many, MANY lady beetles, and all kinds of little wasps. My radishes have bolted and they have TONS of beautiful purple flowers. I have loads of herbs interplanted throughout and they are flowering. I also have several different kinds of french and african marigolds planted every 8 feet down ALL of my rows. I am getting tons and tons and TONS of squash and cukes this week (so much I've giving bags of it away to mom, and neighbors:). This is my first year with all this squishing bugs :)
Picked and squashed the first squash bug today... here we go...
Kinda off topic but...
Funny story :wink: I was looking for these bugs because I found some of the egg clusters. I was very calmly turning over leaves and inspecting the bases of the plants. I flipped the leaf back over and, BAAAAAAAH! That thing was WAY bigger than I remembered from last year. It was only a few inches from my face! I of course screamed like a banshee! I didn't have gloves on, so i had to knock it to the ground and then I stepped on it. My neighbor came over with a shovel, thinking he was gonna have to kill a snake. When he found out it was just a bug, he bout peed his pant laughing. :oops: Handling and squishing bugs still makes me a little squeemish, but I do it for my garden and my family's food source. It's not so bad once you've killed a few.
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Lindsay, I am so happy to hear you are making the transition, and for all the right reasons. Once you get over the oogies, it can be quite satisfying ("Take that, IRS agent. And that, Mrs. Supervisor!" :lol: )

HG
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Me too :)

Gixx, I have a baby eggplant on my terrible looking plants(the leaves look look like purple lace doilies) Through the flea beetles, my eggplants have prevailed...At least my mom will be happy :roll: AND, no spraaaaaaayiiiiiing :) or squishing for that matter :D
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Aarrgh! Cabbage White Butterfies! Cabbage Moths, Cabbage Loopers! I've got them ALL! Cabbage Moth egg clusters and Cabbage White eggs are everywhere. The only ones safe, of course, are the ones in the insect barrier row tunnel, though one of the cabbages suffered a substantial damage from a big slug until I caught the bugger. :twisted:

I think I do have to "sanitize" and then protect the Brussels Sprouts and Romanesco Broccoflowers in netting or they'll never make it. I wasn't going to do this, but I suppose Spinosad is the best way to go?

I'm starting to harvest the unprotected cabbages. Made coleslaw from one mini-head (Caraflex) today. :D Although it wasn't that heavily damaged, there was an EMPTY (as in butterfly has eclosed already) cabbage butterfly chrysalis under one of the lowest leaves :evil: The kids begged to have it for their bug collection, so I guess it wasn't a total loss. 8)

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You remember the Spinosad is harmful to honeybees and other beneficials when wet? (Elsewhere I posted the citation for that, you can find it if you want.) You just need to spray it in the evening after the honeybees have gone in for the day. By the AM it is dried and no longer harmful to them.
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I remember. That's why I wasn't even going to get the product. my idea was to apply it while no one was around and immediately cover with netting -- voila! No access. :wink:

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