llevity
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Any tips for determining what type of pest caused damage?

So I'm fighting battles with various pests. Some I catch in the act -- I've found caterpillars hiding under leaves of my broccoli, and golden beetles hiding under leaves of the sweet potatoes.

But some, I can't catch in the act. I'm having something eat the leaves of my bell pepper plants, but I can't find anything on the plant, or under leaves. It also seems to be affecting only the top leaves, and the plant is getting fairly tall (14" or so).

I guess I'm assuming something like slugs would start at the bottom leaves? I thought maybe it's something flying, but do any flying insects land on a leaf, eat fairly large holes (penny sized), then fly away?

And not specific to this specific problem, what kind of things clue you in on what you're dealing with when your accessing damaged leaves?

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Meatburner
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Re: Any tips for determining what type of pest caused damage

Pictures are the only way to help identify the problem. Can you do that?

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applestar
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Re: Any tips for determining what type of pest caused damage

Yes, chew patterns can be revealing sometimes.

Maybe the pepper pest is hornworm? When they are small it's practically impossible to spot them....
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llevity
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Re: Any tips for determining what type of pest caused damage

https://imgur.com/a/eCraN

As you can see, my broccoli has been gnawed to pieces and I've tried Bt to ward the caterpillars away. Unfortunately, I tried out a powder duster device that was a bit explosive.

Anyway, the pepper plant in question is the one that's not entirely covered in dust. :)

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Lindsaylew82
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Re: Any tips for determining what type of pest caused damage

Show us some close up pictures. Check underneath the leaves. Look for poop. That's a pretty good tracking tool for hornworm.
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Lindsaylew82
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Re: Any tips for determining what type of pest caused damage

What did you dust with?
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llevity
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Re: Any tips for determining what type of pest caused damage

BT. I didn't get much on the peppers (what's there is accidental) because there wasn't any damage there when I dusted.

I'll get better pics tonight. I never thought to check for poop. The leaves are dirty underneath because of splashing from a HEAVY rain storm, but I can wash them off and then keep an eye on it.

I'm reading I should mulch too, to prevent the splashing, so that's also on my todo list. So much to learn!

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Lindsaylew82
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Re: Any tips for determining what type of pest caused damage

Mulch is such great stuff!
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Any tips for determining what type of pest caused damage

Slugs are good climbers, their holes are not necessarily in bottom leaves. Penny sized holes in the middle of leaves sounds like slugs.

You will never see slugs unless you come out very late at night with a flashlight. Alternatively, put a board flat on the soil and leave it there for 24 hours. Come out in the heat of the day and lift it. You are likely to find them congregating under it, enjoying the cool, moist spot. I have occasionally, accidentally found slugs in the daytime, when digging around in the soil around a plant.
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Lindsaylew82
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Re: Any tips for determining what type of pest caused damage

Well, you can go out after a good overhead watering or an afternoon rain shower. We pull slugs off by the hundreds right after afternoon rain showers. Water being the key I think to pulling them out in the daylight. Our slugs don't mess with our peppers. Maybe because we have some far better tasting marigolds for them to eat!
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llevity
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Re: Any tips for determining what type of pest caused damage

So here's a better pic, I hope.

https://imgur.com/a/B0WTt

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Lindsaylew82
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Re: Any tips for determining what type of pest caused damage

What's the white stuff all over them?
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imafan26
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Re: Any tips for determining what type of pest caused damage

Could definitely be slugs or snails. Caterpillars will denude the leaves in a very short time and just leave the tougher veins. Cabbage butterflies flit around the plants they are hard to miss, the larva is green and can easily blend in under the leaf but there will be frass as well. Bt works better if you spray the upper and lower surfaces.
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cousinjordo
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Re: Any tips for determining what type of pest caused damage

llevity wrote:So here's a better pic, I hope.

https://imgur.com/a/B0WTt
Are these planted right beside a deck or platform? If so, I would almost certainly say that's slug damage. Get some stuff from Monterey called Sluggo. Works like a charm on them...I would spread it on the ground right under the edge of that porch and on the front edge of your bed. Your plants will recover in time if you eliminate the problem...and that definitely looks like slugs.

llevity
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Re: Any tips for determining what type of pest caused damage

White stuff is BT "overspray" from a crappy powder duster.

And yes, it's right beside a deck. I didn't think about that. That's giving slugs extra cover, I guess?

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Lindsaylew82
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Re: Any tips for determining what type of pest caused damage

Duuuuuuuuuhhhhh! I already asked that!!!

Slugs make quick work! They can lace up my marigolds literally overnight! And they are EXCELLENT hiders.
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cousinjordo
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Re: Any tips for determining what type of pest caused damage

llevity wrote:White stuff is BT "overspray" from a crappy powder duster.

And yes, it's right beside a deck. I didn't think about that. That's giving slugs extra cover, I guess?
Yea that deck is the perfect habitat for them...stays dark, cool and damp. Make you a wall of Sluggo pellets right at the edge and I bet you will solve your problem.

Don't use BT unless you have caterpillars. It's good stuff, but it won't kill a slug.



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