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Upper Midwest Gardening: Something is going crazy with my plants

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Forum: Upper Midwest GardeningReplies: 25, Views: 213
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jcoakley
Chicago, IL
(Zone 5b)

July 17, 2009
12:03 AM

Post #6828466

I posted this in Garden Diseases & Pests but have gotten no response, so I'm trying over here. Here's a link to my post: http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1014762/

To further clarify, this is happening in a very localized area. I did find a couple of caterpillars too.
I think I may have to break down and spray something . . .
pastime
Waterman, IL
(Zone 5a)

July 18, 2009
12:54 PM

Post #6834032

Seen any small butterflies around? Their caterpillar larva may be the culprit.
jcoakley
Chicago, IL
(Zone 5b)

July 18, 2009
5:58 PM

Post #6834899

I do think it is caterpillars. The ones I've found appear to be some variety of cutworm. I've only seen one or two little white butterflies and one monarch, but I think he was visiting, because I don't have any milkweed. Anyway, I broke down and sprayed Ortho last night. Hated to do it and tried to wait until all the bees had gone home. I am still new at this and put so much work into planting this spring. I put in quite a few annuals to fill in between baby perennials, and it is so discouraging to see them all looking so shabby. I hope I don't have to spray very many times!

Mrs_Ed

Mrs_Ed
Whiteside County, IL
(Zone 5a)

July 22, 2009
5:03 PM

Post #6851220

I don't think it would be a butterfly caterpillar because each species have specific host plants. You have way too many different types of plants effected.

medinac
Bensenville, IL
(Zone 5a)

July 24, 2009
2:24 AM

Post #6857648

I have problems early in the season with cutworms - I call them inchworms because when I see them they start out about an inch in size and then grow and grow as they eat. Those guys are hard to find - I catch them hanging out UNDER the leaves. How can you possibly check under every leaf??? Luckily I find they favor my shrub roses and heuchera. Since I have problems with grasshoppers too, it's sometimes hard for me to differentiate the damage between the two pests, they do similar damage. I wish someone would tell me where the worms come from - do they overwinter in eggs somewhere? I've seen them slinging down from the trees on silks in early spring. By now I'd think they'd be big ol' caterpillars.

I hope the spraying helps. You do have some severe pest damage there. I know how discouraging it is! Keep us updated on it!

Mrs_Ed

Mrs_Ed
Whiteside County, IL
(Zone 5a)

July 24, 2009
2:47 AM

Post #6857733

I found some similar holes on my Salvia coccinea and here's the culprit.

Thumbnail by Mrs_Ed
Click the image for an enlarged view.

medinac
Bensenville, IL
(Zone 5a)

July 24, 2009
2:54 AM

Post #6857758

Mrs. Ed - So glad you posted that! Isn't it amazing how such a little thing can eat soooo much? Was he hanging out UNDER the leaf like he is in the picture?

Mrs_Ed

Mrs_Ed
Whiteside County, IL
(Zone 5a)

July 24, 2009
2:57 AM

Post #6857769

yup. he was on the vein and difficult to see. I did not look for more, it was getting dark and I was collecting Monarch eggs, so had my hands full. tomorrow I'll see what else I can find.

Also going to try and get a better picture tomorrow because light was low tonight.
medinac
Bensenville, IL
(Zone 5a)

July 24, 2009
3:05 AM

Post #6857790

So do they hatch from eggs on leaves, the ground, where? Sorry, I'm ignorant when it comes to worms, caterpillars (other than their lifecycle from cat. to butterfly)

So you harvest Monarch eggs and hatch them? That's interesting.
jcoakley
Chicago, IL
(Zone 5b)

July 24, 2009
3:37 AM

Post #6857917

Thanks Mrs_Ed . . . is that a cutworm you have pictured? The holes in your salvia definitely look a lot like what I've been finding. The lady who sold me the Ortho last week kept trying to convince me it was all Japanese beetles, and I just really really don't think that's all that's going on because I've only found about 15 JBs in the last 2 weeks and only two of those were in the area that's getting decimated. (Sorry for the run-on sentence there.) My poor monarda . . . it looks positively skeletal, and now I think it has powdery mildew on top of everything else. I have also seen some little green hoppy things which look like mini grasshoppers, so maybe I'm just having a really bad year for bugs. Do you think the cocoa shells I used for mulch could have anything to do with it? Anyway, I sprayed Ortho again this evening (after dusk to minimize chances of hurting bees), and I'm hoping I see some results soon.

Mrs_Ed

Mrs_Ed
Whiteside County, IL
(Zone 5a)

July 24, 2009
12:33 PM

Post #6858645

JC, Well, I just call these inchworms. They are moths. They lay eggs in the soil late in the year, so I don't think it had anything to do with the mulch. Of course I'm no expert. I think that's probably what you've got going there. in the few leaves that i checked, I only found the one worm. I reallllyyyyy dont' think you have japanese beetle damage. They do more lace-like damage.

Thumbnail by Mrs_Ed
Click the image for an enlarged view.

medinac
Bensenville, IL
(Zone 5a)

July 25, 2009
2:40 AM

Post #6861950

oooooooh yikes, that's downright scary! But that's how my Butterfly Bush look from 4 lined bug damage. I don't spray them, although I probably should. They seem to only like the BB and leave everything else along for the most part. I "sacrifice" them because they don't grow well for me anyhow.
jcoakley
Chicago, IL
(Zone 5b)

July 25, 2009
4:01 AM

Post #6862191

Yes, that looks like lace. My plants look like swiss cheese . . . anyway, glad I'm not alone in my frustration. Last summer it was bunnies, this summer bugs. Maybe next year I'll catch a break! Thanks all!

Mrs_Ed

Mrs_Ed
Whiteside County, IL
(Zone 5a)

July 25, 2009
1:25 PM

Post #6862952

I think if you had japanese beetles, you'd know it! Man, they are swarming on my Missouri Primrose. Here they are on the Queen Anne's lace.

Thumbnail by Mrs_Ed
Click the image for an enlarged view.

medinac
Bensenville, IL
(Zone 5a)

July 25, 2009
1:59 PM

Post #6863047

My my, they ARE busy, aren't they? At least it makes it easy to drown them all at once!
jcoakley
Chicago, IL
(Zone 5b)

July 25, 2009
5:58 PM

Post #6863812

Well, they are present in my yard . . . but I usually only find one or two per day. They've all been loners and are promptly dispatched by my soapy spray bottle. To my knowledge there has been no mating on my property. That's why I don't think the JBs are the primary cause of my insect damage. They are so vulgar, aren't they? Blech.

Mrs_Ed

Mrs_Ed
Whiteside County, IL
(Zone 5a)

July 25, 2009
11:57 PM

Post #6864967

Just a terrible terrible bug. sigh. i keep hoping that some of the birds will take an interest in them! I couldn't find any other inchworms on the salvia. I'll keep an eye out.
Goldenberry
Northeast, IL
(Zone 5b)

July 27, 2009
3:42 PM

Post #6871180

I'm going to have to look for inchworms on my plants tonight. The entire garden seems to be absolutely infested with bugs this year. Besides the voracious Japanese beetles, the four-line bugs have been devouring everything in sight. Earwigs feasting on the dahlias, magnolia scale devastating my star magnolias (just treated them yesterday) and on and on. It's been a tough summer for the garden. :(
jcoakley
Chicago, IL
(Zone 5b)

July 27, 2009
7:07 PM

Post #6871920

What are four-line bugs, Goldenberry?
Goldenberry
Northeast, IL
(Zone 5b)

July 28, 2009
2:14 PM

Post #6875113

I can't post images direct from my computer at work, so I hope this link works: Four line bug, adult:

http://www.insectimages.org/browse/detail.cfm?imgnum=1246013
jcoakley
Chicago, IL
(Zone 5b)

July 28, 2009
5:22 PM

Post #6875882

Ok, just looked that up in BugFiles . . . nasty nasty! Sounds almost as bad as the JB! I haven't seen any of those but will keep a look-out. (Seems they like mint & mums . . . maybe they like the taste of monarda too?) And am going to keep spraying Ortho weekly, although it doesn't make me happy to do it.
medinac
Bensenville, IL
(Zone 5a)

July 29, 2009
1:56 PM

Post #6879596

Those 4 lined bugs are sneaky buggers. They dart under the leaves and run away as quickly as you see them and try to smash them - or they fly away. If they feed alot on your plant, they get the lacey effect that JB's give. Which is the case on my Butterfly Bushes. They also seem to like my Tardiva Hydrangea but leave the Annabelles alone but do a tiny bit of damage to the Endless Summers. The perennials they leave alone.

I was weeding the other night and found 2 grasshoppers, one which jumped on my arm. How nice of him to be so accomodating. Didn't relish smashing him on my arm, but did anyhow.

http://www.hort.uconn.edu/IPM/homegrnd/htms/57flpbug.htm
Goldenberry
Northeast, IL
(Zone 5b)

July 29, 2009
5:36 PM

Post #6880546

I hardly ever actually SEE a four lined bug, just the enormous damage they do. They seem to particularly enjoy the caryopteris and the daisies.

I am tempted to blast the entire garden weekly with fungicide and insecticidal soap--that's how badly my garden seems to be infested this year!

Mrs_Ed

Mrs_Ed
Whiteside County, IL
(Zone 5a)

July 29, 2009
5:51 PM

Post #6880597

I was doing fine until the JBs!!!

Thumbnail by Mrs_Ed
Click the image for an enlarged view.

medinac
Bensenville, IL
(Zone 5a)

August 5, 2009
1:19 AM

Post #6908192

Mrs. Ed - I'm not familiar with Whiteside County - are you in farmland area? That's TERRIBLE damage, VERY hungry JB's.

Mrs_Ed

Mrs_Ed
Whiteside County, IL
(Zone 5a)

August 5, 2009
3:17 PM

Post #6910213

Whiteside county is in the northwest part. I'm in Rock Falls. Yah, there is farmland surrounding the town. Thus we get the crazy asian lady beetles after the soybeans are harvested. sigh.

This is the worst I have ever seen the JBs here. I am fortunate that they did not get my Japanese maple.

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