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I've suspected that earwigs were responsible for the many holes in my dahlia leaves. I just went out tonight with a flashlight and found two dozen or more of these creatures on the dahlias. This pic is not too good but i'm hoping someone can identify this thing and advise me how to get rid of them before they completely defoliate my plants. Thanks in advance.
I don't know what your bug is, but sure looks like some kind of a beetle.
Me, however do have an earwig problem. They like my dahlias and defoliated my butterfly bushes. I tried a broad spectrum insecticide, helped a bit but not totally. I switched to a neem oil based insecticide. The neem oil did more damaged than the earwigs. Due to the extreme and continuos hot weather we're having, the neem oil is suffocating the leaves and making them yellow. Almost defoliated some of my roses.
Pirl, I did some reading about these beetles and it says they burrow into the ground and lay their eggs then come out only at night to feed. I have some Sevin concentrate . Do you think it would help to spray directly on the ground around the plants? I also have some diatomaceous earth but being inexperienced, I'm terrified about doing anything that will hurt the dahlias. I still believe the earwigs are doing a lot of the damage. I read that earwigs eat the leaves from the outside inward and that seems to be the pattern on many of mine. I appreciate the help.
Earwigs are all over. Roses, echinaceas, and I always find them hiding on new young dahlia leaves that are not yet fully open. They're munching on the petals too. Thankfully they're avoiding my lilies.
Pirl - what do you mean "be careful with Sevin"? Aside from the obvious being a chemical, is it harmful to plants too?
Too many people don't read all of the directions and use more than what is necessary or use it for the wrong reasons. I don't know how harmful (or not) it is for plants. At one time I believe it was used to kill Japanese beetles on roses but I don't know what the current recommendation is anymore.
Sevin (Carbaryl) is banned in several countries, including the United Kingdom, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, and Angola. It is toxic to humans and is classified as a likely human carcinogen by the EPA. It also kills beneficial insects such as bees. I won't even go into how evil Monsanto is, that makes Ortho.
Recently I spoke to a County Extension Agent about a problem I have with a plant and part of what he said was to weigh the damage, which the plant can probably overcome (part of nature), as opposed to the damage the poisons (aka "controls") do regarding killing beneficial insects.
One of the fungus controls we bought a few years ago, for roses, did not say the typical: May cause blindness. It said: Causes blindness. We ended up bringing it to the landfill where they have a special area for people to drop off toxic items. I'd rather put up with any insect and any problem rather than go blind trying to stop the problem.
Pirl, I sprinkled DE around the 15 or so dahlias in the front bed. I went back after dark and squished at least 100 of these beetles in about 15 minutes or less. I did not see a single earwig. On three of my plants, about 1/3 of the leaves look like the ones in the pic. Is there any hope of these plants surviving ? If so should I remove the damaged foliage? I have raised flowers here for 3 or 4 years and have never seen ( or noticed ) these beetles before. The dahlias in the same bed last year were untouched.
I'd remove the leaves. It does looks like earwig damage to me and I do view half eaten leaves as an invitation for the earwigs to return.
I will try and find the item in a thread on Dahlias that calls for removal of the bottom leaves anyhow but I forgot the reason for it. Yesterday, while working on my dahlia bed, I did remove several sets of the lower leaves - now I have to find out the reason why we were told it was beneficial.
Hand killing is the absolute safest way of caring for the plants and nature. At least these beetles are easier to kill and don't hurt as the Japanese beetles do.
Pirl , I definitely agree with the hand killing. Trouble is after I made a circuit around the bed and had killed several dozen, when I got to the starting point there were just as many as the first time around. I made so many laps I was getting dizzy. I'm assuming this goes on all night. Many of them were mating so maybe when their " partying " is over I can get some relief. Thanks for your responses.
I have found the JBs to be softer and they put up less of a fight (read biting) when I squish them this year, thankfully. Maybe it is the near drought conditions, they seem smaller. Mostly they are tearing up my cone flowers, and I will not spray those flowers with anything, as I once killed a bumble bee even with Spinosad sprayed many hours earlier, even though it was supposed to be safe after that long.
It's almost amusing, Tod. I find the JB's to have almost lobster like claws and can only kill/squish them if I'm wearing gloves.
I don't spray for JB's and if it means removal of flower heads as well as roses then I do it. It's not a case of being 100% against any spray as having enough to do outside other than spraying. Many times I just wish I had the time to feed plants more often so spraying for bugs is last on my list.
The drought has only one good aspect - few (if any) mosquitoes.
You are lucky if you have few mosquitoes, come 7pm its a free for all here. Doesn't matter what I put on, they just keep coming. Sure is helping the spider mites gain against the predatory mites (who like moisture I believe). My invisible little war. :)
I have read all your messages and still do not know what to put on the Dahlia's that will kill the beatles and not hurt the plant. I am constantly drowning the beetles. Too many. Isn't there something we can spray on them? A botonist told me to use vinegar and water. It scorched the flower and the beetles still came.
Check out Bonide Rose RX online to be sure it kills that exact bug before you buy it. Supposedly it kills Japanese beetles on roses with just one application and one container treats 15 roses. It's systemic so if it kills the dahlia bug it should work the same way as for roses.
I'm still making a trip outside every night after dark but haven't seen a beetle on my plants for several nights. I'm hoping my bug-squishing days are over for at least a while. I did put out a bug light and find some in the water tray every morning. Apparently they find the light more attractive than my dahlia leaves. My fingers are crossed. Dan