If you are going to garden, you are going to have some competition for all that lovely produce. How should you combat those garden pests?
Leaf Footed Nymphs
Easily confused with the GOOD guy Assassin bug nymph, this cute tiny monster feeds on soft skinned vegetables and fruit like tomatoes and peaches. Prevention might be a successful control by keeping overwintering sites of weeds and brush piles cleaned. But if they show up, begin with physical removal and dropping them in soapy water, but be sure to wear gloves because they do emit a stinky odor when mashed or provoked. See the top picture for the adult Leaf Footed Nymph. Neem Oil will work on the babies but not the mature bugs.
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These large caterpillars are easily controlled by picking them off by hand and dropping in soapy water or stepping on them. #squish #gross
If population is out of control, Neem Oil will work but will take a few days. For future control, tilling the garden after harvest will destroy overwintering pupae. If you see a caterpillar covered in white eggs, don’t destroy it! Those eggs are an army on the way to the rescue that will fight the battle against the hornworm population with you.
Japanese Beetles can eat their way right though some of your favorite flower leaves and leave it bare! They especially like my roses, crepe myrtle, and the peach tree. I have also seen a few on my chaste tree. I haven’t really seen any in my vegetable garden, but I understand that they like corn, asparagus, grapes and raspberries.
You can prevent them by treating for the grubs that live in your soil. Milky Spore and Bt will both do the job. Once you see the beetles on your plants, it is best to just hand pick them, dropping them into a cup of soapy water.
The leaf roller is the one reason I have not grown Canna Lilies for many years. They can totally destroy these plants in no time. However, about two years ago, I decided to give them another try. Again, the best treatment is Bt. Spray the leaves, especially the underside. You will probably have to retreat in a few weeks for a new set of caterpillars.
I am very thankful to NOT have a picture of the leaf roller. My cannas have so far mostly avoided this pest.
knock on wood The telltale sign of leaf rollers is perfectly round holes in even spaced, perfectly straight lines through the leaves.
The best defense for any destructive garden bugs is a regular walk through the garden, hand picking off and dropping them in a cup of soapy water.
Now that you’ve seen the bad guys, maybe you’d like to see the fun guys that are in this post Who’s That Hanging Out in my Garden?