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worst garden pest you have encountered?

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Post  ribsyhuggins 8/25/2010, 4:59 pm

what is your most troublesome garden pest.
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Post  Chopper 8/25/2010, 5:59 pm

For me I cannot get rid of the cucumber beetles. I squish many a day and they are everywhere. I sprayed with some neem, but I also water every night. So far they are a minor, but ever-present pest.
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Post  pattipan 8/25/2010, 6:01 pm

Hands down for me the worst pest is the evil Squash Vine Borer!

The adult moth lays her teeny tiny eggs singly on your squash stems (no bigger than a speck of dirt), then the larva hatch within a few days and bore into your vines unseen. You do not know they are there until you see the frass they exit at the base of your main stem and/or your vines start to wilt.

I've seen the moths flying around during the day, usually when it's the hottest (around noon to 2:00 pm). They are way too fast to squirt with bug spray -- and believe me I've tried!! The best you can do is learn to recognize the eggs, remove them and there is never just one! You also have to learn to not be too squeamish about slitting the stem and removing the the larvae. If you're REALLY determined to have squash, then you might even resort to injecting the stems with BT.

Sad thing is, it's a battle until the moths stop their mating cycle. Last Sunday I saw more moths flying around my winter squash. If my squash survive you will definitely see me doing a happy dance!!

pattipan...your resident determined squash grower cutesie
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Post  elliephant 8/26/2010, 3:03 pm

Leaf-footed bugs did the most damage to my garden this year. They overran my garden while I was on vacation and I got so bad I had to pull up all tomatoes.
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Post  junequilt 8/26/2010, 4:31 pm

1. Elsa (Lab/Pit mix who loves to dig around roots of plants that have just been fertilized with organic fertilizer - yummmm!).

2. Tomato hornworm wiped out all the remaining tomatoes on one plant overnight. Caught it, though. Stomped it and got slimed. worst garden pest you have encountered? Icon_tongue

3. Stink bugs and leaffooted bugs have tried to get established, but me and my trusty container of water + dish detergent have largely prevailed.

Having gardened organically in this yard for 12 years, and with water gardens and flowers that attract birds, toads, and beneficials like crazy, my pest population has really been kept down. Except for Elsa, of course.
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Post  Squat_Johnson 8/26/2010, 5:06 pm

Rabbits ate all the broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts. I put up a fence finally, and bought plants later. Cabbage worms later made the broccoli leaves into lace.

Voles (aka field mice) ate several plants earlier in the year. They would dissapear underground just like a Bugs Bunny 'toon. I put out mouse traps and caught a few. I fear I am not finished with them...

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Post  Bec 8/26/2010, 5:44 pm

1) Muskrat ate 4 of my butternut squashes including a huge one.
2) Lots of squash bugs but I'm not sure which damage they did.
3) Mexican bean beetles and their "Billions and Billions" of larvae!!!!! I'm just about to give up and let them have the rest of the bean plants.
4) Powdery mildew on ALL of the winter squash plants.
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Post  Aub 8/26/2010, 10:39 pm

I'm not sure what is doing it but something is eating all my strawberries before I get a chance to! For a while it was rabbits, they would chomp the stems right off. My sisters would call me Mr. McGregor because all I talk about are these @#$%& rabbits!
I brought hair home from the salon, sprinkled rabbit pellet stuff, and put up a little fence around the strawberries. So the rabbits don't seem to be eating them.
But something else is! Some of the berries are slimy, some a dried up and black, some have brown spots on them. Almost all of them are deformed, I haven't seen 1 red one that looks like a strawberry.
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Post  chocolatepop 8/27/2010, 12:35 am

Cabbage worms
groundhog
3 year old preschooler...
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Post  ander217 8/27/2010, 8:32 am

1. Voles - ate a third of our potatoes, destroyed our first corn planting, ate half of my spring peas and all of the fall planting, ate two-thirds of our sweet potato plants - they are just bad. They suddenly disappeared in the summer and now they are back, likely wearing their napkin bibs with knife and fork in hand in anticipation of our fall plantings. Husband is going to dig around the entire garden perimeter and lay hardware cloth ten inches deep in an effort to stop them next year.

2. Squash bugs and squash vine borer.

3. Tobacco hornworms - far more of them in our garden than tomato hornworms.

4. Rabbits. Ate all three plantings of my swiss chard and beets and nibbled on the spinach, in spite of a fence, two dogs, and a cat. Last year they ate the green beans and left the beets and chard alone. This year they didn't touch the green beans. Same weird thing with squirrels this year - last year they ate all the green, half-grown hickory nuts in the trees. This year they left the green nuts alone but ate all of my green pears when they were half-grown - every single pear. That pear tree is fifteen years old, growing near the hickory tree and this is the first year they've ever touched it. What's up with all that? (Time to break out some Grandma Putt's Varmint Repellent!)
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Post  Weedless_ 8/27/2010, 12:47 pm

Squash vine borer - they killed my pumpkin and almost killed both squash varieties. I picked the eggs, but that didn't prevent it from entering the vines. Had to resort to real pesticide towards the end, because nothing else worked. In addition, it makes things look disgusting - all that frass, and rotten vines and stems. Eeek.

Second favorite is pickle worm - same reasons - hard to prevent (they only come out at night), hard to fight, demolish everything - stems, leaves, flowers, and fruit, and look disgusting. At least this one is more of a "lottery", you may or may not get them, since they come from FL.

The SVB is overwintering in your own yard (or even house), so you almost can't get rid of it.
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Post  marinal 12/24/2010, 12:33 am

Oh my, where do I start?...
1. Stripy beetles on my cucumbers- I had to rip all the plants out.
2. Stripy beetles on the melons- had to rip those out too.
3. Green worms on broccoli, cabbage and culiflower turned the leaves in shreds. I was picking them every day and they still managed to ruin the crop.
4. Green pepper plants had some sort of funk on them- all the leaves were curly and distorted and peppers were like little midgets. I ripped the plants out too and send them to the firepit since I had no clue what was that.
5. Strawberries never gave me one berry last summer. I have no clue what happened. I have 17 plants and they are big, but no berries.
6. By the end of the season I got rot on my tomatoes and it spred like a wildfire and took them all.
7. Zuccini got killed by the byrrying worm and peas by the cutworm...

I tried neem oil, sqished garlick, soaps and hair, baking soda, ashes- anything organic that I could get my hands on. Nothing worked!!! Oh, did I mentioned slugs... What a Face
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Post  LaFee 12/24/2010, 3:14 am

Snow.
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Post  acara 12/24/2010, 6:33 am

HOA Police Evil or Very Mad
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Post  ander217 12/24/2010, 6:51 am

Oh, Acara, please tell me they didn't complain about your lovely garden! (Have you and Megan commiserated?)
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Post  Lavender Debs 12/24/2010, 8:30 am

worst garden pest you have encountered? Jason10
Wildchildsmokeusinteruptus
Common name: Jake
Nocturnal creature to which I lost all of my blueberries and raspberries to as well as 90% of my snap peas. Tomatoes were under threat from his habit of sitting on the deck by the light of the moon within 10 feet of tomato plants while he enjoyed a PM cigarette with berries and snap peas. (Note, I planted zucchini as a sacrificial plant to keep him to one area but it was a bad year for zucchini in the PNW)

Treatment: As with aphids, use a hard, fast jet of water.

Deborah…. Who got lucky (or is it blessed?) and did not have any other big pest problems (big as in hordes, not size like the above pest)
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Post  Megan 12/24/2010, 10:58 am

funny post rofl
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Post  Odd Duck 12/24/2010, 11:21 am

Laughing jocolor lol! funny post rofl

Debs, you kill me!

My biggest pest of that type was . . . . . me! My hubby never even saw some of the produce cuz it never made it into the house! I plan to rectify by planting more of what we like a lot and less of what we like a bit less.

My biggest insect pest was the dreaded squash vine borer - GRRRRR!!!! I did pretty well for a while, but then I missed one of my organic sprays one weekend due to the camping trip and got nailed!

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Post  FarmerValerie 1/30/2011, 10:43 am

These guys, Squash Bugs.
worst garden pest you have encountered? Img_1111

Darn things took over.
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Post  quiltbea 1/30/2011, 12:25 pm

Last year it was the tomato horn worm.
I didn't even know these guys were about, stripping my plants of leaves and ruining lovely, red tomatoes, until I reached a hand under some tomatoes and felt this soft, squishy thing.
Until now I thought it was chipmunks or some other hairy varmint ruining my crop.
Upon investigation, it was a huge, well-fed hornworm.
I removed 10 of these guys within a half hour that day and about 4 more then next day. With their demise, the tomatoes I had left did very well at the end of the season, but I had lost several plants in the meantime.

This year I'll be on the lookout for them as soon as my toms are planted, checking under leaves and along stems where they seem to blend in so well. Having had cataract surgery in Dec., I think my eyes are better able now to see the dreadful critters better.
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Post  kimbertangleknot 1/30/2011, 12:46 pm

I didn't really have a problem with anything. I saw my first hornworm last year, I only ever saw two, so I got lucky. What I had was a nuisance though. I had ants in one of my beds. They weren't really harming them in anyway too bad. None of my plants got destroyed or anything, but sometimes there were little chew marks on leaves. They decided to crawl in the hollow wall of my planter and start a small little home, which I couldn't really do anything about until the season was over.

So this year since I'm going to have 2 4x8 beds added with no bottoms on them, I'm going to be leveling the land slightly and doing the wet newspaper/weed mulch and possibly putting down some small pebbles/rocks to keep it visually appealing. Since the beds I'm buying have hoops that come with them, I'm buying some of the gardening covers to be prepared this year as well as some organic insect killer. I want to have the stuff on hand this year, I have a feeling it'll be an insect year for me.
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Post  FarmerValerie 1/30/2011, 12:52 pm

The cardinals kept the tomato horn worms at bay last year, so I may get a few feeders, to encourage them to stay. We had problems with ants 2 years ago, when we saw them on our potatoes, we opened used tea bags on the mound and sprinkled the tea around them. For ant hills we use cinnamon. We buy the big shakers at Sam's and sprinkle around areas they frequent, and dump on ant hills. Last year we did not have nearly the problems we had in the past.
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Post  Old Hippie 1/30/2011, 4:18 pm

Lavender Debs, you cracked me up with that pic of your garden pest. LOL! Does. that water spray work?

Farmer Valerie, I am fascinated with the tea and cinnamon idea for ant problems. I would way rather use cinnamon on ant hills than ant killer. We do have a problem with ants here, although not in the garden so far. Tell me more about that.

My biggest problem is SLUGS. Dang! I hate those things. They decimate the lettuce and the strawberries. I have used every method I have heard of just to actually get to eat some of the lettuce and strawberries. I can only grow petunias in hanging baskets or containers up off the ground. I have used coffee grounds, crushed egg shells and diatomaceous earth just to keep ahead of these critters. It slows them down a bit. And the kind I have here are very small, almost microscopic. When they first hatch in spring they are not much bigger than the head of a pin but they can devour a lettuce seedling overnight. By the end of the summer they are about an inch long and easier to see but by then I have lost the will to fight them.

Cabbage moths were my other nemesis. In fact, for years I have given up on growing any brassicas at all. I am going to try again this year and will use row covers to keep those little green worms out of my brussel sprouts and broccoli.
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Post  miinva 1/30/2011, 4:41 pm

Squash bugs were definitely the worst. The took over the place and I just couldn't keep up with them. Japanese beetles did some real damage to my bean plants, but didn't manage to kill them off. Yellow and black striped beetles on the cucumbers were prolific as heck and I found that tomatillos are a great trap plant for them. When I went out I picked them off the two tomatillo plants first and always got plenty. I was sure those poor things were going to die, but they actually produced about 20 tomatillos for us!
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Post  FarmerValerie 1/30/2011, 6:18 pm

Old Hippie, if you want to know how NOT to use salt for slugs go to my blog. http://rocksinmygarden.blogspot.com/2009/05/to-salt-or-not-to-salt.html
I'm brutally honest about my mistakes experiments in the garden. I have no shame. What did work is beer, the higher the malt (in other words the cheaper the beer) the better. Burry a tuna can level with the dirt or mulch, fill it 1/2 of the way full, and leave it. They love the yeast or the smell of it, and they come running. Problem is they can get in to drink, but cannot get out and they drown.

As for tea and cinnamon, they were old farmer's ideas we wanted to try. We saved used tea bags for compost and for ants in the potatoes, we live in the south, having iced tea on hand at all times is the law. When we were out checking things, if we had ants on the taters, we just opened a tea bag (family sized) and sprinkled it around the plant. As for the cinnamon we shop at Sam's and they have the 20oz containers of seasonings, and we stock up in the spring. You can use the Dollar Store kind that are 2 for $1, they work just as well. The cinnamon burns the ants, I dumped a bunch on a hill one day, they attacked me, to see what would happen. The sun was beating down on the mound, and they came out once again to get me, but as soon as they touched the cinnamon they started writhing in pain, I smiled in sadistic glee.... It works for indoor ants too, just sprinkle around where they are getting in, or around the sink at night, just a bit, and they will stop coming in. One year my husband sprinkled the perimeter of our yard and that worked to keep them from coming in from the pasture behind and beside us.
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