Sunday, August 14, 2011

Pests In The Garden, Part II

Insects are an another bane of a gardener’s efforts.  In the spring I battle the lily beetles.  These are tiny little bright red beetles that chew up your Asiatic lily leaves, and then lay eggs that turn into disgusting little poop-encased larvae, that will decimate your plants if left unchecked.  I find that if I can capture most of the adults at this time, I can prevent a lot of larval damage later.  I have also used NEEM oil, which seems to be somewhat effective, but an expensive solution if you have a large number of plants as I do.

Lily Beetles

Colorado Potato Beetles – these just seem to be a part of growing potatoes anymore.  There isn’t much effective pesticide-wise (and nothing that I really want to use on my veggies anyway).  I find the best is just to knock them into a bucket of water, every couple of days.  Provided they don’t denude your spuds of leaves entirely, if you keep them somewhat under control, you will still get a decent crop of tubers.  

Potato beetle larvae

Not sure what insects were at work here, but they were thorough

Cucumber beetles are another pesky little brute that seems to be everywhere in Ontario now.  The biggest issue is to protect young curcubit plants until they are running well.  Then they seem to be able to fend for themselves, but if the beetles strike in the early two or three leaf stage, they will destroy your tender little plants.

Iris Borer and Damage

 As a tall bearded iris conniseur,  iris borers are a major issue in the eastern provinces of Canada.  The adult moth is a shy creature, who finds your plants at night and lays eggs for the following year.  The eggs hatch in early spring, crawl up the iris fans, and chew into the leaf.  Then they start their journey back down the plant, eating as they go, boring their way through the tuber  and finally emerging as an ugly pink grub, which then pupates and starts the whole cycle over again.  Unfortunately, their boring habits, leave an opening for bacterial rot, which can quickly wipe out your entire clumps of irises.  There is not much you can do about the borers, except keep your iris patches clean in the fall (the moth lays on the old dead residue of the season).  Cygon used to be a very effective systemic pesticide in the past, but has been banned for several years.

I have grown gladioli for many years.  I keep my corms over from year to year, because at one point I imported a lot of new varieties from a breeder in Russia.  Unfortunately in keeping the corms over I am also playing host to thrip eggs.  Thrips are tiny little flies that suck the juices from the developing gladiolus plant.  Minor damage will just have tiny white streaks along the edges of the flowers.  Major damage (as below) means completely deformed flowers, and rusty looking leaves.  In the past I have used Diazonone on glads, but this year they are incorporated into my vegetable garden, so I don't want an insecticide there.

Japanese beetles are a relatively new scourge in the garden.  They are pretty little bronzy metallic bugs that chew up a lot of garden foliage, and multiply with great fortitude.  In my garden they enjoy canna lily leaves, my plum trees and my beans -- thus far.  There are pheromone traps available, so that may be an investment I need to look at next year.

This is the first year they have tackled my bean plants.

And that is about all I have to say for today.

Musings and meanderings from the Musical Gardener.

1 comment:

  1. You know, this is the first year since we moved here four years ago that I've had potato beetles! I like insects but really, these are revolting. It has been quite the summer for bugs.


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