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TexasMadness Profile
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Mission: Cutworm Genocide


As mentioned in the thread about my garden, I'm dealing with some serious cutworm issues. I actually thought I had passed through the critical stage as the cutworms were nibbling on stems but not mowing down the plants completely. But this morning...oh man...I'm pissed!!!

Image

Image

Those were blooming peppers, nice and healthy. The worm just crawled to the top where the stems were more delicate and CHOMP CHOMP CHOMP.

I've never seen anything like this. I'm not 100% sure these two were cutworms (every time they've struck in the past, I've found the culprit but not with these) but it is some sort of caterpillar creature.

So I'm going on the full offensive here. I'm going to chronicle my trials and see if I can help anyone else out that has suffered this same miserable pest! These are my current options:

Defensive measures (i.e. prevent access):

Put collars (toilet paper tubes) around tiny plants to prevent access.


Offensive measures (i.e. kill the buggers!):

Use Bacillus Thuingiensis (BT) on the soil around plants. BT is actually considered an organic pesticide. It disrupts a caterpillars digestion.

Introduce parasitic nematodes that will hunt down and slaughter cutworms in the soil.

Squish, squish, squish. Every morning check around the base of nibbled plants for the culprits. Be ruthless!



I'll keep you up-to-date on what I'm doing and how it's going!
5/3/2012, 6:10 pm Link to this post Send Email to TexasMadness   Send PM to TexasMadness
 
Saijen SilverWolf1 Profile
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Re: Mission: Cutworm Genocide


We've been lucky, so far, but not holding my breath.

With the toilet paper rolls, be realy sure you push them far enough into the soil to keep the cutworm from going under it. If you use paper towels, hang on to those rolls, too....you can cut those into half, or thirds.
Wrapping paper tubes....plastic straws....

Hope you can get them taken care of. Nothing is worse than working so hard on your garden, only to have a stinkin worm/caterpillar, take it down.

---
"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"
~~@Saijen@~~
5/4/2012, 2:24 am Link to this post Send Email to Saijen SilverWolf1   Send PM to Saijen SilverWolf1 Yahoo
 
TexasMadness Profile
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Re: Mission: Cutworm Genocide


Well, the local nursery doesn't have BT. It's for "big ag" apparently! So I either need to go to a feed store type place or just stick with the other methods. I would rather not use something that will kill all the butterfly caterpillars too, but those don't live in the soil so I think I'm safe.

So last night we protected as well as we could. The tiny new okra seedlings got toilet paper tubes. I hardly had enough but I put them in the area where the worst destruction is going on.

Image

And of course, a big healthy 3 week old okra seedling next to the new babies was cut down this morning! Found the evil critter though. Here's what I'm dealing with:

Image

Sometimes I can just clear away the mulch and find the worm, but other times I have to see where the soil is disturbed and dig a bit. This guy was under the surface. You guessed it...SQUISH.

The pepper plants are all way to big to put tubes around so we tried another method of aluminum foil collars. I don't really know how that's supposed to work because its not stiff enough to put in the soil and the leaves on the plants are only about an inch off the ground so it's not like you can have a tall collar. So we just did our best.

Image

No damage to any of them this morning. Might try that on the okra tonight. Sheesh, what a bunch of work to deter these pests!

On the plus side, I found out they don't usually bother squash and cucumbers. The next row over has squash just germinating and I was spazzing about that. So hopefully I don't have to worry! They didn't get any of the first round of planting so I'm pretty sure the second crop will be fine too. Phew.
5/4/2012, 5:31 pm Link to this post Send Email to TexasMadness   Send PM to TexasMadness
 
TexasMadness Profile
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Re: Mission: Cutworm Genocide


No new damage. But it did rain quite a bit last night so I'm not sure if they just took a 'rain check' for their evening of destruction!

I do have some leaf damage on the okra -looks like caterpillar. So they may still be feasting just not killing. I'll have to think whether I can let them live through this. But I can't find worms doing it anyway...
5/6/2012, 4:57 pm Link to this post Send Email to TexasMadness   Send PM to TexasMadness
 
Saijen SilverWolf1 Profile
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Re: Mission: Cutworm Genocide


Texas...in one of those things I posted the URL to...didn't one of them have a mixture of Dawn dish soap and some water, to spray on the plants? I wonder if you sprayed that on the leaves, if that would deter them from eating the leaves, too. Just a thought. So far, we're still OK, but we've not got much in the garden yet, either.



---
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~~@Saijen@~~
5/7/2012, 3:13 am Link to this post Send Email to Saijen SilverWolf1   Send PM to Saijen SilverWolf1 Yahoo
 
TexasMadness Profile
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Re: Mission: Cutworm Genocide


The liquid soap makes it so bugs can't breathe properly. It has to actually be sprayed directly on the bug. So if you have a big aphid infestation, that stuff works wonders. If you have nasty night-emerging beasts, it does no good! emoticon

Lost one more okra - one of the new seedlings that I hadn't protected. I had a few more toilet paper tubes and I put those around the seedlings just adjacent to the chopped one. Couldn't find the worm this time though!
5/7/2012, 3:39 pm Link to this post Send Email to TexasMadness   Send PM to TexasMadness
 
Saijen SilverWolf1 Profile
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Re: Mission: Cutworm Genocide


Man...I hope you can get those buggers under control! All that hard work, and it's being mowed down by a friggin caterpillar!

 :angry:

If I come across anything else that may work, I'll be sure to let you know.

---
"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"
~~@Saijen@~~
5/7/2012, 7:33 pm Link to this post Send Email to Saijen SilverWolf1   Send PM to Saijen SilverWolf1 Yahoo
 
TexasMadness Profile
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Re: Mission: Cutworm Genocide


Phooey. Cutworms in the corn!

I finally put my hands on some Bt so I'm ready to put it out. But wet makes it inert and it's been raining on and off so I haven't had a chance. But if it's not raining in the middle of the night, the cutworms emerge! They have really done a number on the corn.

I have hopes that some of the cut-down corn will make it. Corn is a monocot so as long as the damage was done above the root crown, I think it will grow back. Monocots grow from the base of the plant, that's where all the mechanism is - just like grass, which is why when it's mowed, it's not damaged but keeps on growing. Whereas dicots (which include the vast majority of other vegetables) grow from the top/ends of the plant, like tomatoes putting on new leaves. So when a cutworm takes down a dicot, they've eliminated the growing point. But fingers crossed for monocot corn!!!
5/10/2012, 5:22 pm Link to this post Send Email to TexasMadness   Send PM to TexasMadness
 
Saijen SilverWolf1 Profile
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Re: Mission: Cutworm Genocide


Good luck!!!

---
"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"
~~@Saijen@~~
5/11/2012, 3:10 am Link to this post Send Email to Saijen SilverWolf1   Send PM to Saijen SilverWolf1 Yahoo
 
TexasMadness Profile
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Re: Mission: Cutworm Genocide


It rained all evening and into the night, so no chance of putting out the Bt. But of course, it cleared up early early this morning and the cutworms emerged! Couple more corn and now they are in the new green beans. Just lost one...but still!

Squished a few. Most satisfying.

Rain in the forecast again for the evening.

Sigh.
5/11/2012, 2:08 pm Link to this post Send Email to TexasMadness   Send PM to TexasMadness
 


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