Tag Archives: spinosad

Cabbage Moth Larvae Tried to Kill My Brussels Sprouts!

It never ends, the garden war. Just countless battles making me think that I’m winning! Hahaha! I noticed holes in some of my Brussels sprouts leaves. Ugh. I’m honestly not sure how well any of my vegetables will do, as I just kind of planted seeds and hoped for the best. Test run year! (I should definitely research a LOT more.) But I am hopeful they might produce something, so I want to protect them.
My poor Brussels sprouts!!

I Googled “what’s eating my Brussels sprout leaves?” and found this link, which prompted me to check the back side of the leaves in question, near the middle vein. Sure enough, I found tiny inch-long or less green larvae. Cabbage moth larvae! (Read that link…they are butterflies, we Americans just call them moths because they look like moths.)

An example of a cabbage moth larvae decimating a leaf!

This article goes a little more in depth about what exactly I’m dealing with. She recommends a few different natural enemies and two biological pesticides, Bt and spinosad. Spinosad was also in the Sluggo I purchased so I knew about that already. A little more Googling of Bt and I finally stumbled across something I can find at Home DepotCaptain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew. There was a Bonide product specifically for caterpillars but I couldn’t find it locally, don’t have time to wait, and like the idea of this spray covering a few more critters than one!

Captain Jack’s Deadbug Brew

I did try murdering the worms by hand, but they are SO TINY. I was dropping them and not sure if I had squished them first or not, meaning they’d probably find their way back to my Brussels sprouts again. And I have a lot of plants, so that’s a lot of leaves to pick through, as well as ensure you got every single one. In the fine words of the interwebs these days, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” 😉

Captain Jack’s Deadbug Brew ingredients label

I applied the first round on June 13. I had to wait a day after purchasing the spray because it was windy, so I told the worms to eat up because it was their last meal!! I checked back the next day and most of them seemed to be gone or dead. A few larger ones remained, so I picked them off if I saw them, and assured myself if there were any more, they’d be gone soon enough. A few days later, and I don’t see anything on them at all! I did spray a second round on June 19, as the bottle said it can be reapplied every 6 days, up to 6 times a season for Brussels sprouts. [Check the label for other produce, there were specific instructions for each!] I probably won’t spray them again unless I see the worms again…I actually did the second spray because I saw a damn cabbage moth flying around the area again! Stop it! To think I assumed they were just pretty little white butterflies, pollinating the lands.

Cabbage moth

Oh yeah, I sprayed my pumpkin plant, too. There was one tiny creature (not sure what it was) and a little hole starting on one leaf. Not taking any chances!!

Pumpkin leaf – tiny hole upper right!

What did you plant this year? What are your favorite produce gardening tips you think I should know about???

Slugs – The Pink Dahlia Murder

Last year, all of these GORGEOUS dahlias bloomed in my yard all summer long and even into the fall. I guess I was spoiled. I think when I was identifying all my plants someone did make mention of potential ear wigs, but I was so busy chopping things back in the jungle yard I had inherited that I didn’t have time to deal with tiny holes in leaves. Everything was still growing and blooming, wasn’t it?
So many varieties of dahlias!
This year, I felt on top of my game in the yard since everything had been mostly pruned back and it’s not as much of a jungle out there! I got a really good start on things. I had the beds all weeded and pruned, ready for new dahlias. The daffodils that were so strategically planted between the dahlias were finishing their blooming, and I was lazy and didn’t cut back their stems right away. If I had, I may have noticed that the dahlias were indeed sprouting.
ALREADY?!?! Isn’t it too early? It’s only the beginning of May! And by the time I realized this, they already looked like this:
I mean, I thought this was gonna be it!
And now they look like this because I wasn’t sure what was decimating my crop, and figured the above pictures was the worst that would happen.
Poor dahlias!!!

I figured out what the issue was. Slugs. Probably earwigs, too, since I’m seeing evidence of those on my rhubarb, as well. So the first thing I did was start cleaning out my eggshells and saving all of our coffee grounds. I crushed the eggshells up (so that’s probably what you’re seeing in some of these photos on the ground) and sprinkled coffee grounds in a ring around all of the dahlia clumps. But then I realized there were signs of tunneling, and with the amount of crop decimation, I think I even have these extra-awesome black-keeled slugs, which destroy tuber crops pretty much entirely.

So I laid out one dish of beer to see what would happen:

Mmm…dead, drunk slugs!
[I also found this big old snail hiding on top of one rhubarb leaf, but under another. Scared me when I pulled that top leaf back!!]
Since that seemed to work, the second night I laid out several dishes of beer in various locations of destruction. It seemed by the third night the slugs were getting larger. (What I thought was “normal” sized; the first ones seemed ridiculously small and I wondered how they did all that damage so fast before I realized it.) I went out later than normal to put beer in the dishes and was frightened when my flashlight shone on some of those “normal” sized ones already trying to taste yesterday’s beer residue. However, they were gone the next morning!
I don’t think I used deep enough dishes. This site with tips did recommend using jars, but other people and sites just said “ a dish”. I don’t have space where this is happening to put jars out, plus I honestly don’t want to dump out dead giant slugs in the morning! (Keepin’ it real – I’m already having slug nightmares!) There are several interesting tips on that link, most of which do involve killing the slugs, so if you are opposed to that, there is one tip involving fruit and moving the slugs to a different location. Personally, I want to protect my crops and have no qualms killing creepy crawlies that are killing crops. Especially because next year I will be growing crops I want to be able to eat – not growing them for slug food!! 😛
Therefore, I am taking the fast and easy way out and purchased some Sluggo, which has iron phosphate as the active ingredient. It was recommended to buy Sluggo Plus, which is the same thing, only with Spinosad added, which kills the pill bugs and earwigs. The Lowe’s by my home didn’t have Sluggo Plus, and I really just want to deal with this ASAP in hopes that my dahlias make a comeback this year! I will make sure to order some Sluggo Plus online or something early next year and have my arsenal prepared! The earwigs don’t do quite as much damage (just tiny unattractive holes in leaves) so I’m not as concerned with them as I am with the slugs.
The instructions on the Sluggo say to lay it down in the evening and it should last through wind and rain for 4 weeks. You can reapply as often as you see the pellets disappear or at least every 2 weeks, depending on the severity of the infestation. The ground needs to be moist but no standing water.
Sluggo pellets surrounding my lily sprout
Sluggo will not affect any other critters, and is also safe for your pets and kids to be around, as well as vegetation you are planning on eating from your garden – right up to harvest day. The slugs and snails will immediately stop eating, no matter how tiny an amount of Sluggo they ingest. They will lose their appetite and eventually die from starvation. You probably will not see them since they go off to secluded places to die, so you’ll only know it’s working by your plant damage decreasing. I am still going to keep collecting and putting out the eggshells and coffee grounds. (**Coffee grounds also deter ants!!**) I will let you all know how it goes and if the dahlias survive and bloom for me again this year!
The slugs already had their way with
this lily before it bloomed.   🙁