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What garden pests are you dealing with this summer?

fine_gardening | Posted in Northeast Gardening on

My lilies have been absolutely destroyed by lily leaf beetles this year! This pest doesn’t affect most of the US but is a big problem here in the Northeast. Which bugs and hungry critters are getting on your last nerve right now?


  1. User avater Moderator
    Chloe_Moderator | | #1

    I'm fighting the annual battle of the Asiatic garden beetle right now, which seems to be coming under control in my vegetable garden from turning soil and picking out the grubs for the last few years, but they're doing a number on my perennials. At least it makes for a nice nightly stroll with my trusty fly swatter (for killing the ones hanging out on the side of the house and on patios) and my soapy water jar. Can't wait for their life cycle to be over!

  2. betsye | | #2

    Earwigs! Hate them!

    1. User avater Moderator
      Chloe_Moderator | | #5

      Ugh. They're probably thriving in all this wet weather. What kind of damage have they been doing? I most often find them in my cabbage folds, but I've read they will eat slugs, so I'm always telling myself they must be going in after the slugs!

      1. betsye | | #7

        My cone flowers have no petals left. The little marigolds I planted were de-nuded and are now dead. I'm going to try this tonight (if it doesn't rain):

  3. User avater
    CAlexander | | #3

    Japanese beetles eating all my new coneflowers. : /

    They are the worst!

  4. user-7821942 | | #4

    At the Extension Master Gardener Volunteer demonstration gardens in eastern NC, zone 8a, we have been plagued with voles. They appreciate the nice layer of mulch that we applied as much as the plants. (Maybe more so.) The vile creatures scaled the walls of the raised bed vegetable beds and devoured onions as well as the roots of every other vegetable. In the perennial beds, they merrily chomped on newly planted coreopsis, tomatoes, watermelons, and all of the sunflower and scarlet runner bean seeds that we planted. Kiwi, blackberries, and numerous ornamental shrubs were chewed to death. We are working through IPM (integrated pest management) recommendations but would love to hear about any successful measures.

    1. User avater Moderator
      Chloe_Moderator | | #6

      Voles are a terror. I feel for you! I have mostly had winter damage from them, but they do go for my potatoes and carrots all season long. I've been having some success with solar powered vibrating stakes, which I purchased in desperation in early spring, when they were going after perennial roots. I've seen a reduction in damage possibly from those (I believe they kept moles from disrupting plants, too), but also from pulling back mulch (or shoveling away snow) from around plants they seem to prefer. I think the hawk couple that perches on my vegetable garden fence have been helping, too! Here's more info on vole strategies. Good luck!

    2. [email protected] | | #9

      I have trouble with them also. I have found traps alone not very effective, but much better when used with a small box. I found this technique from Eliot Coleman - google coleman vole box. I put the boxes in the areas where I see runs. Also, if you've not done this already, clearing the pathways and perimeter of the garden seems to help. I believe I saw that in the FG article mentioned here. Good luck with the little *&*&^%$'s.

  5. MohawkValley | | #8

    Regarding the red lily beetles , if people are talking about the ones that look like a red lady bug with no spots :
    They showed up in my gardens in central NYS about four years ago . My "management" of them appears to have a positive effect . First , I spray all my oriental lilies (the only thing they like in my gardens) with a cold-pressed , PURE NEEM OIL solution , mixing a teaspoon of oil with a half gallon of water , emulsified with a few drops of dish soap . Shake very well , then spray to one's heart's content . It hasn't any ANY adverse effect on any of my plants . It works great on spider mites and I see a sizeable effect on this beetle's population and maybe their populating .
    Secondly , these beetles are not quick and many times one can get two at once because they're mating . I grab them between my index finger and my thumb , get them "in position" , then "guillotine" them with my thumbnail . That's the manual way --- not the most romantic approach but it is very effective . It's nice that they like being toward the top of the plant .
    Be diligent , they're easy to see , and get them when seen . It's similar to dead-heading blooms --- it becomes part of the daily walk through the gardens . Soon one's eyes can spot them from a distance without "hunting" for them . A watchful eye , a thumbnail guillotine and neem oil WILL show results . It's not doom-and-gloom - trust me .
    Peace from the Mohawk Valley in central New York State .

    1. fine_gardening | | #10

      Yes I will have to try this next year! Thanks! Too late to save any of my lilies this year, I'm afraid.

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