Want to know what's been nibbling your plants? By Linda Delcamp [57 Posts, 22 Comments] July 25, 2010. This site is maintained by Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment in the College of Natural Sciences. Eliminate potential den sites in stonewalls, woodpiles, outbuildings or porches. For the last two weeks Iâve had an uninvited guest in my Brussels sprouts. Some, such as tent caterpillars, are easy to identify by the structures they build on trees. Something Is Eating My Pepper Plants. To distinguish among these four look for signs, or evidence, left behind. UMass Research and Education Center Farms, Conservation Assessment Prioritization System (CAPS), Extension Risk Management/Crop Insurance Education, North American Aquatic Connectivity Collaborative, Civil Rights and Non-Discrimination Information. They almost always occur in groups, so a … These slimy critters like to hang out where it's moist and shady. If you see holes or ragged chunks of leaves disappearing and the damage has been occurring slowly, with a little feeding each night, beetles, caterpillars, earwigs or slugs may be the culprits. Squirrels are among the most common animals that might end up feasting on your pumpkins. Deer â¢ With deer, damage is up higher, up to 6 feet, since they're taller animals. What could it be? Voles are small mouse-like animals that do severe damage to tomato plants. Thanking you in advance. Try putting some cut hair, yes, I said hair, human hair around the plants and make an outside ring also about 6-8 inches out with the hair, and see if that helps. Because of the investment in labor and expense for fencing, plan ahead carefully. To distinguish among these four look for signs, or evidence, left behind. Raccoons are notorious for raiding the corn patch the night before you planned to pick your first succulent ears. Answer Save. Depending on the amount of damage, you may choose to allow natural enemies to reduce the pest population, or to wash or pick the pests off the plants by hand. They will end up gnawing your pumpkin until they reach the seeds. During the day look for the curled up caterpillars just under the soil surface near plant stems. If you choose to use a pesticide select a material labeled for both the pest and the crop. Seedlings with less than five leaves are most vulnerable. The larvae are lawn Grubs. Groundhogs, for example, are unlikely to eat the tips of the branches of your apple tree that are 4' off the ground. To learn to identify pests and to find photos of some of the pests mentioned in this article, go to www.google.com and enter search terms for the plant and/or the pest, then click on images. Finally I found my evidence of what was snacking on my tasty greens. Look for vole tunnels in grassy areas at the edges of the garden. Or, create a 6-inch-deep trench around the plant's roots and fill with 4 inches of small sharp gravel (not round gravel) and 2 inches of soil. Watch for the orange and black adult moth, which flies like a small hummingbird, hovering around squash plants during the day. They have a strong sense of smell, which is why they can easily find pumpkins. While garden seeds are commonly eaten by mice, most seedlings are damaged by voles, chipmunks, rabbits, or squirrels. The flakes supposedly burn their paws and keep them from entering your garden at all. Ordinary fences will not deter raccoons. BARBARA MEDFORD, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, UT. BioAdvancedÂ® is a registered trademark of SBM Life Science Corp. Read the labels carefully and choose a product that is labeled for both the pest and the crop. Droppings are the last way I know of to figure out what is eating plants. When you keep plants and flowers in your home, it’s usually quite easy to protect them from those fluffy friends. As for other animals, repellents (including “scare” tactics) have limited long-term value. The caterpillars feed for several weeks (they are voracious eaters – I have seen one worm strip an entire tomato plant) before creating cocoons in which they will spend the winter. Read the labels carefully and follow the directions. If birds are causing lots of plant damage, try some of the bird repellents, or resort to physical barriers such as netting. They feed by poking their mouthparts into a leaf or stem and sucking out nutritious plant juices. This occurs when they eat the bark completely around the bottom of a tree or shrub, which can kill the plant. Update: a couple of the plants are 2-3 feet high and leaves and stems are snipped off the top. Some animals – horses, say, or rabbits – eat only plants (herbivores), others – such as tigers or pythons – only meat (carnivores), but omnivores aren’t so choosy: They consume both plant and animal matter. Watch for butterflies fluttering around plants, landing on leaves and laying eggs. If the pests eating your basil leaves are a species of leafhopper, you will see the channels they dig in before you see the small insects, each less than 1/4 inch long, with neutral tan coloring. Catnip is, of course, the plant of choice in the feline world, along with pet grass you can find at a pet supply retailer. Winding, tan colored blotches on the leaves of spinach, beets and Swiss chard leaves indicate the presence of leaf miners. Woodchucks, which are rodents, are primarily ground foragers and diggers. Could this be an insect, or infection? Then, within 2 days, half of my plants (along with the green beans) are gone. ChapelGirl2 Posts: 78. â¢ Click here for tips on controlling rabbits in your garden. Look for pea-sized droppings in the vicinity. Use a stick to pull the tents, along with all the caterpillars in it, out of the tree and into a bucket of soapy water. 0 0. They like corn, beans and peas, but will browse on many tender garden vegetables. For information on legal means for managing nuisance animals consult the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. They feed close to their burrows during the day, especially in mid-morning and late afternoon. Depending on how many nuisance animals live near your garden, as well as their habits and preferences, repellents might be useful. (Most insects start feeding from the outside of a leaf and work their way in.) Few plants … They feed mostly at night. Randolph, Ma. Plan to use lightweight row covers to protect crops from flies and beetles and from butterflies and moths that produce caterpillars. I never see deer in my yard so Iâm perplexed on what can be eating them. â¢ Favorite plants include newly emerging tulips, pepper plants, green beans. Animals eating my vegetable plants - Knowledgebase Question. When something is munching your plants, it can be tricky to find out who's the culprit. Rabbit damage can be identified by foliage that has been nipped off sharply, leaving no ragged edges. Last summer, for example, I thought I had a woodchuck sneaking through a gap in my fence and nibbling on my peas. The cabbage root maggot fly, as well as the related onion maggot and seed corn maggot flies, lays eggs in the soil near the host plant (or seed) and the emerging larvae tunnel into the roots or seeds. Insecticidal soaps, neem and other oil products may be effective as both a pesticide and/or a deterrent for soft-bodied insects. Any help is appreciated! It takes some investigative work to find the culprits. Deer lack upper incisors, so they bite foliage and tear it free, creating jagged edges. As squash plants begin producing fruit you might notice the leaves wilting. Experiment with different kinds of repellents and rotate, or change, the type used. Sometimes itâs not the eating of the plants that is the problem, but rather itâs the planter itself that attracts your cat. Buddleia is simply less palatable to them than other shrubs. I searched the leaves and hunted for bugs, worms, moths, rats â anything! Look back along the stem from the wilted leaf for excrement, called “frass”, which looks like sawdust left by the insect feeding inside the stem. A fence that is installed correctly and well maintained will deter many vertebrate pests, with the exception of birds. Moles are not the culprits. If you see holes or ragged chunks of leaves disappearing and the damage has been occurring slowly, with a little feeding each night, beetles, caterpillars, earwigs or slugs may be the culprits. Keep in mind that no plant is deer proof. Aphids and whiteflies don’t grow more than about 1/8” long. Voles (think "V" for vegetarian) attack plant roots and parts. Dogh, every critter in the world was attracted to the sent. Some caterpillars make webbing. Will rabbits, or other animals eat squash leaves? I found one on my tomato plants and they are very hard to see. Woodchucks tend to trample plants as they feed. When green bean buds disappear entirely, animals may be â¦ You’ll recognize their feeding as irregular holes in leaves. They lay their eggs on plants and their larvae eat the leaves, they make holes that still have some plant tissue intact so the damage looks transparent. First, try to be absolutely sure that no source of food, such as pet food, compost or garbage is accessible to raccoons in your neighborhood. 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