The Q&A Archives: Goldstrum Black Eyed Susans Eaten Up By Mystery Bug

Question: Every summer, my Black-Eyed Susans start off healthy, but by mid-summer, the blooms and foliage start being eaten up by some bug which I cannot see on the plants. Could it be crickets? Do you have any suggestions for keeping this from happening? Thanks so much.

Answer: This plant is not typically bothered by pests, so it is a bit difficult to make a recommendation. Since you are not seeing the muncher, it might be a nocturnal pest such as earwigs, slugs, or a weevil of some kind. (Slugs would however leave a trail of slime, so you would see that in the morning.) You might try checking at night with a flashlight and see if you can find anything. Once you know the pest, it is easier to control it. In the meantime, you might try using a spray containing neem oil since that seems to have repellent qualities. Also, clean up thoroughly around the plants this spring to try to dislodge the pest should it overwinter there. Finally, you might check with neighbors and your county extension to see if they have had any experience with similar damage and know what is causing it. Good luck!

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