The Q&A Archives: geranium bud worms OPEN OPEN

Question: How do you get PERMANENTLY rid of geranium bud worms and still keep/winter the plants. Two summers ago I purchased some geraniums that must have been infected and then infected all of my 30+ pots. Some of my plants are 10 years old and I don't want to have to destroy plants and soil. At this point I seem to be able to control them but continue to have to spray several time a year when I see the first signs of bud worm. I use Ortho Isotox but really prefer to avoid using such chemicals. Seems when I spray my carts of plants in early spring when I begin taking them out of the garage, birds disappear from the yard for a while and I worry about effects on me with repeated spraying.

Answer: Budworm is difficult to control because they are hidden inside the bud and this protects them from sprays. They do overwinter in the soil. Sometimes you can find them early or late in the day as they crawl and hand pick them off, sometimes spraying with Bt will help. You might consider barerooting your plants and replanting them in fresh soil next year, this would at least save the plants. You may also want to discuss control recommendations with your local county extension, they will have the most up to date recommendations for what to use and how/when is best to apply it. Good luck, I know this is a tough one.

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