The Q&A Archives: invisible bugs

Question: I have several acres of garden. My biggest problem is the holes in my plants. The hosta, dahlia's etc. are being eaten alive. I can't see any bugs except some beetles that I pick off when I see them. I have tried insecticides but still my garden looks eaten. I know it's to late probably for this year but what can I do for next year to keep my plants from being eaten up by

Answer: If you can't see the pests actually feeding on the leaves you may be dealing with slugs/snails or earwigs. They all feed at night. The iron based Sluggo snail and slug bait works very well against slugs and snails. Earwigs are a different matter. They hid in plant debris and even in the plants during the day. I control them in my garden by rolling up sheets of newspaper and setting them in the garden in the late afternoon. Earwigs will crawl in overnight. You can then fold over the open sides of the newspaper tube and toss it in the trash. I do this every morning and replace the traps every evening. Eventually you'll capture all of the earwigs.

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