Florida Gardening forum: Can you help me identify what is eating my plant?

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Name: Ive
Florida (Zone 10b)
Butterflies Container Gardener Region: Florida Enjoys or suffers hot summers Sempervivums Orchids
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MamaIve12
Jul 19, 2012 8:20 AM CST
I'm scratching my head as to what is eating my dwarf bugainvillea and what are those brown pellet-like things on it.

Thumb of 2012-07-19/MamaIve12/057ed6

I try not to spray chemicals on the plants, I just spray the organic stuff when necessary. I know that insects need to eat something. As long as it is not extensive damage, I let things be. However, what I initially thought were insect droppings, appear to be all over the plant.

You can see in the picture that leaves have been munched.

What the heck is that?! I can't see any insects except tiny spiders, and the damage seems to be from a caterpillar of some sort.

Can you help me identify what's colonized this plant, and if there is any hope to save it?

Gardening is cheaper than therapy!
Boricua in Florida, I guess that makes me a Floridicua!
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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plantladylin
Jul 19, 2012 9:24 AM CST
Your photo isn't enlarging to give a good view of the damaged leaves but I think the culprit might be the Bougainvillea Looper Caterpillar:

http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/GARDEN/PLANTS/INVERT/bougainl...

http://acwm.co.la.ca.us/pdf/BougLooper.pdf

~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Ive
Florida (Zone 10b)
Butterflies Container Gardener Region: Florida Enjoys or suffers hot summers Sempervivums Orchids
Plumerias Dragonflies Birds
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MamaIve12
Jul 19, 2012 10:52 AM CST
Thanks. I'll look into it.

Just in case, here is a bigger pic...

Thumb of 2012-07-19/MamaIve12/f2019e

Those brown pellet things look scary, and are all over... Sad
Gardening is cheaper than therapy!
Boricua in Florida, I guess that makes me a Floridicua!
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
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purpleinopp
Jul 19, 2012 12:17 PM CST
That's caterpillar poo. There should be a big muncher somewhere. Look under the leaves.
๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‚ - SMILE! -โ˜บ๐Ÿ˜Žโ˜ปโ˜ฎ๐Ÿ‘ŒโœŒโˆžโ˜ฏ๐Ÿฃ๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿพ
๐Ÿ€๐Ÿ‘’โ˜€๐Ÿ„๐Ÿ๐ŸŒฑ๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒด๐ŸŽ„๐Ÿ‘ฃ๐ŸŒต๐ŸŒทโš˜๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒฝ๐Ÿก๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿโฆโง ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒบ๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒผ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒณ๐ŸŒฒ
โ˜•๐Ÿ‘“ The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: Ive
Florida (Zone 10b)
Butterflies Container Gardener Region: Florida Enjoys or suffers hot summers Sempervivums Orchids
Plumerias Dragonflies Birds
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MamaIve12
Jul 19, 2012 12:30 PM CST
Goodness gracious, that's a LOT of caterpillar poo! Hilarious!

It's literally all over my poor plant. Ok, at least I know that gazillions of critters are going to emerge from these pellets and kill it.

Thanks all for your help.
Gardening is cheaper than therapy!
Boricua in Florida, I guess that makes me a Floridicua!
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
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dyzzypyxxy
Jul 19, 2012 2:34 PM CST
[quote="MamaIve12" I know that gazillions of critters are going to emerge from these pellets and kill it. . [/quote]

Wait, I think you misunderstood. The pellets will not produce any new critters, I don't think. They are waste material, not eggs.

I think you're going to have to try scouting your bougie after dark, maybe. Use a flashlight to see if you can find the caterpillars. Wear your gloves, pick them off and stomp them. That's the most environmentally sound method, if there aren't too many. Otherwise, you might try some Bt sprayed on the leaves. It's not harmful to other insects, just targets whatever eats the leaves.

Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." โ€“Winston Churchill
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
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plantladylin
Jul 19, 2012 2:57 PM CST
Now that I can see the enlarged photo, I agree with Elaine, those little black droppings are caterpillar waste (poop)! Green Grin! Army worms leave droppings like that also but I don't think Army Worms bother Bougainvillea plants.

You may have one or more caterpillar's hiding underneath the leaves ... hopefully you can eradicate them so they don't continue to dine on your Bougainvillea.
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Ive
Florida (Zone 10b)
Butterflies Container Gardener Region: Florida Enjoys or suffers hot summers Sempervivums Orchids
Plumerias Dragonflies Birds
Image
MamaIve12
Jul 19, 2012 3:00 PM CST
No, no, no, I got it! Hilarious!

What I meant was *this morning* that's was my impression when I inspected the plant.
Gardening is cheaper than therapy!
Boricua in Florida, I guess that makes me a Floridicua!
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
Bulbs Foliage Fan Tropicals Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents
Image
purpleinopp
Jul 20, 2012 2:25 PM CST
You might want to ID them before killing them or doing anything. Giant swallowtail is a butterfly who uses Bougainvillea for a host in the caterpillar stage. Also found many other butterflies that use Bougainvillea as a host plant

http://miamiblue.org/sources.htm

๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‚ - SMILE! -โ˜บ๐Ÿ˜Žโ˜ปโ˜ฎ๐Ÿ‘ŒโœŒโˆžโ˜ฏ๐Ÿฃ๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿพ
๐Ÿ€๐Ÿ‘’โ˜€๐Ÿ„๐Ÿ๐ŸŒฑ๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒด๐ŸŽ„๐Ÿ‘ฃ๐ŸŒต๐ŸŒทโš˜๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒฝ๐Ÿก๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿโฆโง ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒบ๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒผ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒณ๐ŸŒฒ
โ˜•๐Ÿ‘“ The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: Beau Boatwright
Orlando FL. (Zone 9b)
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Boatwright
Oct 12, 2016 9:07 AM CST
See small bite marks, then leaves turn DK.Brown, then Black.
Images inclosed.
Thumb of 2016-10-12/Boatwright/cd60d5
Thumb of 2016-10-12/Boatwright/df70f5
Thumb of 2016-10-12/Boatwright/7d522a
Thumb of 2016-10-12/Boatwright/a89e4c

Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Oct 12, 2016 11:42 AM CST
Hmm, it may or may not be the same thing on both plants but on the tree, I'd look on the undersides of the leaves for Sri Lanka weevils. They are white or very light grey bugs about 1/4in. long sometimes with spots. When you disturb them they can fly but not very well.

If you can put a dark colored tarp or even a black garbage bag down on the ground under the tree and shake a branch above it, they will fall onto the bag/tarp.

If that's what you find, they are extremely resistant to most kinds of insecticides and the best defense is to disrupt their life cycle by simply shaking them off the tree onto the ground and stomping on them. Or, I entertained myself one summer by going outside at night with a flashlight, and picking them off the plants by hand. I'd find 20 or so each night, and it only took me a few weeks to pretty much eliminate them.

They mate on the plant that they are feeding on, then drop to the ground, and lay their eggs in the soil, so if you can catch them either on the plant or on the ground before they disappear that's the way to deal with them.

Found a picture of one for you:
Thumb of 2016-10-12/dyzzypyxxy/571fc4

Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." โ€“Winston Churchill

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