Ask a Question forum: What is eating my columbine?

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Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
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jvdubb
May 18, 2015 11:10 AM CST
Help, they are making quick sticks of my columbine. But I don't want to kill them if they are a butterfly

Thumb of 2015-05-18/jvdubb/302f5d
Thumb of 2015-05-18/jvdubb/9970ae


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Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
Cottage Gardener Houseplants Spiders! Heucheras Frogs and Toads Dahlias
Hummingbirder Sedums Winter Sowing Peonies Region: Michigan Garden Ideas: Level 2
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jvdubb
May 18, 2015 11:12 AM CST
@mellielong do you know what these little caterpillars are?
Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
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mellielong
May 18, 2015 11:33 AM CST
No.
Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
[Last edited by mellielong - May 18, 2015 11:22 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #856317 (3)
Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
Cottage Gardener Houseplants Spiders! Heucheras Frogs and Toads Dahlias
Hummingbirder Sedums Winter Sowing Peonies Region: Michigan Garden Ideas: Level 2
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jvdubb
May 18, 2015 12:02 PM CST
Thank you. But I'm in Michigan
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
May 18, 2015 12:30 PM CST
Perhaps most likely columbine sawfly.

Editing to add links (couldn't do it from iPad):
http://www.ppdl.purdue.edu/ppdl/weeklypics/weekly_picture5-6...
http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/insects/find/be-on-the-w...
http://bugguide.net/node/view/882202
[Last edited by sooby - May 18, 2015 12:44 PM (+)]
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Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
May 18, 2015 12:39 PM CST
Compare your caterpillars to duskywing & spring azure butterfly caterpillars. I can't see them well. Those are the 2 kinds of butterflies I could find that would use Aquilegia (Columbine) as host plant.

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: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
I'm always on my way out the door..
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chelle
May 18, 2015 1:07 PM CST
Thanks Tiffany, I'd been wondering as well. We have lots of Azure butterflies here, so I'm betting on that one. I just pulled my "sticks with flowers" out of the highly visible areas yesterday, and replanted them in the infirmary area. Sticking tongue out
They didn't eat up every plant, but the ones they chose were picked pretty clean.
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Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
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Shadegardener
May 18, 2015 1:21 PM CST
Have you checked for sawfly larva? These little flies lay eggs early on my Northern Lights azaleas and hatch in about a week. They start out very tiny but can do significant damage because there are so many of them. Nearby columbine can be affected as well.
Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
Cottage Gardener Houseplants Spiders! Heucheras Frogs and Toads Dahlias
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jvdubb
May 18, 2015 1:25 PM CST
It is columbine sawfly. And I do find all my columbine out front affected. I sprayed some Sevin on the really bad one. But I well get some insecticidal soap later and use on the rest. Thank you all for your quick help
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
I'm always on my way out the door..
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Dog Lover Cottage Gardener
Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Keeps Horses Hummingbirder Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
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chelle
May 18, 2015 3:11 PM CST
Ack! I finally located an image of the adults, and I did see them in and around the worst-hit area last month. Too bad; I like those wee blue butterflies and wouldn't have minded the loss as much if it were them.
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
May 18, 2015 6:51 PM CST
Ugh! I'm glad it isn't the little azure butterflies, and glad to have this knowledge -- now I just hope I don't need to use it! So far the worst thing I've had on the columbine is leaf miners...

(Jennifer, you're near the west coast of L. Huron... Hilarious! )
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Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
May 18, 2015 7:11 PM CST
Jennifer, if you haven't already bought the insecticidal soap, a better solution might be some Bt - Thuricide is the brand name that comes to mind.

It's a naturally occurring bacterium that makes caterpillars get sick and die, but doesn't kill off every other bug it hits. Just the caterpillars that ingest it.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." โ€“Winston Churchill
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
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Weedwhacker
May 18, 2015 7:31 PM CST
Good advice, Elaine -- and that reminds me, must go buy some myself (saw my first cabbage butterfly today)!
"Blessed is he who has learned to laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be entertained."
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Name: Sequoia
Oakland, California (Zone 9b)
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sequoia
May 18, 2015 7:32 PM CST
Look for what looks like black pepper on the leaves or the ground around the plant..this is caterpillar poop and the best treatment is B.T............. if you want...
I want butterflies so no B. T for me.
Sequoia
Sequoia In California
Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
Cottage Gardener Houseplants Spiders! Heucheras Frogs and Toads Dahlias
Hummingbirder Sedums Winter Sowing Peonies Region: Michigan Garden Ideas: Level 2
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jvdubb
May 18, 2015 7:39 PM CST
I just went around and hand picked the little buggers. Hopefully that will help enough for the plants to survive
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Birds Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover
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Weedwhacker
May 18, 2015 7:40 PM CST
It sure can't hurt, Jennifer! Thumbs up
"Blessed is he who has learned to laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be entertained."
- John Powell / Cubits.org - A Universe of Communities
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Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
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mellielong
May 18, 2015 11:25 PM CST
FYI, we have an insect ID forum for questions like this. I'd also appreciate if people stopped tagging me every time they see what they think is a caterpillar.
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
May 19, 2015 2:28 AM CST
dyzzypyxxy said:Jennifer, if you haven't already bought the insecticidal soap, a better solution might be some Bt - Thuricide is the brand name that comes to mind.

It's a naturally occurring bacterium that makes caterpillars get sick and die, but doesn't kill off every other bug it hits. Just the caterpillars that ingest it.


Bear in mind that these are sawfly larvae not caterpillars, although they resemble cats (distinguished by number of prolegs etc.) so Bt won't work.

Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
Cottage Gardener Houseplants Spiders! Heucheras Frogs and Toads Dahlias
Hummingbirder Sedums Winter Sowing Peonies Region: Michigan Garden Ideas: Level 2
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jvdubb
May 19, 2015 5:09 AM CST
Sorry Melanie! I just know you are passionate about butterflies. I didn't mean to bother you
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
May 19, 2015 7:26 AM CST
That's interesting, Sue. Thanks. I thought that anything that ate the leaves with the Bt on them would be affected.

@sequoia Appreciate your point of view there, but I'm sure none of us indiscriminately spray Bt all over our yards. I have many butterflies in my yard, yet I do use Bt selectively on plants that are affected by certain caterpillar pests. No butterfly host plants are ever treated.

This one posed for me just yesterday:
Thumb of 2015-05-19/dyzzypyxxy/0cf10e

Elaine

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

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