little red bugs - Knowledgebase Question

e providence, Rh
Question by rosie77a
June 30, 2010
they look almost like a ladybug but, without the black dots - they are eating my lily's flower and leaf also something is eating my sundrops and philox at the base sharp cuts at the ground level???

Answer from NGA
June 30, 2010


Perhaps you are seeing something like a tiny flea beetle? You can google that and compare. Or perhaps its a ladybug without spots or a pupal stage. Are you sure they are doing the damage, as opposed to eating something that is? Ladybugs are terrific predators of pests so you don't want to kill them by mistake. Monitor the damage. If it isn't too severe, and plants are healthy, they may simply outlast it. I always start with the simplest control method first, and if that isn't successful, move on from there. A strong blast of water from the hose often works. Spray underneath leaves, in between, etc. Do this daily if you notice pests.

For the flowers being cut off at the base, that sounds like cutworms, which come out at night. Where you see damage, dig around the plant base with your finger. Cutworms are often found in the top inch or two of soil. Pick them out and dispose of them. Try a "collar" around the plant stems to act as a barrier. Tear a strip of newspaper about 2" wide and a foot long. Wrap it around the stem of the plant placing the bottom end just below the soil surface. This will prevent cutworms from cutting off your tender plants. By the time the paper degrades away, the stems will be larger and stronger, and not subject to cutworm attack. You can try cardboard or paper towel rolls. Just take an empty paper towel or toilet paper roll and cut the cardboard into 3-inch long sections. Place it on the soil around the stem of your transplant, burying the cardboard about one inch into the soil. Another trick is to push a stick into the soil next to the stem of the plant, to keep the cutworms from curling around the stem and eating through it. Hope this info helps!

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