hibiscus - Knowledgebase Question

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fl
Question by L2WHOMEFRONT
September 29, 2009
GOOD AFTERNOON,

I DIDN'T SEE THE ANSWER TO MY QUESTION IN YOUR LIBRARY. WE JUST PURCHASE TWO HIBISCUS,ONE STEM, PLANTS FROM THE NURSERY THREE DAYS AGO AND TODAY I NOTICE THAT ALOT OF THE LEAVES HAS HOLES ON THEM. WHEN I CHECK THE PLANTS I DID NOT SEE ANY INSECTS, THE HOLES LOOKS LIKE CATERPILLAR SIZE HOLES. MY PLANTS ARE YELLOW HIBISCUS. PLEASE HELP, I DON'T WANT TO LOOSE THESE BEAUTIFUL PLANTS


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Answer from NGA
September 29, 2009

0

Caterpillars are often the same color as the stems and leaves of a plant which makes them difficult to find even if you look carefully. To help you determine whether or not caterpillars are the culprits, look for frass (bug poop) below the plants on the soil or on top of the leaves directly beneath the damaged leaves. The pellets are usually black or dark brown. If you can find no frass, the damage is probably not from caterpillars but could be damage from leaf cutter bees (if the holes are crescent shaped and along the margins of the leaves). One final thought - slugs and snails feed at night so you may see their damage but not necessarily the pests unless you go outside with a flashlight after dark and inspect the leaves of the plant. If none of this seems to fit the damage, I'm stumped and don't really know what to suggest to you. You can control caterpillars by handpicking or with applications of Bt (sold as Dipel or Thuricide); leaf cutter bee damage is something you should just accept - I wouldn't recommend trying to control them; slugs and snails can be controlled with baits such as Sluggo sprinkled beneath the plants. Best wishes with your new hibiscus plants!

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