Getting rid of pest - Knowledgebase Question

Savannah, Ge
Question by copelanddebo
October 21, 2009
I've tried Ortho Max, beer, egg shells etc. and I still find holes eaten into the leaves of my collard greens. The area is currently not mulched. I also used slug bait once but at the time the garden was mulched an I had minimal success with that. I try to keep the area free of weeds but there are some on the other side of my fence from my neighbors yard. Help!!


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Answer from NGA
October 21, 2009

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Caterpillars, slugs and sometimes even earwigs will feast on the leaves of collard greens. The caterpillars that like collards are small and green (the color of the leaves) so they may be difficult to see. But check your plants thoroughly for them and look also for frass (bug poop that looks like little black pellets). If you find frass, the culprits are caterpillars and you can control them with a product called Bt (bacillus thuringensis), sold as Dipel or Thuricide. It targets only caterpillars. If you find no signs of caterpillars, slugs might be feeding at night. Look for shiny slime trails on the leaves. If you find them, iron based products such as Sluggo are safe to use in the garden. Earwigs can feed on the leaves at night. They hide in dark, damp places such as mulch, plant debris, or even in the cracks and crevices of flowers and leaves during the day. You can set traps by rolling up a sheet of newspaper, getting it damp and then laying it in the garden in the evening. If earwigs (or sow bugs) are in the garden they will crawl into the newspaper roll at night. You can fold up the ends of the roll the next morning and toss it in the garbage - or in your compost pile where they will do the most good. Replace the traps each evening until no more pests appear in the traps. Good luck with your collard greens!

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