Petunias - Knowledgebase Question

Salt Lake, Ut
Question by retadiane
February 25, 2010
My petunias always start out great, then mid to late summer they get sticky, and infested with tiny flying bugs. Tiny green worms appear on half-eaten flowers. How can I prevent all this?


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Answer from NGA
February 25, 2010

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The tiny flying bugs could be aphids or maybe whiteflies. When they feed they exude a sticky substance called honeydew. To deter them, hose your plants off with plain water, or use an Insecticidal Soap to kill them. The worms are bud worms and they are difficult to control. Adult fly-like insects lay eggs inside the unopened flower buds. The worms feed on the immature petals and then make an exit hole. There's not much you can do about the adults because they fly away after laying the eggs, but you can control the worms with the botanical Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis). It works against caterpillars without harming other insects. Look for Bt (sold under the name Dipel) in your favorite garden center. Apply according to label directions.

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