hollyhock leaf eater - Knowledgebase Question

Santa Fe, Ne
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Question by mha6445010
June 2, 2010
I have several hollyhocks that will bloom the first time this year. However, something is eating the leaves although the buds still look OK. I've checked them carefully several times and have never seen anything on them, but some THING is definitely having a feast! What could it be and what safe product might I use? I have a dog and I do not use any kind of poison chemical herbicides in my yar

Answer from NGA
June 2, 2010
A number of different beetles will "skeletonize" hollyhock leaves--they chew away the soft parts of the leaves, leaving behind the veins and creating a lacy look. Japanese beetles and rose chafers are two common pests, another group of pests are moth larvae; have you seen any small caterpillars on the backs of the leaves? You might try a neem-based repellent, such as Neem-Away or, if you find that caterpillars are the culprits, then the biological control B.t. (sold as Dipel or Thuricide. Both of these are considered organic controls.

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