Irises forum: Active Iris Borers - Help Please!

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Name: Casey
North Carolina (Zone 7b)
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greenappleagnes
Aug 29, 2018 9:06 AM CST
Hi! I'm a newbie and have a question about iris borers. My apologies if this has been addressed in a previous string!

What is the best way to treat them if they are just emerging? The are pretty small at this point, about 1/8". I've started cutting away all the mush and dipping the rhizomes in a 10% bleach solution. And I'm thinking it would be best to let them air out for a few days. But not sure how to treat the soil. (with Bayer Grub Control? Is it too late/early?) They're currently in containers. Lots and lots of containers!

I'm including a pic, in case it helps. (It's a little dark. Let me know if a better pic would help.)

Thank you so much!!

Thumb of 2018-08-29/greenappleagnes/1cef0d

[Last edited by greenappleagnes - Aug 29, 2018 9:29 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1803464 (1)
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Irises Vegetable Grower Butterflies Region: Wisconsin Keeps Horses Cat Lover
Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Daylilies Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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tveguy3
Aug 29, 2018 10:09 AM CST
It would have been better to treat for borers in the early spring before they had damaged your rhizomes, but I would treat them now anyway to try to kill them before they turn into moths and do more damage to future crops. What you are doing with the ones you dug up is fine, let the wounds dry a few days and scar over before you replant them. Good luck!
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
Name: Casey
North Carolina (Zone 7b)
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greenappleagnes
Aug 29, 2018 10:25 AM CST
Thank you so much!!! I'll proceed with cleaning up this batch and definitely treat next spring.

And keep the incoming irises far, far away. Smiling
Name: Pam
Pennsylvania
Irises Keeps Horses Cat Lover Dog Lover Region: Pennsylvania
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Snork
Aug 29, 2018 1:52 PM CST
You can also hang up a bug zapper to kill any emerged moths that might be flying around at night. Hopefully this will limit the number of new eggs that get laid this fall.
Name: Casey
North Carolina (Zone 7b)
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greenappleagnes
Aug 29, 2018 2:48 PM CST
Thank you Pam! I was wondering if it was worth adding a zapper. I'll pick one up tonight when I get the grub control.
Name: daphne
san diego county, ca (Zone 10a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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shizen
Aug 29, 2018 4:15 PM CST
Welcome! greenappleagnes. this is a great place to learn, drool and get a lot of information and knowledge from the folks on this forum.

sorry, can't help, i live west of the rockies. fortunately we don't have those little bug(gars)😬.

Name: Richard
Joshua Tree (Zone 9a)
Birds Irises Ponds Orchids
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creativeclover
Aug 29, 2018 5:32 PM CST
Daphne,
That's one of the few things we don't have to worry about.
Name: Marilyn, aka "Poly"
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
Region: California Garden Photography Garden Procrastinator Daylilies Pollen collector Dog Lover
Moon Gardener Irises Heucheras Vegetable Grower Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Polymerous
Aug 30, 2018 1:19 AM CST
Thank God for that!

(Welcome, greenappleagnes! Good luck with the borers!)
A 'Premonition of Spring' - PCI time already?!
Name: Evelyn
Northern CA Sierra foothills - (Zone 8a)
Region: United States of America Region: California Annuals Bulbs Butterflies Cat Lover
Foliage Fan Irises Organic Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
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evelyninthegarden
Aug 30, 2018 10:11 AM CST
Polymerous said:Thank God for that! (Welcome, greenappleagnes! Good luck with the borers!)


I agree Welcome! Agnes! Hurray!


“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold, when it is summer in the light and winter in the shade.” ~Charles Dickens
Name: Casey
North Carolina (Zone 7b)
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greenappleagnes
Aug 30, 2018 8:37 PM CST
Thanks everyone for the warm welcome! If I follow everyone's advice hopefully I can cut back the numbers.

I do have a few more questions. Maybe this will help others too.

Has anyone tried using nematodes to control borers? I found this article and it looked promising:
Historic Iris Preservation Society - Victory at Last? A Powerful New Weapon Against Iris Borers

(Sorry! Tried to link to the article, but couldn't since I'm a newbie.)

Also, we're planning to move to our property in a year or so. I'll definitely clean the irises with bleach before moving, but should I also treat the new ground too? It was a family farm. Currently horses on the property and all sorts of wildlife, but don't think there has been a garden there for a long time. Not planning to do much to the iris beds, just cover crops and maybe some pea gravel to break up the Carolina clay (I'm in North Carolina).

I have a lot of irises to move! I was good last year and only ordered a few, but this year I went a little overboard and added over 200. Ah, the heart wants what the heart wants. Smiling

Oh! And my name is Casey.

Name: Barbara
Northern CA (Zone 9a)
Region: California Cat Lover Irises Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover
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iciris
Aug 30, 2018 9:00 PM CST
Welcome! Casey,
Thumbs up if you added 200 irises this year, you'll fit right in here! Thumbs up Welcome! again!
Edit: changed last year to this year.
• “Whoever said, ‘Do something right and you won’t have to do it again’ never weeded a garden.” – Anonymous
[Last edited by iciris - Nov 5, 2018 9:47 AM (+)]
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Name: Marilyn, aka "Poly"
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
Region: California Garden Photography Garden Procrastinator Daylilies Pollen collector Dog Lover
Moon Gardener Irises Heucheras Vegetable Grower Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
Polymerous
Aug 30, 2018 10:53 PM CST
Oh good grief, yet another victim who got a bad case of the Iris Virus!

I hope you have the time, strength, and energy! Hilarious!
A 'Premonition of Spring' - PCI time already?!
Hackettstown, NJ
Gardengirlinpink
Aug 31, 2018 6:49 AM CST
Hi Greenappleagnes! I have had these pests too (not when I lived in Colorado though). You are doing the right thing to start. They are such a pain. I live near Presby Iris Gardens and they use nematode treatment in the spring. Go to their website: presbyirisgardens.org to learn how they treat them. I have started trying this method. It can take a bit to get it under control but you aren't using chemicals either.
Name: Arlyn
Whiteside County, Illinois (Zone 5a)
Irises Beekeeper Region: Illinois Celebrating Gardening: 2015
crowrita1
Aug 31, 2018 7:30 AM CST
Bore control can be quite a task, sometimes, and, can be quite expensive, too ! I have used Beneficial nematodes before, and couldn't afford it ! Sticking tongue out ! We did use them again, this season, as we found a place that is more economical:
https://biologicco.com/product...

A lot depends on "how many iris you grow", "how much time you have to invest", and, "how much money you want to spend", and , of course, if you are trying to be "organic". I have used both the nematodes, and bacillius thuricide (BT), in the beds bordering the veggie gardens and under the fruit trees (I will say that I have found "borers" in both these situations), and "chemical" control in the other beds (*Bayer long season grub Control...in the liquid form). The "regular "iris get two applications per season, and the rebloomers get one application. (in the last 4-5 years, I *think* I remember finding several cases of "borer sign", but no borers) The best thing that you can do for borers, IMHO, it to maintain clean beds, and, if possible in your area, to "burn over" the beds in the late fall.
Name: Jane H.
Kentucky (Zone 6b)
Irises Birds Region: United States of America Region: Kentucky Clematis
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janielouy
Aug 31, 2018 1:26 PM CST
The only thing you can do at this point is dig and smash. They are hard to smash too! When mine get to that point in the rhizome they are usually quite fat and juicy which makes it easier but more rot has set in. I use the Bayer Grub stuff (liquid and/or granules) in the early spring and another application when temps are 70 degrees two days in a row. That is when they are likely to hatch and more easily killed with chemicals and probably nemdatodes as well. They continue to hatch in batches as time goes on in the spring and summer.
I am unearthing my bug zapper from the attic and hope it still works. The UV light in my smaller ones will no longer work so hope my big one does. Someone posted about Dynatrap zappers but they are pricey even on Amazon.
Name: Casey
North Carolina (Zone 7b)
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greenappleagnes
Aug 31, 2018 4:10 PM CST
It took four full days but think all the irises that could be saved have been cleaned, treated with 10% bleach and are now drying. Whew!

Thanks vonandjim! Their website has lots of great info. I'm just a tad envious you live near them!

Jane, you are right - smashing them is hard! And the ones I'm finding are really small which doesn't make it any easier. I also tried the drown-in-bleach method, though not sure if bleach kills them.

Arlyn, if you asked my husband, he'd say too many! I don't have an exact number, but I'd guess I just went through and cleaned 300-400. Plus there are the 200+ I bought this year. For a few years, I thought I had rot. I had about 700 and the spring rains would come and start wiping them out. I removed the rot and treated with Comet and bleach. I moved them from one garden to another, thinking it was the soil. And then moved to chemicals. (Can't recall which one.) It took two years before I realized I had borers. Ugh! Think I was in denial.

I like the idea of using organic since I also have a veggie garden and a dog - and I really don't want to kill the butterflies, praying mantis, beneficial insects, toads and frogs, etc. - but I think it makes sense to go the Bayer Grub Control and bug zapper route now (thanks again Pam and Jane!!) and keep a close eye on them. I also want to try the BioLogic product too. (Thanks for the link and recommendation!) I definitely want to keep the property as organic as possible, for as long as I can, so I'll treat the new garden before I start moving things over. I haven't tried burning but have read articles online. That makes sense too.

Thank you again to everyone for all of your advice and encouragement!!!
Name: Richard
Joshua Tree (Zone 9a)
Birds Irises Ponds Orchids
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creativeclover
Aug 31, 2018 4:23 PM CST
The borers don't sound like fun to deal with at all. Im on your side to win.
Name: Barbara
Northern CA (Zone 9a)
Region: California Cat Lover Irises Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover
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iciris
Aug 31, 2018 6:58 PM CST
Casey, I love your puppy in your avatar! Lovey dubby one of our labs just turned 16 on the 28 of August!
• “Whoever said, ‘Do something right and you won’t have to do it again’ never weeded a garden.” – Anonymous
Name: Casey
North Carolina (Zone 7b)
Image
greenappleagnes
Aug 31, 2018 9:22 PM CST
16??? Wow! That's terrific Barbara! How many do you have? Please send a pic! I would love to see!!

Wren is my first puppy. She's almost 2 1/2 now, Super sweet and a lot of fun. Of course as I write this she's sighs and pushes me with her back feet. Apparently I am taking up too much room on the couch.

Here's a more recent pic...
Thumb of 2018-09-01/greenappleagnes/c7f803

Name: Barbara
Northern CA (Zone 9a)
Region: California Cat Lover Irises Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover
Image
iciris
Aug 31, 2018 9:30 PM CST
We have three labs. I'll have to find some pictures tomorrow.
• “Whoever said, ‘Do something right and you won’t have to do it again’ never weeded a garden.” – Anonymous

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