In The Garden: Plant detective

"Usually in the middle of summer, petunias and geraniums will start to show potential signs of bud worm or cucumber beetle chewing them."

Posted: Jun 14, 2018 8:11 AM
Updated: Jun 14, 2018 2:29 PM

EUGENE, Ore -- If your flowers are stunted or you see holes on plant leaves, it could be signs of trouble -- worms and beetles.

Caleb Johnson, owner of Johnson Brothers Garden Market, says problems typically start to show up in the summer.

"Usually in the middle of summer, petunias and geraniums will start to show potential signs of bud worm or cucumber beetle chewing them. So, you got to play a little detective work and see what's going on because they are easy to stop and you can get your buds to look good for the rest of summer, and into fall, if you get rid of them when you start to see signs," said Johnson.

One sign to look for is bud worm larva. Bud worms often lay larvae in buds and eat the flowers.

"If you start to see less and less flowers on your petunias and geraniums, even though you are watering and fertilizing, you know you possibly have a bud worm problem. They will also leave their droppings -- little black dots all over the leaves. If you see that, you know  you've got it," added Johnson.

Other insects to look out for are cucumber beetles that chew holes in leaves and flowers.

Johnson says there are a couple of insecticides that are effective in stopping bud worms and cucumber beetles.

"Spinosad, which is an organic, and pyrethrin, which you can find in an organic form as well, both work fast and effectively on caterpillars and beetles," said Johnson.

Johnson Brothers Garden Market is located at 91444 Coburg Road in Eugene.

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