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Let's talk cutworms. Talk what! It's that time of year.

Posted Thursday, March 5, 2009, at 8:46 PM

Cute and cuddly, aarrgh!
Many of us will be planting soon and I can't think of a bigger letdown than coming out in the morning to see many of my healthy seedlings cut off at ground level. They add insult to injury by not even eating most of the plant. They just eat around the stem and crawl away. The buggers!

I know many of the solutions such as collars of all sorts, Bacillus Thuringiensis (BT) on and around the plant, parasitic nematodes, light tilling, etc. but does anyone have something else that works?

Cutworms, vine borers and squash bugs are on the top of my list for being a pain in the .... garden. Aphids and flea beetles follow those up closely, so if you have some organic solutions to any of these, I would love to read them.

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My first cutworm yesterday!! How wonderful. Two plants I don't have to worry about growing and one less cutworm.

Don't know what it means,if anything, but the plants that were eaten were in soft, small grain soil.

-- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Mar 11, 2009, at 9:29 AM

I had big black ants around my foundation of my house and they would create these use hugh dirt mounds so I poured boiling water on them, it took doing it several times over a 3 day period of time, but it killed them without hurting any of my flowers. I will have to try the cornmeal and grits this year.

-- Posted by bellbuckletn on Tue, Mar 10, 2009, at 8:28 AM

From what I have read, they swell and it constipates their plumbing. That is why espoontoon mentioned the water source nearby.

-- Posted by stevemills on Sat, Mar 7, 2009, at 7:23 AM

What does the cornmeal and grits do? I sounds like a very inexpensive idea.

-- Posted by Sharon22 on Fri, Mar 6, 2009, at 11:17 PM

Hey, I've heard of that book before! I forgot about cornmeal. I'll give it a try!

See you tomorrow?

-- Posted by stevemills on Fri, Mar 6, 2009, at 8:48 PM

If you want to kill them, sprinkle some cornmeal around your plants. They'll eat it and founder.

Same thing with the ants, except substitute with instant grits. Sprinkle on the ant hill and make sure there is a source of water nearby.

So sayeth the Critter Ridder!

-- Posted by espoontoon on Fri, Mar 6, 2009, at 8:18 PM

Lesa, does this kill them or chase them away. Of course, as long as they are gone it doesn't matter much, but just curious.

-- Posted by stevemills on Fri, Mar 6, 2009, at 2:22 PM

I use a natrual product called Dr. Bronner's Hemp Castile Peppermint soap that i spray slightly dilluted on my roses for those cursed Aphids. I don't know if it works for these other yukky bugs or not.



-- Posted by 4fabfelines on Fri, Mar 6, 2009, at 11:56 AM

I would be extremely interested in hearing your personal thoughts on both products. I presume the wax helps hold the hot pepper on the plant. Do you know if it helps in other ways? I have seen a wax used to help reduce a plant's loss of moisture through its leaves during dry periods. http://www.uwsp.edu/geo/faculty/ritter/g...

I have never seen a real good fire ant control. I will look at the site and products some more during a break. http://www.cleanairgardening.com/

Does anyone know what the cutworm survives on if it does not have our tender plants to feed on? I know some go for grass, but why do they zero in on our other plants, if grass is their preference?

Does the moth lay eggs in the soil or on the plant, or both?

Does it prefer our gardens because of soft tilled dirt? Maybe there is something here to research. Will a particular mulch discourage the moth from laying?

-- Posted by stevemills on Fri, Mar 6, 2009, at 9:30 AM

I found a site called Clean Air Gardening and they have a spray called Hot Pepper Wax, and insects and animals don't like it. I have ordered some to try and we also had a big problem with fire ants last year and I'm going to try the Fire Ant Control.

-- Posted by bellbuckletn on Fri, Mar 6, 2009, at 9:03 AM

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Steve Mills and his wife have one daughter. They previously owned two coffee/ice cream shops, currently operate an internet sales company and teach classes, but his primary job involves the paper industry worldwide. Hobbies and interests lie in gardening, photography, recorded music and of course, their pets.