bunny garden murderers - need help!

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Jennifer
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^ this is the "face" of pure EVIL!!

my raddicio plants got demolished pretty much overnight, my fennel is missing all the leaves and my mint is missing most of them!



anyone know what I can do to keep those darn things from eating up my plants if I replant stuff?
 

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Jennifer
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I don't have any windows that get good sun >< (plus I think the planters are too wide for my windowsills)

I was originally going to keep them in my dining room with grow lights, but that's now my sugar glider/overflow hamster room.
 

whitelop

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Diatomaceous earth. You can get it at a feed store or tractor supply or some place like that.
It cracks the skin open on the bugs and gets into the inside and dries the bug out from the inside.
I use it on all my outdoor plants, flowers, chickens, and chicken coop. I also sprinkle it around the base of the house.
Its totally safe for animals. Its a mineral.
 

BugLady

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Caterpillars are tough to stop. You should pick them off by hand as soon as you see them (I bet the sugar gliders would love them!).

They generally don't wander too far, and many species stay on the plant the eggs are laid on. So check the leaves carefully for eggs and remove them. Also keep your plants away from others they could easily travel to/from. Some species are specialists, but some are generalists. The ones you've got are geometrids, though they're too blurry to tell the species.

You might also want to put fine mesh over the plants so that moths/butterflies cannot lay their eggs on the plants. Will probably be your best bet, if you have them in a container.
(I'm studying caterpillars for my PhD)
Good luck!
 

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Jennifer
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suggies can't have 'em 'cause they've been outside and could've been exposed to or eaten bad stuff like pesticides (probably not, since they've probably been on my lawn their whole lives, but better safe than sorry) :(

I suspect I'm far too lazy to check the plants for eggs/caterpillars on a daily basis (I have enough trouble remembering to water them!), but I could give DE a try. out of curiosity, does that stuff expire? I think I might still have some from when the pool filter used it, but it would be around 7 years old. also, how do you get it to stick to the plant? do you just dust it or what?
 

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Morgan
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I don't know if the DE expires or not. I'm going to say that as long as its not wet then it should be fine. I've had an open half bag in my shed for over a year and I still use it occasionally if its closer to me, lol. If you do have to get more, I would get a storage container to put it in so it doesn't get wet or anything. Not like you have to worry about bugs getting into it! lmao
What I usually do is; check the weather forecast to make sure its not going to rain for a few days, then I dust the entire plant with the DE. If it does rain then just re-dust. I usually dust during the spring, summer and beginning of fall every two weeks or so. I just put it in a plastic cup and walk around with it. One solo up will cover, pretty much every fruit bearing or flowering plant I have.
Like I said, its completely safe for animals; so if you were to track it in it would be okay. I dust my actual chickens and their whole coop/house.
 

LakeCondo

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You really should use food-grade d e, not the pool stuff, just so it won't affect any harmless wildlife.

I'm surprised your fennel was bothered. I've had some for over 10 years & nothing bothers it.
 

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Jennifer
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lucky me, lol.

didn't realize there was a difference in types of DE... feed stores, eh? why couldn't the darn caterpillars have eaten my plants a couple weeks ago? feed store's like 20-25 mins one way and I've been there twice in the last month.
 

Tam O Ham

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I find that X plus water sprayed on my plants seems to work but I have to experiment to find out which X to use. For my grape plants it was vinegar and water, for my lime tree it was dish soap and water and for some of my other plants it's been hot sauce and water. Different pests bothered by different things. Only thing is you have to respray every day or so is you're in an area where the dew or rain would wash it off. I usually gets my pests in waves though so I can spray for about a week and then ignore things for a month or more until I notice the pests are nibbling again. (Also have to remember to wash the leaves off before my bunny gets to eat them but I always wash them with vinegar anyway since you never know what's getting on them outside anyway).
 

ladysown

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you can use soapy water. you can pick them off. you can use DE (food-grade). you can use a commercial pesticide.

Caterpillars are easy. They generally require you go out every day (or possibly every other day) for about 2 weeks and then they are gone. Just a matter of getting them when the bugs are procreating.
 

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Jennifer
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they ated my basil plants, even though they're inside and I've looked a bit for the culprits!! all I have left is sage and orange mint *cry*

I think I might have to take some time to mourn the loss of the garden I spent MONTHS growing against all odds (ie my tendency to neglect anything that doesn't have a face) and then start again from scratch. I'm debating whether the sage and orange mint might be "rejects" that won't get eaten or if I should let the bunnies eat the whole things.
 

BugLady

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I still think creating a sort of dome of netting above them (maybe with NIC panels and mesh around it) would be the most helpful to prevent caterpillars from establishing. My parents would do that for some of the plants in our garden.

And aside from that, just pick them off. The worst they can do is thrash around or regurgitate on you :p
 
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I use soapy water to kill off mites that appear on my INDOOR plants :( It does take persistence though, because if you don't keep after them they take over. Hopefully one of the DIY spray remedies will help...just make sure to spray those buggers often :p (I learned my lesson when I lost my sugar snap pea plants to mites)
 

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