Thread: Insects
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Old 2020-09-10, 00:49   #30
Dr Sardonicus
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Feb 2017

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Originally Posted by richs View Post
Whatever is eating the flat-leafed parsley doesn't touch the curly-leafed variety.

And the aphids are white. I have two videos of the ladybugs chowing down.
I don't know how big your herb pot is. If it's large enough, you can try to eliminate any slugs or snails by burying a shallow container so its top is level with the soil's surface, then filling it with beer. The snails will crawl in and die a happy death. The presence of slugs is often indicated by slime trails.

I'm not sure how to account for the preferential damage to one type of parsley. One possibility is (assuming the problem is caterpillars) the adult insect was better able to lay eggs on the flat leaves than the curly leaves. It could also be pure happenstance -- I don't know how many parsley plants you've got, or how they are situated.

Besides Black Swallowtails, another type of caterpillar that might be responsible is cutworms. They are the larvae of moths that are often light brown and maybe an inch long. A typical variety is "miller moths" that can become a nuisance in houses when they're flying through an area. Cutworms will bite small enough stems off at the ground. They generally feed at night. By day, they hide under leaf litter, or, (if they're in a potted plant and the pot is in a saucer), they might crawl under the pot and be hiding in the saucer. One Spring many years ago, my older sister complained that the plants she was starting from seeds were disappearing! She had them growing in vermiculite, in those rectangles of little square plastic "pots," which were sitting in flats. I went to investigate when she was out. I lifted a container out of the flat, and saw -- cutworms! I removed them and left them in a small container of rubbing alcohol with a note to the effect "I think I found your problem" and where to look for any I might have missed. The seedlings stopped disappearing.

White aphids, huh? Oh, joy, another kind of aphid. The only aphids I'm familiar with that truly look white are wooly aphids, and I don't think you've got those. Some pale-green aphids leave white skin husks when they molt.

In any case, mixing a little bit of soap (or an even smaller amount of dishwashing liquid) with water in a spray bottle makes an effective insecticide. The soapy water clogs the breathing tubes on their abdomens, and they drown. There will, however, likely be survivors. And an established population of aphids reproduces by "parthenogenesis" -- they breed like bacteria, and their numbers explode.
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