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Old May 26, 2019   #1
b54red
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Default Almost pest free. For how long?

This has been an unusual spring here this year. We were late getting started due to some late cool weather and not long after planting the first summer crops in the ground the rain almost totally stopped. Along with extremely dry conditions we have also been having one of, if not the hottest May ever. With these dry conditions have come less pressure from the usual foliage diseases but best of all has been a real lack of the usual suspects other than one in the pest category. So far with twice daily inspections I have seen and disposed of one stinkbug, three leaf footed bugs and one squash bug. I did have to use some Sevin to get rid of thousands of those tiny foliage worms that showed up two days after our only good rain this spring. With days getting to or near 100 for the past few weeks and with fairly high humidity considering how dry it is I don't see how this can last.

I am about ready for a few days of rain even if I have to start spraying for pests and diseases because this constant watering with city water is really expensive and eventually the treated water will affect the plants negatively.

Bill
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Old May 26, 2019   #2
brooksville
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Spinosad killed all the small leaf worms. The ones we had were green with reddish Orange head. About 3/8 inch long. I killed 2 stink bugs, I’m really struggling with squash vine borer, almost to the point that I don’t want to grow squash anymore.

Having the best fruit set year ever tho. Been watering almost daily with well water. It keeps root zone nice and cool. Fertilizing weekly with TTF. Have 2 C Purples that have 18 set fruit a piece. Aunt Ruby’s, BPTD, Barred Boar,and MaqiQo are loaded too. I’ve been thinning trusses because I’m worried about the toms being to small. Goal is for 10-16 oz tomatoes. We also have had minimal disease. Saw some EB today one small streak on a cherry.

Hope this heat breaks soon, the 15 day forecast has 2 rain days at 40%.

Last edited by brooksville; May 26, 2019 at 02:27 PM.
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Old May 26, 2019   #3
Barb_FL
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I'm at the end of my season and I'm seeing more of the leaf footed bugs than I have in all the other years combined.

ETA - I had more caterpillars and tomato horn worms this year also.

I'm not good at catching them, and usually don't have my gloves on, but sometimes I get lucky and snip them in half or a leg which then really slows them down for the final slash.

Last year I saw beetles for the first time ever, but none this year.

Also the birds have not been too bad; Usually it is the bluejays and mockingbirds. I did leave a lot of decoys up since the hail in late March.

Also since the hail, the few new yellow sticky cards I put out got covered with love bugs, so I am seeing a few aphids per plant here and there.

I haven't bothered to spray since it is so late; blasting the plants with the flat cycle on the hose.

Most of my plants still look really good.

-----
Good luck with the remainder of your season. I hope you stay bug and disease free.
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Old May 26, 2019   #4
AlittleSalt
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Bill the complete opposite has happened here in this part of Texas. Today, May 26, is the first forecasted day of 90 degrees - that's almost unheard of here. It has been too wet with more rain in the forecast for Wednesday. However with exception of rosebushes getting black spot - I haven't seen any kind of fungal effects on the tomato and pepper plants. There has also been less bug damage than I expected. This is the year of spiders in my neck of the woods. They could be doing their job eating the insects. There have not been a lot of pollinators either which is not a good thing.

About leaffooted bugs, I have intentionally mowed around thistle plants. Leaffooted bugs love thistles - even more than tomatoes it seems. I haven't found anything that would suggest leaffooted damage on the thistle plants. I'm using the thistles as my early warning plants. I learned this a few years ago in the last in-ground garden I planted. The thistle plants were attacked by the leaffooted bugs before the tomatoes started ripening, and then they moved to the tomato garden - ruining it.
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Old May 26, 2019   #5
GoDawgs
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b54red View Post
This has been an unusual spring here this year. We were late getting started due to some late cool weather and not long after planting the first summer crops in the ground the rain almost totally stopped. Along with extremely dry conditions we have also been having one of, if not the hottest May ever. With these dry conditions have come less pressure from the usual foliage diseases but best of all has been a real lack of the usual suspects other than one in the pest category. So far with twice daily inspections I have seen and disposed of one stinkbug, three leaf footed bugs and one squash bug...
Bill
Ditto weather here, Bill. No sign of squash bug eggs yet and no leaf footeds either. However, the adjacent pasture was filled with thistle plants and the pasture owner finally mowed last week AFTER the thistles sent seed fuzzies all over the place. I didn't know about leaf footeds and thistles so I will keep a watch now. Thanks for the heads up!
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Old May 26, 2019   #6
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Bill, I hope you don't mind me posting a picture here. I just took this picture. This thistle plant looked fine last Tuesday when I mowed around it. I will be waking up the Leaffooted bug thread because of this. Tomato gardeners need to be aware of leaffooted bugs.
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Old May 26, 2019   #7
b54red
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Originally Posted by Barb_FL View Post
I'm at the end of my season and I'm seeing more of the leaf footed bugs than I have in all the other years combined.

ETA - I had more caterpillars and tomato horn worms this year also.

I'm not good at catching them, and usually don't have my gloves on, but sometimes I get lucky and snip them in half or a leg which then really slows them down for the final slash.

Last year I saw beetles for the first time ever, but none this year.

Also the birds have not been too bad; Usually it is the bluejays and mockingbirds. I did leave a lot of decoys up since the hail in late March.

Also since the hail, the few new yellow sticky cards I put out got covered with love bugs, so I am seeing a few aphids per plant here and there.

I haven't bothered to spray since it is so late; blasting the plants with the flat cycle on the hose.

Most of my plants still look really good.

-----
Good luck with the remainder of your season. I hope you stay bug and disease free.
Barb it might do you some good next year if you would try to eliminate as many of the leaf footed bugs as you can here at the end of your season. If you go out into the garden late in the evening after the sun is down you can usually find leaf footed bugs sitting near the tops of tomatoes and other plants. They are fairly easy to spot against the evening sky if you look closely. Late in my season I go out armed with a small spray bottle with some Dawn, Permethrin and water and zap them. This way I don't have to spray everything to get them. I also go out very early around sunrise all season and look for the herds of juvenile leaf footed bugs, stink bugs and squash bugs and using the same spray hit them with a burst. They tend to stick together for a few days before spreading out and really making a mess of things so it is the ideal time to get them all bunched up.

Bill
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Old May 26, 2019   #8
b54red
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Originally Posted by brooksville View Post
Spinosad killed all the small leaf worms. The ones we had were green with reddish Orange head. About 3/8 inch long. I killed 2 stink bugs, I’m really struggling with squash vine borer, almost to the point that I don’t want to grow squash anymore.

Having the best fruit set year ever tho. Been watering almost daily with well water. It keeps root zone nice and cool. Fertilizing weekly with TTF. Have 2 C Purples that have 18 set fruit a piece. Aunt Ruby’s, BPTD, Barred Boar,and MaqiQo are loaded too. I’ve been thinning trusses because I’m worried about the toms being to small. Goal is for 10-16 oz tomatoes. We also have had minimal disease. Saw some EB today one small streak on a cherry.

Hope this heat breaks soon, the 15 day forecast has 2 rain days at 40%.
Squash Vine Borers have not been a problem in my garden for years unless I quit taking the step that stops them cold. I dust the lower part of the stem with Sevin dust using a small bulb duster. It only takes a few minutes and makes a world of difference without endangering the bees. The only problem is you have to do this after every good rain and any good watering where you wash the Sevin away. I move the dust further up the stem as the plant grows but not up near the blossoms. It has been working consistently for at least a decade and I have a hoard of bees feeding on the blossoms every morning.

Bill
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Old May 26, 2019   #9
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Overall pests haven’t been too bad in N. Florida other than the little green tomato worms. I’m keeping at least 30 sticky traps going around the tomato area and have had next to zero aphids.
(Hope I didn’t just jinx myself.)
No BER either but I’m watering daily and feeding twice a week with TTF.
The air is supposed to stay dry for another week so here’s hoping I get most everything harvested before disease gets too bad.
Then it’s time to start sterilizing the soil mix and plan the fall garden.
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Old June 2, 2019   #10
b54red
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I was out pruning some of my tomatoes and other summer veggies of damaged and diseased leaves yesterday and came across a few stinkbugs, leaf footed bugs and I also found a fair number of those aggravating foliage worms. I killed what I could with my little hand sprayer and removed some clusters of leaf footed bug eggs and stink bug eggs but if they keep showing up in heavier and heavier numbers and start getting out of control I will have to resort to a more comprehensive spray late one afternoon; but for now I am only doing individual bug spraying. This has been the driest spring I have ever dealt with not having seen any rain for two months so it hasn't been that difficult to maintain control of the pests so far. Keeping everything hydrated in these over 100 degree days has been a much bigger and more expensive problem this season.

Bill
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Old June 2, 2019   #11
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Is that real 100 degrees, or feels like 100.

We have been up to 89 but feels like 99.

---
Thanks for the tip on the leaf footed bugs. I try to catch them. Just caught one by the leg and got it under my shoe without too much stink to my fingers.

I've been blasting the plants with the hose under flat, fan, and even angle settings. They don't seem to like water. At least they move.

They have done the most damage on the Esterina plant. Maybe the yellow attracts them.
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Old June 2, 2019   #12
PlainJane
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Originally Posted by b54red View Post
I was out pruning some of my tomatoes and other summer veggies of damaged and diseased leaves yesterday and came across a few stinkbugs, leaf footed bugs and I also found a fair number of those aggravating foliage worms. I killed what I could with my little hand sprayer and removed some clusters of leaf footed bug eggs and stink bug eggs but if they keep showing up in heavier and heavier numbers and start getting out of control I will have to resort to a more comprehensive spray late one afternoon; but for now I am only doing individual bug spraying. This has been the driest spring I have ever dealt with not having seen any rain for two months so it hasn't been that difficult to maintain control of the pests so far. Keeping everything hydrated in these over 100 degree days has been a much bigger and more expensive problem this season.

Bill
I hear ya. Dreading my next JEA bill...
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Old June 2, 2019   #13
Barb_FL
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Barb it might do you some good next year if you would try to eliminate as many of the leaf footed bugs as you can here at the end of your season. If you go out into the garden late in the evening after the sun is down you can usually find leaf footed bugs sitting near the tops of tomatoes and other plants. They are fairly easy to spot against the evening sky if you look closely. Late in my season I go out armed with a small spray bottle with some Dawn, Permethrin and water and zap them. This way I don't have to spray everything to get them. I also go out very early around sunrise all season and look for the herds of juvenile leaf footed bugs, stink bugs and squash bugs and using the same spray hit them with a burst. They tend to stick together for a few days before spreading out and really making a mess of things so it is the ideal time to get them all bunched up.

Bill
Tonight just before the sun went down but still light out, I went out and shook the cage of the Esterina plant, and about 6-8 of them flew out. I waited a little and did the permethrin and dawn and visited the plants I've seen them on and a few more. I saw some fly away even with spraying them. If I see them tomorrow, I will do the same with a hose end sprayer.

I usually don't have this fruit set this late but restarted a bunch of plants via clones after hail in late March. It is certainly much buggier now than prior years.
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Old June 2, 2019   #14
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I hear ya. Dreading my next JEA bill...
Ditto - I can't even blame filling the pool, although a huge possibility if it doesn't rain again soon.
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Old June 2, 2019   #15
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I set out more yellow sticky traps today as I saw a few adult aphids on the 2 Matt’s Wild Cherry.
1 or 2 stink bugs, no leaf footed, thankfully. Lots of snail damage to the chard I’ve left out as a trap plant.
I still feel way ahead of the game as I’m not constantly trying to outwit chipmunks, ground hogs, deer, turkeys, rabbits and squirrels.
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