Katie Smith reporting from Scott County.
There is a secret war raging, an under leaf silent battle that starts with a superficially pretty villain. This devil usually has pretty moth wings, or perhaps a shiny iridescent shell, or maybe even pretty camouflage. What these villains leave of the garden is certainly not pretty.
Here are the effects of Japanese beetles on rhubarb. Kill them if you can!
Here is a false lady bug, or Asian lady beetle. They don’t hurt plants but they might eat ladybugs, which we want in the garden. They usually have more or less than seven spots and a black and white head, whereas a real, aphid-eating ladybug has seven spots and a black head. Here is an interesting reference about the life cycle of an Asian lady beetle (http://www.gypsyforest.com/welcome_to_gypsy_forest/2010/05/false-ladybugs.html) :
Always check the underside of your leaves as you walk your garden. You might spot something like this, which could become a problem later. Pick them off and crush them.
And then there is the hornworm caterpillar. Their camouflage is effective that they are very difficult to see at first. Although as fat as your ring finger, they blend in so well with tomato plant stems, it is easy to miss them! These hungry monsters are harmless to humans but will strip your tomato plants of tomatoes and leaves, leaving nothing but a spindly, bare skeleton. Although they metamorphose into the interesting hummingbird moth, they should be removed from the garden and fed to the chickens. Although in our case, my little “ologist” decided to keep them in bug cages to watch them transform.
The spinosad spray provided by GA has been very effective for my garden as a bug treatment measure. The jury is still out about its effectiveness in regards to the Japanese beetle. Has anyone found an effective organic method to rid the garden of those shiny pests?