Friend or Foe?

BabyGr33nThumb(7b)July 16, 2011

First let me say thank you very much for all of the help I have gleaned as a lurker. :) I am very new to gardening and despite a continuing whitefly issue I haven't given up (though I have wanted to.) on my first container garden. So..on to my dilemma. I am not sure what larvae/worms are good guys or not. I took this pic this morning of this worm & these eggs on my zucchini plant & side of container:

And this guy nestled in the stalks of my eggplant leaves:

Are these bad guys?

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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

You can pretty much count on it that no caterpillar like creature is your friend. They have voracious appetites and they're always vegetarians. (In my book, the insect carnivores are the good guys and the vegetarians are competing with me for the same food.)

All kidding aside, the caterpillar and eggs are probably from some beetle that eats cucumbers and their relatives. Pick them all off and destroy them, including all eggs. Consider spraying with a broad spectrum organic pesticide like neem or spinosad.

I can't tell what the creature on your eggplant is from the photo, but he doesn't look like any beneficial insect to me. Show him the door.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2011 at 4:24PM
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Joe1980(5)

I agree. Some people may argue, but caterpillars are indeed ALL enemies, at least as far as your plants are concerned. Some may argue that they turn into butterflies and moths, which do some good with their pollinating and such, but for your veggies, they are no good. The way I see it, there are plenty of hosts for different caterpillars, just not in our veggie gardens. As Ohiofem said, which I chuckled at, "show him the door".

Joe

    Bookmark   July 16, 2011 at 10:26PM
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BabyGr33nThumb(7b)

Thanks Ohiofem & Joe, I kind of figured they should not be there hence the picture of the 'eggplant worm' in the sink after I plucked him off. I am going to look into spinosad. Is it safe on leaves/organic? I tried neem to ward off the whiteflies but they just laughed at that and my leaves suffered. The garlic peppermint seemed to work against the whiteflies BUT again my leaves suffered.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 4:58PM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

Spinosad is a bacteria that kills insects that suck or chew on plants. It is safe for people and pets and most beneficial insects except possibly bees. It affects the same pests that neem does. I have never seen it harm plants. Both neem and spinosad should be used at dawn or dusk, to avoid hurting leaves or bees. Any pesticide can cause leaf burn if you use it in full sun.

BTW, I used neem on white flies and aphids on my tomatoes, and it killed them off after three or four days. It's slow, but I've found it to be safe and effective. Spinosad was a little faster. But I like neem because it is also a fungicide.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 7:12PM
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