More Chard issues

robinlmorrisJuly 13, 2014

Apparently insects love swiss chard as much as I do...
Earlier this year my chard plants got defeated by leaf miners.
Since then, I have been keeping the leaf miners at bay by removing any eggs I find and spraying with spinosad.
My chard recovered and I have been happily eating it for the last month or two.
Now I have a new slimy pest eating my shard. I have searched the internet but I am still clueless about what it is. Whatever it is, it is not bothered by the spinosad.
Any help is much appreciated!


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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

Those look like aphids, commonly known as blackfly. They are sap suckers so are not responsible for the holes. A mild infestation is not much of a problem. Blast with the hose while growing. Wash them off before eating.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 6:06AM
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I wonder what is causing the holes then...
So many things love my chard!

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 3:09AM
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Snails put holes in mine, and I have a feeling grasshoppers as well but haven't caught one in the act yet

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 6:27AM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

I find snails will eat anything before they'll eat chard. However they do like to hide in big old plants. I've also never found aphids on chard. In fact it's pretty much pest free. Which is odd considering the problems US gardeners seem to have with it. Any thoughts as to why that might be?

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 6:36AM
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Not sure if my question is appropriate to this thread, but I've been growing swiss chard very successfully for many years until last year when I found lots of insect damage. Never saw the critter that caused the damage, and for full disclosure, I've been growing the swiss chard and beets in the same general area for several years now.

First indication of a problem was last year when I found some large (1/8th inch plus) holes in the leaves and some "perforation" (much smaller holes - under 1/16th of an inch).

This year I started my chard in the same area as last year (bad idea, i know) and transplanted a few dozen plants. Many of the transplants have done very well, but the last batch that I transplanted have "perforations" and today I think I saw the pest that caused the problem - a small (less that 1/8th of an inch) long insect, very black in color - looks sorta like an ant.

I don't want to use inorganic pesticides (for obvious reasons) and I think I'll try to capture a few of the bugs for identification. Just thought I would pass this by the forum in case someone can offer advise.

I'd like to eliminate the pest without using pesticides.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 11:37PM
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i started 1 swiss chard plant in a 1 gallon pot around july and kept it in part shade, to nibble on to tide me over until the cooler weather comes--when i can really get a good size chard crop going. That one did, and continues to do really well. Now I have started a couple rounds of autumn crop seedlings, and now have been having the same issues here. Munched holes in the leaves, along with the kale seedlings that are sitting beside it--yet no evidence left behind, no critters, not even any caterpillar poo. just those ugly munch holes.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2014 at 12:51PM
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I grow chard in my back yard container garden. In the South Florida heat we can be inundated with bugs. I find container gardening helps that tremendously. If you plant any plant in the ground in the same area the bugs learn your habits and appreciate the free food. I do have spinosad on hand but fought using it as I have learned that it will also kill the beneficial insects that eat the bad ones. I stuck with soap and water spray. But be careful to only use that in the early morning and not when it is really hot as it can burn some plants in the scorching sun. Another thing you may want to add to your garden is herbs and flowers in around your plants. Some herbs repel certain bugs and research flowers to attract beneficials. I wish you luck! I am currently starting all the seedlings for our local Community Garden and will be planting next month. We do not use chemicals or insecticides... Happy Growing!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2014 at 2:43PM
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theforgottenone1013(MI zone 5b/6a)

Small holes here and there aren't an issue. The plants will grow just fine and the leaves will still be edible. It could be anything making the holes. Slugs, grasshoppers, beetles, etc.

"I do have spinosad on hand but fought using it as I have learned that it will also kill the beneficial insects that eat the bad ones. I stuck with soap and water spray."

Soap and water spray, aka insecticidal soap, will kill beneficials as well if you spray them with it.

"We do not use chemicals or insecticides."

See my sentence above.


    Bookmark   September 17, 2014 at 3:26PM
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Rodney, You are absolutely correct. That is why the soap now stays in a bucket and I hand pick the buggers off. After I found the soap also can damage the plants.
The aphids I run into here are yellow. They were such a problem with my cucumbers I finally gave up and yanked the plant to keep em from spreading. Still working on building up the beneficials in my back yard. Amazingly they left my greens alone. Went for the squash and cucumbers instead. It's a constant dance.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2014 at 4:24PM
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I've never had anything but a few holes in my chard.
Now kale,collards and other brassicas. I had the worst aphids I'd ever seen on them a year ago!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2014 at 6:57PM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

That certainly doesn't look like aphids to me; it looks like the frass (poop) left behind by a caterpillar. And I have the very same thing on one of my chard plants--never seen it before-and there is some kind of caterpillar producing it.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2014 at 6:48AM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

The thread is old so probably pointless to add to it but I do think they are aphids. You can see the cast off skins in the photo too. Black aphids look just like those, at least the ones we get here do. There is a species which particularly loves runner beans and favas. But I've never seen aphids of any description my chard.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2014 at 2:11PM
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