Return to the Organic Gardening Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Cutworms and Dipel

Posted by vickima z5 MA (My Page) on
Tue, May 30, 06 at 7:49

I just learned of Dipel this spring and don't have any experience with it. I was interested in it for the worms that live in greens (after feeding one to a guest in her salad last year), but I understand it is also effective as cutworm control.

I planted most of the garden yesterday with many seedlings. I used toothpicks around a lot of them but nontheless lost a tomato seedling overnight (I found the cutworm and fed it to the birds). The spinach I started from seed has had a rough time.

I wonder if dusting the bottoms of the plants with Dipel will help. I'm worried that since a cutworm got through my toothpick barrier in one day, I could lose the whole garden in short order. I know cutworms have been discussed before, but I'm interested in reports of successful organic treatments. Do you have a cutworm success story to relate? What organic control worked for you?


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Cutworms and Dipel

Dipel works slowly through the gut of the caterpillar. They must ingest it along with the plant material, and will continue eating until the bacterium inoculant can begin to do its work. By that time, who knows how many seedlings you will have lost. Therefore, I think that improved exclusionary tactics are called for at this point. Perhaps a temporary dixie cup collar or something like that.

Bt (Dipel and other name brands) should be mixed with bran and used as a bait prior to planting your seeds or seedlings (for cutworms). If you are interested in trying that now, it might be a worthy experiment. I sure wouldn't place your bait up next to the seedlings, however, but at a reasonably safe distance away.


 o
RE: Cutworms and Dipel

I think I'll give the bait idea a try in an area where I just planted bean seeds. Does it have to be bran or can it be corn meal? (I think I read elsewhere that corn meal is attractive to cutworms, but I'm not sure if that was proven or just a guess.

Do you know how far they can travel? I found the cutworm that killed the tomato, still right next to it, and I've seen others just below the soil surface. But a leaf was cut from a lettuce seedling last night and I couldn't find the worm that did it. How deep or far should I look? Also if you are going to try the bait idea, I wonder about how the cutworms will know about it and how far they'll go to get it.


 o
RE: Cutworms and Dipel

They won't travel far; you will need to apply the bait in the vicinity of your plants and hope that they decide to go for the Bt baited goodies INSTEAD of your veggies.

Oat bran is the most recommended (as far as I've read) bait substance, but try the corn meal, by all means. You could also sprinkle horticultural grade diatomaceous earth around the plants, as well. (Meaning, in conjunction with your bait.)


 o
RE: Cutworms and Dipel

Thanks. I did try the corn meal mix near a row of spinach last night. No way to know if it's working, but I think I'll get some bran and try it near the area I just planted with bean seeds. Found three more today munching on potato plants. I can use better "collars" on transplanted seedlings next year, but they really are a nuisance for plants grown from seed. I'll give the diatomaceous earth a try too.


 o
RE: Cutworms and Dipel

  • Posted by byron 4a/5b NH (My Page) on
    Wed, May 31, 06 at 19:41

Some folks plant a radish trap crop, spray/dust the radish with dipel, The worm has to eat something before the bT is absorbed.

Some folks claim that gnatrl works, it's a bt made to work unter the soil surface.


 o
RE: Cutworms and Dipel

That's good to know about radishes, and I like the idea of a trap crop. I'll give it a try. Every morning I find a little more cutworm damage!


 o
RE: Cutworms and Dipel

Gnatrol is a different strain of bacillus (Bt-i), and does not affect caterpillars (Lepidoptera) but only insect larvae in the Diptera order such as flies, gnats, and mosquitoes.

The Bt strain (Bt-k) that affects caterpillars must be eaten. It works via the gut. Not much for them to eat under the soil, ;-)


 o
RE: Cutworms and Dipel

  • Posted by byron 4a/5b NH (My Page) on
    Sat, Jun 3, 06 at 13:44

rhizo

Howard Garrnet in TX says it works ...


 o
RE: Cutworms and Dipel

I have 2 raised beds that were infested with cutworms last year. I would like to plant swiss chard and spinach from seed in them this year. As I understand the worms overwinter in the soil. If so, I need to prepare them before planting.

Anyone know what would be the fastest method to kill them?
Bt laced bran, the radish idea above or something else?

I would really appreciate your opinions.


 o
RE: Cutworms and Dipel

I was under the impression that cut worms were usually found in the garden where you have clumps of grass. I don't believe I have ever found them where there was no grass. Have I just been lucky?
Wondering.....
Tom


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Organic Gardening Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here