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cutworms in my compost

Posted by woohooman San Diego z 10a (My Page) on
Sat, Nov 3, 12 at 22:41

I enjoy making compost. I like the way it kills off weed seeds and the bad pathogens and all that when the temps of the pile get high. However, when the pile cools down, I believe cutworms come back and start snacking. The next thing you know, I'm continuing the life cycle of them by putting the compost into the garden.

Is there anything(like Diatomaceous Earth) that I should be adding to my compost to try to rid myself of these pests? Or(at least) reduce the population?

Thanks

Kevin


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: cutworms in my compost

Cutworms eat live plants, not dead ones in a compost pile.

If you have creatures you wonder about in the compost, please post a detailed description w/a picture.


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RE: cutworms in my compost

Jean:

I know they eat live plants. I take precautions to avoid that. But there's been many a shovelful that I've seen cutworms.

Could I be possibly bringing them into the pile via grass clipping and fallen leaves, some survive on the outside of the core of the pile(where there's less heat) and then in the spring, the eggs have grown into the pupae??

Kevin


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RE: cutworms in my compost

Cutworms eat much more then the newly germinated plants we usually associate with them, but it is living plant tissue such as weeds and grasses that keeps them alive. Screening the compost before applying it to the garden will help eliminate cutworms but will not help with eggs.

Here is a link that might be useful: About cutworms


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RE: cutworms in my compost

Please post images of what you're finding.
Once we see them, we can be specific about potential issues, if any.


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RE: cutworms in my compost

Jean: I'd like to but I don't see them right now.

Please take my word for it. They're CUTWORMS and they're in my COMPOST every spring.

Kevin


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RE: cutworms in my compost

Perhaps you're seeing grubs? If so, the kind in compost specialize in compost, NOT live plants

Please describe what they look like. Color, size, shape, how they move.


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RE: cutworms in my compost -

Perhaps the youngsters of the green fruit beetle, aka fig beetle. Common in SoCal compost piles.

See this
http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/ent/notes/forage/gjbnote02/note02.htm

Jean, who gardened in Long Beach, CA, for 30-some years

Here is a link that might be useful: gree fruit beetle


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RE: cutworms in my compost

Jean:

It could be those if the grubs have the "clipping at the base of seedlings" action that cutworms do.

That site recommended Sevin. Are there any organic methods that have been found to be successful.

Thanks

Kevin


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RE: cutworms in my compost

The best means of control is to encourage the predators, Tricogramma Wasps, some nematodes, birds, toads, earwigs, etc., and/or carefull application of certain insecticides sucha as Bacillus thurinegiensis. Pyrethrin based dusts and sprays have been used but they are very broad spectrum poisons that will kill many insects and have adverse affects on other species such as the toads.


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RE: cutworms in my compost

I don't think of cutworms in a compost pile, either. You can't blame us for wanting to put all the pieces together before making suggestions.

Yes, there are 'organic ' controls, but it's important to know if you're dealing with grubs or caterpillers.


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RE: cutworms in my compost

OK. I'll get a pic in the Spring. I'm sure they'll be there at that time.

Thanks Everybody.

Kevin


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RE: cutworms in my compost

I have a similar issue with our compost: looks like a pupae? Can't quite tell. I've attached a photo. If it is harmful, what do I do to naturally control these things? Thanks for your reply.


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RE: cutworms in my compost

  • Posted by TXEB 9a (My Page) on
    Sat, Sep 28, 13 at 18:41

That looks like a black soldier larva. If it is, that's a good thing in compost. Google "Black soldier fly larva" and check out the images. Then look for "black soldier fly compost".

This post was edited by TXEB on Sat, Sep 28, 13 at 20:35


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RE: cutworms in my compost

Thanks, TXEB! After some more research, I believe you are right. Glad it's not the dreaded cut worm!


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