crickets #)($%&$$#&*(%!pillbugs, blister beetles

aaron floden
Fri, 07 Sep 2007 06:10:47 PDT
 Sounds like the Pillbugs.
 My experience in Kansas was that roly-poly's were
awful. I considered them almost my number one enemy in
the first half of the garden season. Early tender
growth was consumned immediately, Cyclamen flowers
were mostly eaten and only perfect in pots, Iris
leaves and rhizomes, Arisaema seedlings, Trillium,
Hepatica flowers, etc.. I smashed them when I turned
over rocks, leaves, etc. I am a murderer of millions
of them, but they were in the wrong place. 

 As to internet and book information they do all say
dead material, but I rarely saw them eating anything
brown, freshly cut or wilting green vegetation, YES.

 The only thing worse would be Blister beetles,
Epicauta pennsylvanica. These are ferocious summer
feeders, starting with Clematis, moving through the
delectable Ranunculaceae, onto Baptisia,
Solanum(Lycopersicon), Hosta, etc. You can smash them
( I can the cantharadin doesn't bother me) with your
fingers and they keep moving. Walk away and five
minutes later they have disappeared. Same goes for
permethrin sprayed on them, so a smash and permethrin
helps a lot. A nice little hand torch once that has
been performed is even better, even if it is overkill.

 Fortunately here in TN I have not seen many, but we
do have the large slugs, easily skewered and thrown in
the road.

 Aaron Floden
 Knoxville, TN

> Tonight I found the flowers covered with clusters of
> pill bugs (aka sow bugs and lots of
> other names; they are terrestrial crustaceans of the
> order Isopoda). 
> I don't really know anything about the eating habits
> of sow bugs. Most
> sources describe them as eating dead vegetation.
> Maybe the pill bugs were
> only eating nectar. 
> Ideas, anyone?

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