Okra being defoliated by bugs

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My okra plants are being eaten so badly by the bugs, they are becoming defoliated, and I'm not sure I can get them to live long enough to grow big enough to resist this onslaught.
I've used slug pellets to stop the slugs, and it does not seem to be slugs. Slugs leave slime trails, and the pellets have never failed to stop them before. I see no slime trails, nor dead slugs.
I've used Neem, which works with other plants the bugs find tasty, but it does not help.
Out of desperation, I tried some sevin dust, and not even that seems to stop the damage.
How can I protect these plants from whatever is eating them? I thought it was slugs because of the big holes in the leaves, but i'm not sure if it is just a lot of little bugs eating everything that is there. What can I do to prevent these plants from being devoured?
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Zootal wrote:

First find out what it is. Have you checked for grubs or 28 spot ladybeetle?
David
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So basically if I don't snort the entire container, I should be just fine :-P. Wow - horse manure can cause more damage than that....
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There is no minimum dose that is good for you. Enjoy.
--
- Billy
Both the House and Senate budget plan would cut Social Security and Medicare,
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When I look, there is never anything there. For all I know my dogs or cats are munching on them...You would think that with that much damage, I would at least see some signs of what is eating it. No ants, and we have ants everywhere, but I've never seen ants on them. The damage is not what flea beetles do - no small holes, but big chunks are gone. It looks like slug damage, I've seen what slugs do to my cabbages and eggplants, but we don't have enough slugs to do the damage I've been seeing, and there are no slime trails, and the slugs have never yet made it past the slug pellets.
We have cucumber beetles here, but there are very few this year, certainly not enough to do the damage I'm seeing.
We really don't have any other pests here - flea beetles and slugs do 99% of the damage to my garden. Cucumber beetles - they hate Neem, and a good spray of neem keeps them away. Flea beetles don't like Neem either.
Oh, and we have aphids, but there is no sign of aphids on them. The only time aphids have ever done any damage is when they infested my brussel sprouts several years ago.
We do have ladybeetles here, do they eat okra leaves??? No sign of grubs, but not sure I'd recognize it if I saw it.
I'm going to keep a close eye on them for the next few days and see if I can spot anything eating them.
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Zootal wrote:

There are many species of ladybeettles. Some are useful preying on aphids, scale etc and some like the 28 spot ladybeetle are leave eaters that will destroy potatos, eggplant etc.
David
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Huh, learn something new every day. I've seen a lot of lady bugs and I have not seen the 28 spot variety - I looked up some pics of them - none of ours have anywhere near that many spots.
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Zootal wrote: ...

around here big leaf damage is usually grasshoppers. i don't know if grasshoppers eat okra or not tho.
for grasshopper control it helps to have bird baths (and not feed the birds much in the summer months so they will forage -- except if you are feeding orioles or other rare birds on a special diet i'd keep those going).
songbird
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I don't think I've ever seen a grass hopper here. I'm not sure why - I'm in the mid Wilamette Valley, and for whatever reason we just don't have grass hopper problems - at least not in my neighborhood.
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Zootal said:

I suggest a night-time foray with a flashlight. My guesses would be that your pest is the invasive Asiatic garden beetle. They have only recently reached the midwest. They feed at night and hide during the day.
http://extension.entm.purdue.edu/caps/pestInfo/asiaticGardenbtl.htm
--
Pat in Plymouth MI

"Yes, swooping is bad."
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In article

Presuming Pat is right, you ,ay want to look at <http://www.hort.uconn.edu/ipm/greenhs/htms/ghsebeetles.htm The "Integrated Pest MAnagement" approach would have you try the spring Tiphia wasp, and beneficial nematodes (Heterorhabditis sp.) first. To avoid killing off beneficial insects.
<http://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/biocontrol/j_beetle.htm <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2618435/
You don't want to swat fleas with a sledgehammer.
--
- Billy
Both the House and Senate budget plan would cut Social Security and Medicare,
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wrote:

What's the time lag on introducing those biological controls?
Also, not that biological controls introduced into places where they are not native can have disastrous side-effects. One need only look at Cane Toads in Australia for a demonstration.
I admit I have not yet read the cites you provided. I am, however, impressed they come from Ohio State and the NIH. They certainly are going to contain worthwhile, pertinent info.
If it's going to take months or a year for the bio controls to get up and running, do you have any suggestions for saving the plants he's got growing _right now_? That would be cool and informative.
Chris
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I am not at all opposed to biological/natural approaches. I eat the plants, after all :). That is why I prefer Neem, it is natural, quickly biodegrades, and isn't actually poison - they flea beetles don't like the smell and stay away. It works wonders on cukes and cabbages.
The patch I applied sevin to had only four plants in it, and is an isolated patch away from the garden. I have about fifteen okra plants in a row that I'm also trying to save, but is in the middle of the garden, and I won't dump sevin in the middle of my garden - too many beneficial bugs would get killed.
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Chris Thompson wrote:

Murphy Oil Soap... make a solution of an ounce to a gallon of plain water and use it to mist your plants. Be sure to spray the undersides of those huge leaves too, and it wouldn't hurt to drench the soil around your plants. http://www.colgate.com/MurphyOilSoap/faqs
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Brooklyn1 <Gravesend1> wrote in news:h0ge379coiq5ouvb674eko8360apc69afc@ 4ax.com:

Duh. I knew that. And I should have remembered it. Thanks.
Chris
(no sarcasm intended)
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Brooklyn1 <Gravesend1> wrote in news:h0ge379coiq5ouvb674eko8360apc69afc@ 4ax.com:

Seriously? I've never heard of the stuff before, not even sure where around here to get some. Might have to drive in to the city next week and look around. I wonder if lemon oil for wood would work?
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On Tue, 02 Aug 2011 17:44:53 -0500, Zootal

Murphy Oil Soap is sold in every stupidmarket in the US and most of the planet... everywhere Colgate Palmolive products are sold.
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Agreed, but IF the problem is the Asiatic garden beetle, or Japanese beetle, the only immediate solution I can think of would be chickens, or putting a bird feeder in the garden area. Biological controls, which will only suppress future generations, should be put in place; with the placement of maple, elm, cherry, tulip or pine trees, which adult wasps feed on. The wasp will also feed on the nectar of blossoms, such as forsythia, and on the extra-floral nectaries of peonies. Nematodes such as Heterorhabditis bacteriophora should be introduced into the environment, The wasps and the nematodes will suppress the grubs. Milky Spores and Bt would be other good weapons to use.
The sledgehammer approach has a big downside. Treating fields with an broad-spectrum insecticide may tip the balance in the favor of potential pest arthropods. This is because natural enemies recover more slowly from broad-spectrum insecticides.
The idea is to make the garden supportive of beneficial insects.
All that said, I have serious doubts that the Asiatic garden beetle is the culprit here, because it is moving west from New England, and has only recently entered the midwest.
--
- Billy
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In article

Actually, if left alone, their predators will show up, eventually.
--
- Billy
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Nasty bugs. I was going to go out last night, fell asleep, woke up and it was daylight again...I'll try it again tonight, I've been wanting to do a slug census lately anyhow - we have the famous Oregon Slugs here, and yes they really do grow up to six or eight inches long. And the bigger puppies can do an amazing amount of damage in just one night!
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