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Oh no :(

Discussion in 'Live Plants' started by GartenSpinnen, Jun 16, 2011.

  1. GartenSpinnen

    GartenSpinnen Arachnoprince Old Timer

    I was just about to start bragging about how well my organic pest management is working in my organic patio garden, when I suddenly found out why many of my peppers and strawberries have been growing so slowly.

    I have a horrid infestation of some type of root maggot. They are eating roots so bad that many of my plants are munched to the point of root rot. These things are just everywhere! its absolutely horrid to deal with.

    All that work and I am in the process of digging up my entire garden :(

    Ive read once they establish like this there is little to nothing you can do. I already ripped up 4 habanero, 3 dwarf belle, 4 strawberries, 2 tomatoes, and I fear the worst for my Bhut Jolokia :(

    These things are TERRIBLE! :(
  2. Galapoheros

    Galapoheros ArachnoGod Old Timer

    I wonder if there is some kind of pred that would take care of them next time. Oh well, I've realized that all we do comes apart some time, so that just lets me take things a little more lightly. But I can stay motivated to try again that way too. I planted around 70 fruit trees in my backyard, droughts, deer and boring beetle grubs have left me with about 5 trees left. I was kind of an exp in my backyard made of bedrock. I won't try that again unless I move to a place that has dirt lol. I literally had to break rock or pry up rocks to plant every tree. What do the maggots look like, I wonder what fly species?
  3. GartenSpinnen

    GartenSpinnen Arachnoprince Old Timer

    I've learned a great deal about these buggers lately.

    The fly that spreads them is various species and they all prefer different plants (I guess). The ones I have tend to prefer my small wild strawberries, they attacked these like no other! There were hundreds if not thousands of them eating up the root systems. They tend to like more organic moist soil and have several natural predators that 'supposedly' keep them in check.

    But they don't. I found one of the natural predators which is a type of predatory weird looking beetle in high numbers among the worst infected. They were obviously munching on them, but hardly keeping them in check. The other natural predator is the beneficial nematode that is often used in gardens.

    I guess diatomic earth works as a preventive measure. Let me say I have never had these before but they are entirely devestating! They get so deep in the root system that none of the pesticides work well on them, and on top of it they eat the root system so bad they cause it to get root rot. Most of the badly infested plants looked fairly normal but had stunted growth in one form or another, especially the peppers. The strawberries looked fine I was amazed to find that many and such a horrid root system on all of them.

    If you get close to the pots you can smell the rotting roots! They are just horrid.

    I managed to save a few plants. My bean plants are way too big and pretty to just pull out and dump, I am proud of my enormous beans and only found a couple in them. I thought they were worse than they actually were... or so I hope. My Bhut Jolokia peppers all look infestation free. They were sitting right next to the electric habanero which got nailed really bad, but for some reason they left my ghost peppers be (I hope). Three strawberry plants appeared to not be infested (again I hope), and I also seem to still have a couple tomatoes left.

    All in all I had to trash a LOT of stuff, which I have much time invested in :(.

    Next year I am going to design my entire garden around avoiding these things. I rather deal with absolutely ANY pest other than these, there is no turning back once you get them. Just go ahead and throw any you find with them in the trash.

    On a positive note... the mass amounts of jumping spiders in my plants have kept them extremely clean from other pests. I even seen one stalk and feed on a root maggot that was at the surface. Hurray for jumping spiders!

    Back to the negativity... this is a major set back. I think it is too late now to even try and regrow any of the peppers. I have a feeling I am gonna be battling it out for the few apparently healthy plants I have left now.
  4. Galapoheros

    Galapoheros ArachnoGod Old Timer

    Sounds like things were a little wet, you smelled sulfur right? I had similar probs when I watered too much when I thought the soil had dried out but it hadn't dried out much so I was keeping stuff soaked. Then, to me what looked like happened was that the organic stuff started rotting and started killing some of the root system to my plants, then that attracted the flies. Have you tried asking on a garden forum?
  5. Malhavoc's

    Malhavoc's Arachnoking Old Timer

    ever tried the grubs of fireflies? they are subterrianan predators if I recall correctly.
  6. GartenSpinnen

    GartenSpinnen Arachnoprince Old Timer

    They were damp but it was mostly due to watering them and then it raining for a day. Generally I try to let my plants dry out quite a bit before I water. Some of my beans and such were even quite dry.

    Still a few of the larger pots were quite moist and that is where I found a great deal of them. I was reading they contribute to root rot, which was very evident when I was looking at the plants. It was straight up nasty and foul in there and when I sniffed the dirt I could distinguish which plants were infested and which were not.

    The ones that smelled foul were infested. Its odd because I am overly anal about my garden. I am out there like every day keeping an eye on them and other than stunted growth on some peppers everything looked really good. The thing that tipped me off was the worms crawling on top of the substrate, which was probably due to the rain we have been having drawing them out.

    I know how to prevent them in the future and I have a few survivors and a couple are a bit moist but no bugs... then the rest are quite dry. I am gonna let them all go bone dry for awhile. These are just insane :-\

    I went after them with a flame thrower... okay it was a lighter, but still it offered me some satisfaction ;-)
  7. GartenSpinnen

    GartenSpinnen Arachnoprince Old Timer

    Just an update...

    Found the fly that lays the eggs. They are tiny metallic green fly that looks like a cross between a mosquito and a house fly. They tend to hop more than fly. If you see these, go marine on them.

    They are hard to kill :-\

    Now that I ditched most of my plants they are coming back and attacking the few that are left. I put a LOT of time and money in my gardening this year, its rough to see everything getting sabotaged by a mosquito sized fly. I might have to just throw in the towel and try again next year.

    A friend told me he had some Azamax I might be able to try, so I might give it a whirl as a last ditch effort. I hate using pesticides. I also placed Steatoda sp. all around my plants hoping they would web them up and keep the flies at bay.

    Another thing I was thinking of trying was placing about 1" of sand around all my plants because maybe it could make the egg laying aspect harder for the flies, and also the sand would be dry enough to dry the eggs out in the sun before they get to hatch.