Shop Products
Houzz Logo Print
donald_vargo

Tiny leaf bite marks

Something is hitting my lettuce at night. I am pretty sure it is at least slugs and cut worms. I think there is also a 3rd pest. I always struggle with cutworms. I see a lot of slugs and use sluggo and hand pick often but they are a problem. I put down DE and whatever made these bite marks went through DE 2 nights in a row. One night I figure they could eat leaf get cuts and die the next day. 2 nights means DE is not stopping it. I had the same issue last year. What do you think? The biggest leaf in this pic is the size of my pinky nail - small. Mice? Seems small and not enough earten for mice. I am in the garden several times a day this is definitely at night.


Comments (22)

  • last month

    Cutworms? Use BT. You're done. I don't think DE is going to do much to slugs except maybe slow them down.

  • last month

    Good idea. I always here slugs get killed from DE but I do not see it. I did find a slug on it, so I think that is my problem. I think I have a huge slug problem. They are nailing new stuff as soon as it emerges. I have put down sluggo twice already and hand pick often. Still tons just smaller ones.

  • last month

    If you don't mind using non-organic methods to get rid of slugs then trying a product called "Deadline" works well. At my last home we had slugs all over the place and deadline took care of the problem over night.

  • last month

    Deadline contains metaldehyde. Toxic to pets and wildlife. It's banned here for outdoor use. There are safer slug baits which work.

  • last month

    You are right floraluk2, I should have mentioned to Donald that Deadline has a sweet aroma which can tempt pets, esp dogs to lick it up so beware of that. It is extremely effective on the slugs and the next day I could smell their copious rotting corpses blanketing the ground. The main reason I used it was due to the slug population at the time which was like a plague of locusts at the old homestead. Normally I use the safer slug pellets or beer traps.

  • last month

    There is some wide suspicion that while Sluggo (iron phosphate/EDTA) isn't toxic to pets and wildlife, it is to earthworms. Not so for metaldehyde.

  • last month
    last modified: last month

    I've never experienced slugs/snails eating lettuces or other things related. Grasshoppers and katydids create jagged edges look like those too, and cutworms usually chew through the stems. Caterpillars usually create smooth edges, IMPE. Junebugs and their ilk can do that kind of damage, IMPE.

    Of course there are other moth larvae that will go after all kinds of plants.

    I grow my lettuces in containers, which seems to help keep away a lot of the crawlers.

  • last month


    Above is overnight damage on new sprout. Below is same sprout 2-3 days later. It got no more damage but initial damage, even though it seemed minor, was harsh on seedling.


  • last month

    It's possible that second image shows damage that happened before the seedling emerged - wireworms and some beetles do that. I've seen it in my beans before, but it doesn't seem to affect the true leaves. It's one reason I start most things in containers to transplant. Beans don't do well as transplants, so i just sow them thickly, sprinkle snail bait around them and thin when they get their true leaves.

  • last month
    last modified: last month

    Snails and slugs definitely gobble down lettuce here. But the damage doesn't look like this. There'd be nothing left of that tiny seedling, not bite marks.


    "Beans don't do well as transplants ..." Almost all my beans are transplants and they do fine. The soil isn't warm enough to direct sow until well into summer. I do a lot of transplants due to snail troubles. Lettuce, beans, brassicas, squash. I have to start them all in modules.


  • last month

    I watch my garden constantly and that damage occurred after it emerged. It was fine at sunset and tiny bite marks in morning.


    I do use pine needles and yes I understand they give hiding places to slugs and other stuff. I like how it looks, it is free and easy and after 7 years it is good fertilizer.


    I never added compost. Almost everything does great overall. I get 12 foot sunflowers, 10 foot cherry toms' (I top off after 10') etc. It is the early stages. If my soil had issues plants would do terrible big. 10 foot tomato's require a lot more then a tiny seedling that is only using what is stored in the seed.


    I am not disagreeing I have issues just what they are.


    I do agree that simply adding fertilizer is not the best way. IMO healthy solid is not easy to get. My garden does great and I work hard and I am learning. I am also a perfectionist. If you asked my wife, kids, friends or anyone who attended our backyard wedding in August 2023 they would say my garden is unbelievable. I have high standards.


    Sorry for rambling. I am sorry if I did not answer things. Ohio is very humid and I am surrounded by woods full of bugs, diseases and fungus. I get prettu much every issue you can think fo out of nowhere and I suspect it is the woods around me. For exmaple my plum tree died. Nowhere near anything I eevr did, it got a plumb dieses after 5 years. Where the heck did that come from? No plumb trees with 1/4 mile, likely much more.


    I do have some damage before emergence. I do see tiny worms that could be wire worms (need to look them up).


    I do really appreciate everyone's help and I am stubborn but I am listening!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!

  • last month

    I can say I focus on the negative but my garden is doing much better this year. I am more trying to learn and spread info. In particular against slugs and snails. It rained here today and the slugs I found are significantly less than ever before.

  • last month

    I guess if it is not broken, why fix it? Maybe one day you will kill all the bugs and slugs for good.

  • last month

    Slugs are way way down so that problem is solved for the most part. I was also wrong about some damage. 2am this morning I could not sleep and put on my headlamp and found new bugs. I have never seen them before. I will make a new post too. They were very tiny, long thin bugs with long antenna. They were on 2 plants where I get the tiny bite marks. When I reached down to crush them they scurried into the soil. I THINK they had wings but it was hard to tell. There entire body was about as thick as a pencil lead. They were fast and greyish brown. Any ideas? They are way to small to get a pic that shows anything.

  • 23 days ago

    It's roly polies probably. Use sluggo plus.

  • 21 days ago

    I have never seen a rolly polly n any plants? I did not think they bothered them? We called them potato bugs as a kid, no sure why might have been a name we made up.

  • 21 days ago

    They called them potato bugs when I was young also. Probably find them in potato storage areas. There are billions of them hiding, they are like brine shrimp of the dirt eating even smaller dirt creatures. I've read you can eat them, though I don't know why, you would have to be really desperate.

  • 21 days ago

    They hide in dark and damp areas and come out at night to eat. I used to toss them into my raised beds because I knew they help decompose old material BUT later on I noticed there are tons of them and I've seen them chomping on my young seedling leaves, with those exact bite marks. They don't go after established plants. They're good to an extent but can make starting plants a major frustration!

  • 21 days ago
    last modified: 21 days ago

    I'm sorry. If we're talking about very tiny, long thin bugs with long antennae, we're not talking about rolly pollies (Armadillidium vulgare, pill bugs). In any case, those usually don't eat live plants. They will eat fruit, such as berries, however, and I guess may eat seedlings if decaying plants aren't available. Now it's true, Donald, if you don't use compost, that could make them go after your seedlings if you had them. But I don't hear that you have them. Did I miss something?

  • 20 days ago
    last modified: 20 days ago

    I've literally seen roly polies/pill/sow/potato bugs eating live young sprouts. And I have tons of mulch and compost matter available for them. I wanted to mention it because when I had this problem, I almost missed it because everyone and everywhere online says "they don't eat live plants" until I saw it happening myself. If you're absolutely sure there's none in the vicinity sure. But otherwise it's possible.


    I agree though, they're definitely not long and thin. They do make those rounded bite marks on young leaves. Sluggo plus would still work for these, as well as other possibilities such as slugs and earwigs (which are also a "long and thin" description).

  • 20 days ago

    Click beetles are the adult form of wireworms, and they do eat leaves, it seems...



Sponsored
Cumberland Custom Homes
Average rating: 5 out of 5 stars5 Reviews
Northern Virginia's Green Residential Builder & Renovator