Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Daisy, Daisy

It took me some time to track down just where I'd just seen them, but I knew I'd seen these bad boys somewhere (besides in my back yard), and I realized I was seeing them in enough numbers I ought to DO something.

It was on Renee's Roots - and these are leaf footed bugs and they are bad players in the garden.According to the comments, from folks no less reliable than Skip Richter, Travis County Extension Horticulturist and Master Gardener; Dick Pierce, lead teacher of Austin Permaculture Guild and also a Master Gardener; and Jeff Ferris, assistant Permaculture teacher and a gardening instructor at Austin Community College, there are various approaches to ridding yourself of these pests but the verdict was a solid GUILTY. The bottom line was to get rid of them, to do so without using toxic sprays, and to use varying approaches to best suit your situation.

They all recommended their own favorite tried and true methods and products, but none less invasive than the good old "get em off the plants and out of your garden for good" maneuver that uses very simple tools already on hand. A container, hot water, and soap. 

I take my garden shears out with me and locate the spent flower heads loaded with bad bugs.  Whenever I can, I simply dip the head under the surface until the bugs sink to the bottom. If there are too many (which creeps me out) I sometimes simply clip the flower head off into the soapy water with similar results. 

I like this better than spraying because I can get out and drown bugs any time of day without fear of leaving water droplets on leaves when they might get sun burned as a result.  So today I went out Bad Bug Hunting. 

I'll admit - I had that song stuck in my head the whole time, slightly revised,
Bad Bugs
(bad bugs)
Whatcha gonna do?
Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?
Bad Bugs
(bad bugs)!

Dowsing in hot soapy water does magically immobilize these pesky critters, even adult stink bugs if I can get them before they fly off, and I am happy to report none of them were actually on (or even that close to) my eensy weensy tomato plants.I am also noticing that it is the spent heads of the Shasta Daisy plants that seem to be drawing them in, so in future I want to make sure I have those routinely planted around the perimeter of my veggie growing areas to see if I can keep using them as bait.
Ooops - missed one.
The Garden Sages above mentioned all sorts of other plants known to pull bad bugs away from your veggies, and perhaps they are all natives and beneficial in ways the Shasta Daisies are not, but I have these plants growing already and they do seem to be leaf foot and stink bug magnets for real.

Some of the time, what I have done in the garden just works for reasons all its own, despite my "efforts" to maintain a certain balance. This is one of those times and folks, I am just going to tip my hat to the garden gurus and know that in my back yard? Shasta Daises = an easy way to locate and eradicate the bad bugs. At least this season.  Thank you daisies! 


  1. I like your philosophy! Last summer, I first found those devils on the butterfly iris in my front yard, pretty far from my back yard tomato plants. I drowned them in soapy water and never caught any on my tomatoes.

  2. Hi TDeb.
    Interesting on the shasta front. I will scrutinize mine a lot more closely in the future. I have never noticed this phenonoma, though I have seen large numbers of these bad chappies on my large spinless prickly pear.
    Interesting post.

  3. wow, there all kinds of creatures i don't know about that live in and destroy the flowers. i'm still looking for a an organic way to deal with thrips. unless i use a chemical systemic insecticide, my rose buds refuse to bloom the way they should each year.
    hope your tomato plants are unscathed.

  4. Can you come and visit? I am deathly allergic to bees and even the thought of gardening makes me want to run for the epi pen! I know you're talking about other pests here (and that bees are functional), but bees came to this mind. . .

  5. help,my daises look terrible,one patch hasn't even opened and they look dead,my tall Shasta daisy looks like it is some how spotted like ? on the leafs and stem, what should i do? i am devastated, villa Anderson,Bowdoin Maine.


  7. Hey there Villa. I believe your best bet would be to take a bit of your plant to a local nursery/plant center and ask their help. Nothing beats somebody who knows your local situation along with a firsthand look.

    Otherwise, perhaps this site might help from Cornell:

    Good luck - it is awful to have what is ordinarily such a sturdy plant be afflicted without knowing why or what to do....

  8. july 5 , thanks so much for the information,it was a great help.villa

  9. how do i sign in using my name,i tried but i am not very good with my laptop,villa

  10. Villa - you must have a certain type of identity established - IE a Google account or be signed in with WordPress or other entities that establish an avatar for you. I am sure if you do an internet search on "how to comment" you'll find what you need. Glad you found daisy help and thanks for dropping in!


About Me

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Rollingwood, Central Texas
Family historian by default. Oldest surviving matriarch on my branch of the Family Tree. Story teller, photo taker, gardener, cook, blabbermouth.