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Organic gardeners - How do you keep sow bugs from eating strawberries?

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slackmaster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-08-04 12:12 PM
Original message
Organic gardeners - How do you keep sow bugs from eating strawberries?
Edited on Mon Mar-08-04 12:14 PM by slackmaster
My first Sequoia strawberries are starting to turn red, and I just saw an impudent sow bug patrolling my tiny berry patch in broad daylight. I don't believe we have any effective natural predators of sow bugs or pill bugs here in San Diego, and I decline to use any toxic substances.

I'd appreciate any advice from people who have successfully grown strawberries without big holes in them. I've got the snails and slugs under control, but the sow bugs have gotten my goat every time I've attempted to grow strawberries in the past.



http://www.pestcontrolcanada.com/INSECTS/sow_bugs.htm mistakenly refers to sow bugs as insects. They're not. They belong to an interesting order of arthropods called isopods which includes some huge marine species:



This guy is one reason strawberries don't grow at the bottom of the ocean.
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supernova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-08-04 12:19 PM
Response to Original message
1. Ewww! What is that?
Edited on Mon Mar-08-04 12:22 PM by supernova
x( :scared:

Have you tried a bit of Sevin dust? I know it's a pesticide, but you put it on early, like now, and maybe once more during the season. It keeps the bugs off and washes away by the time it's time to eat the berries. Oh, and the birds can still share you your bounty with you. :7

I don't know what natural enemies those bugs have. Sorry.
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slackmaster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-08-04 12:24 PM
Response to Reply #1
6. Deep sea isopod - Bathynomus giganteus
Edited on Mon Mar-08-04 12:26 PM by slackmaster
See http://www.whozoo.org/Anlife2001/chelsy/clh_Bathynomus....

It's what sow bugs would become if nothing killed them.
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slackmaster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-08-04 12:26 PM
Response to Reply #1
8. No, I really don't want to use toxins
I know of a person who died while applying Sevin. He wasn't following the label instructions.

Birds are going to be an issue for sure. My hunting cat was killed last year, so birds are multiplying rapidly. I found a mourning dove walking around the daffodils yesterday morning. If that cat was still around the bird would have been breakfast.

The worst of all are the parrots.
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BOSSHOG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-08-04 12:20 PM
Response to Original message
2. Garlic is very effective at fending off
small flying creatures and is very low maintenance and takes up little space. Just plant a few cloves throughout your patch. They work great on mealy bugs around Roses. I hope they work with your strawberries.
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slackmaster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-08-04 12:27 PM
Response to Reply #2
10. Good thought
That's doable. Thanks.
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kmla Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-08-04 12:22 PM
Response to Original message
3. Ummmm. I dunno.....
Maybe.......

Flamethrowers? Upon examination, my solution does kinda reduce your strawberry harvest a little.

But no sow bugs.

*ducks and covers head and neck*
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Elad ADMIN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-08-04 12:22 PM
Response to Original message
4. Never grown strawberries myself...
Edited on Mon Mar-08-04 12:23 PM by elad
But when caterpillars were devouring my greens last year, I found a solution of roughly the following ingredients, sprayed liberally on the plants as often as necessary, worked really well:

Fill a spray bottle 2/3rds with water
Add a few squirts (don't go overboard on this one) of natural dishwashing soap (such as Earth Friendly brand, available at health food stores)
Add in liberal amounts of finely ground (so it doesn't clog the sprayer) garlic powder and cayenne pepper

Shake the whole thing up and spray it as often as necessary to keep the bugs off, during the bad weeks I sprayed my plants everyday. I still lost a few leaves, but never enough to kill the plant, and I lost several plants before I started spraying, so I found it quite effective for making the plants not-tasty. The solution washes right off once you harvest, so you can keep on spraying up to right before you harvest.
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slackmaster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-08-04 12:28 PM
Response to Reply #4
11. Cayenne pepper and strawberries might go together
I like them both.
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Kadie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-08-04 12:31 PM
Response to Reply #4
13. On my vegetable plants last year
I did the same as you with water and a small amount of dish detergent, but with peppermint oil (actually I think I used peppermint extract) instead of the garlic or cayenne. Worked pretty good. I got the idea from my book Clean House, Clean Planet by Karen Logan.
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slackmaster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-08-04 12:46 PM
Response to Reply #13
18. Now I'm thinking Dr. Bronner's peppermint soap with cayenne pepper
In a spray. This is great - Lots of excellent suggestions here!
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Kadie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-08-04 12:50 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. Yes,
That is what is in the book, Dr. Bronner's peppermint soap. I didn't have any at the time last year when my squash plants were covered in bugs and the peppermint extract worked fine for us.

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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-08-04 12:23 PM
Response to Original message
5. Are they related to silverfish?
I've heard silverfish be referred to as "pillbugs" - and I thought they generally fed on dead or decaying vegetable matter. They are often a problem in homes that have high humidity and lots of starchy food to eat (books, for example). I didn't think they were much of a threat to live crops.
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Jose Diablo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-08-04 12:24 PM
Response to Original message
7. Well, you won't find this appealing but here goes.
Within each living thing, is the virus and bacteria that prey on the host.

Gather a handful of the bugs, put them in a blender and add little distilled water and grind the whole thing into a fluid that can be sprayed on the plants.

The resulting mixture should contain the parasitic virus and bacteria that will kill whatever bugs causing problems with your plants.

The above information is from a gardening magazine from a long time ago (20+ years).

I tried it and it works. I haven't planted a garden in about 10 years or so though.
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slackmaster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-08-04 12:29 PM
Response to Reply #7
12. This reminds me of the scene in Dances With Wolves
Where the guy puts mice in the blender.
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Jose Diablo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-08-04 12:37 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. Didn't think they had blenders at the time of the civil war n/t
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Jose Diablo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-08-04 12:42 PM
Response to Reply #14
17. One more thought
Planting marigolds at the perimeter of the plot provides a very effective natural insect barrier to a garden.
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everythingsxen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-08-04 12:27 PM
Response to Original message
9. (don't know squat about gardening)
But that was hella-neat about pill bugs. I had no idea they were not insects.
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-08-04 12:38 PM
Response to Original message
15. Mesh netting rubber banded around the base of the plants
make sure there are none hiding inside the mesh netting :)
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Ratty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-08-04 12:41 PM
Response to Original message
16. Lights
Edited on Mon Mar-08-04 12:42 PM by Ratty
Yup, hook up several bright lights set to turn on after dark. Totally 100% organic and 100% effective. You may have seen one or two in daylight but by and large sow bugs, earwigs and other pests only come out in the dark.
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slackmaster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-08-04 01:29 PM
Response to Original message
20. Semi-gratuitous "Thanks, everyone!" post
Thanks, everyone!

I plan to concoct a sprayable isopod suppressor. I'll let you know how it works out.

:toast:
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