Problem-Solving – Unwanted Pest

I am never sorry to lose a few parsley or dill leaves to the black swallowtail caterpillar (see photograph above.) There are never too many of them; the most I have ever seen on any plant has been about six. I would never consider them a pest. On the other hand, although I think the fluttery cabbage white butterflies are pretty, I don’t like their egg-laying abilities. A few cabbage white butterflies hovering over any plant in the cabbage family means big trouble, as in the recently shredded leaves of my prized Tuscan Kale.

In the past few days I have hand-picked dozens of caterpillars off of this plant. I think I have caught up at the moment and the plant is free of pests. Where are all my praying mantis predator bugs? I was going to plant a few broccoli plants this week, but now I am rethinking it since they are members of the cabbage family too.

Here is good link to a post about this pest: Cabbage White Butterfly Caterpillar

Problem-solving – Mealy Bug Infestation

While watering my succulents I noticed the dreaded white fluff of a Mealy Bug. Oh no. I have had experience with these pests in the past and know they can become a full-blown infestation. I wasted no time in treating the infested plant.

I like to use organic products and things I already have around the house. For Organic Mealy Bug Treatment Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol is a good choice. Using a Q-tip I touched the saturated tip to the back of the mealy bug. As I checked the plant I saw a few more of his family residing along the stems and treated them too. Further down there were more, oh no, it was beginning to look like an infestation, time for more drastic measures. I filled an atomizer with some of the alcohol and sprayed the entire plant. I left it on for a few moments and then washed all the foliage in tepid water. Most organic pest control sites recommend watering the alcohol down first, but for a hardy succulent, straight out the bottle did no harm. If I was treating one of my african violets I would definitely water the solution down before using.

I knew I had to check all the plants that were in the same room with the infested succulent, and sure enough, on one coleus I found the beginnings of more mealy bugs. Hopefully the intervention with rubbing alcohol has eradicated the problem.