bugsy M ?

by Lilly
(Rondebosch)

bam bam bam ?

bam bam bam ?

Hi Caroline

I found these perfect round holes in the leaf of a chili plant. What causes them ?
Is it a gun toting garden denizen doing target practice ?

thanks

Lilly

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Apr 11, 2017
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WHO SHOT THE CHILI LEAF ?
by: Caroline

Dear Lilly

I've done a bit of internet research and consulted three books I have on insects. I can't find the culprit as the perfect roundness of these holes as well as the small number of them is very seldom replicated anywhere.

I have three suspects, flea beetles, which seem to be a global problem, then the Diamond Backed Moth larva, which is local and attacks brassicas most or other leaves, and leaf cutter bees.
Most insects that make holes eat a lot more holes and make much messier coalesced holes. A hungry caterpillar would not just eat a couple of holes in one leaf on a plant and be done, the whole plant would be attacked and slowly emptied down its hungry gullet. They would probably be laid in a set of eggs so there would be many caterpillars with significant damage. Unless they were all eaten by a predator they fact that they seemed to have vanished after doing so little damage is suspicious. Flea beetles likewise, leave devastation in their wake. the only thing which speaks for them is that the adults have a preference for a certain type of plant. If you have only observed these holes on chili plants it would make sense. These flea beetles seem to have come and vanished mysteriously again, and you did not speak of your plants being devastated by numerous signs of eating. The isolated damage points in the direction of an airborne culprit, who flew in and then flew off, and did not remain in the vicinity hungrily finishing off its lovely food source. It points to bees. But, they usually cut perfect half circles out of the leaf edge, and don't make round holes in the middle of the leaf, so I'm a bit flummoxed. In the case of flea beetles and especially in the case of bees, the organic recommendations are to do nothing. If it is doing no major damage I would definitely just leave it. If you spray insecticides, organic and plant based or not, you will kill other insects and 85% of your garden insects are not harmful to your plants but actually help you and do your work for you, hunting the garden pests if their numbers increase too much. When in doubt, when damage is bearable, always do nothing. Isn't that a nice piece of news for the harassed gardener !

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