Author Topic: What is eating my white sapote leaves?  (Read 404 times)

FigoVelo

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What is eating my white sapote leaves?
« on: September 28, 2022, 03:29:11 PM »
Hi everyone. I live in northern California, where some small critter -- presumably a "bug" of some sort -- has been munching away at my white sapotes' leaves, especially but not entirely the new growth. The small trees are vigorous and trying diligently to get bigger, but this pest is hindering progress. I would like to identify the culprit and take care of it, hopefully without having to use chemical products. I originally suspected this was earwigs, but after setting out baited oil-and-soy-sauce traps, which have worked well in the past, but getting no earwigs, I wonder if something else might be at work. That said, it might very well be earwigs as they have been problematic in my yard before.

Ideas? Advice? See the attached pics.

Thanks,
Alastair






Jack, Nipomo

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Re: What is eating my white sapote leaves?
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2022, 03:56:50 PM »
Go out and check the leaves at night with a flash light. 

Oolie

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Re: What is eating my white sapote leaves?
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2022, 04:36:13 PM »
For me it's always been swallowtail butterfly larvae, they look like bird droppings. Usually you can spot the eggs before they hatch and knock them off.

sc4001992

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Re: What is eating my white sapote leaves?
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2022, 05:28:14 PM »
I agree, swallow tail. Here's some photos of the big ones, they can be smaller.
Could also be grasshopper.





Gulfgardener

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Re: What is eating my white sapote leaves?
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2022, 06:57:59 PM »
If it makes you feel any better, the plants recover very quickly. It may seem like a lot of damage on a small plant but it's like they go into hyperdrive afterwards. If anything it encourages branching.

FigoVelo

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Re: What is eating my white sapote leaves?
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2022, 09:36:29 AM »
I went outside last night after dark and found a few earwigs on my trees. No sign of any other pest. I will remain diligent.

Are these types of issues best dealt with by manually removing the pests?

Thanks.
Alastair

Jack, Nipomo

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Re: What is eating my white sapote leaves?
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2022, 01:05:59 PM »
You can pick off earwigs.  Find their hiding places.  Or there is an earwig bait that can be sprinkled at the base of the trees (lightly).  Here we have masses hiding between fence cross boards and the post.  There are also stacked leaves, boards, etc. that they like.  Chickens are my solution, don't see earwigs now, but had lots of similar damage to yours before.

sc4001992

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Re: What is eating my white sapote leaves?
« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2022, 02:07:42 PM »
I see swallow tail larvae on my tree all year long. It only takes one to eat most of the leaves off one branch in a day. Look closely and you may see one hanging on the leaf or branch. Just remove them if you find it and smash it, works well. When they are small, it is about 1" long, the big ones are like the photo, 2" long and ugly.

NateTheGreat

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Re: What is eating my white sapote leaves?
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2022, 03:19:51 PM »
I get similar damage on a lot of plants from Mexican Katydids. I just manually remove them. They're hard to spot but I kill maybe ten per year, kill the adults when I spot them at night on the windows attracted to the light. I think the damage is usually from juveniles, and that they are active during the day.

FigoVelo

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Re: What is eating my white sapote leaves?
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2022, 09:06:37 AM »
Just found another earwig on one of my small WS trees. I am starting to believe this is what I am dealing with. I guess I need to let the chickens run free, but we're afraid they'll destroy the garden beds.

I have placed bowls with olive oil and cooked salty fish scraps as bait, and the earwigs have swarmed in and drowned. I've probably killed about 2 dozen that way. When the population is booming, as it has been at times in recent years, it's possible to kill 20 per trap per night. Oil plus nutritional yeast, soy sauce or fish seems to be the best bait combo.

 

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