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Re: Pod Damage

  • Subject: Re: Pod Damage
  • From: "J. Griffin Crump" <jgcrump@cox.net>
  • Date: Tue, 3 Jul 2007 09:41:18 -0500

Vicki  --  I suffered just such damage earlier this season, posted a photo, and received these answers from Donald Eaves and Linda Mann:
Donald:  Looks like cutworm damage to me. They will crawl up the stalk at night
and then crawl back down before daylight and hide in the surface of the
soil during the day. Usually they will crawl the same stalk again, or
one very near the following night. Solutions are a flashlight and
mushing sometime after it's gotten quite dark. Taking some Sevin dust
and sprinkling that over the pods will deter further damage. The best
solution I've found for cutworms are a beetle I call the 'ammonia
beetle'. These are shiny black or irredescent green. The name I use
comes from the fumes (no other word will do) they emit when disturbed.
I learned that lesson in grade school after I stuck my nose in a
mayonnaise jar that I'd partially filled with them. Nearly asphyxiated
myself. Those beetles do love cutworms, though, and can be seen
dragging the largest ones across the surface of the soil at midday on
the hottest of days. They tend to be a nuisance bug in offices and I
used to gather them up and bring them home and release them. My
cutworm population suffered a big hit and this wet year is the first
I've seen of much damage and it's still minor. I probably thinned out
the beetles somewhat fighting grasshoppers, but fortunately didn't
eliminate them. Keeping these beetles around is a great long-term
solution for cutworms. Damage will be insignificant and rare if you
can keep the beetles around.

Linda:  Griff, it looks like common stalk borer (NOT dreaded iris borer) or some
other kind of moth larvae. Common occurrence here. I did a lot of
stalk borer hunting last summer and it seems to have helped a lot here.
They often hit the stalks as well as pods. When I only have a few
pods, I sometimes do surgery to get out the larvae - razor blade or
scalpel the hole big enough to find the larvae, then fish it out with

They eat and damage some of the seeds, but not all.

So, now you know as much as I do.  I'll be opening those pods soon, and we'll see then what the seed situation is.  --  Griff
----- Original Message -----
From: Vicki
Sent: Tuesday, July 03, 2007 7:38 AM
Subject: [iris-photos] Pod Damage

Do any of you encounter a problem like this?  I have no idea what kind of 'insect' has burrowed into this pod and destroyed the seed.  This has occured on several pods this season.  There will be good seed in the other two sections if it is anything like the last pod I opened.

Statements made on and attachments (including but not limited to photographs of irises or people) sent to this list are the sole responsibility of the individual participants and are not endorsed by, or attributable to, or under the control of the moderator of this list.
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