Brassicas are their favorite, and Brassicas are THE SoCal winter garden plant! I’ve seen them here and there lately, but this morning found infested mulch! YUK and bummer!
- What some of the local organic farmers are doing is planting mustards as a trap plant. Giant red mustards give them plenty to munch on. If you find mustard transplants at your nursery, buy them without delay! The Bagradas prefer them, so they go there rather than your brocs.
- Mind you, you still have to remove the Bagadas by whatever means you prefer, or the brocs are next. Bagradas are fast reproducers, make virtual swarms, and when they suck juices from your plant toxic disease producing stuff gets in your plant. In hot temps, I’ve seen a 1 1/2 foot tall plant go down in 3 days.
- I highly suggest biodiversity, interplanting – that’s mixing it up, even interplanting different varieties of the same plant (especially broccolis), rather than monoculturing – a row of a single kind of plant. With rows of a single plant, the pest or disease simply goes plant to plant and you lose the whole row. This also stops leafminers (typical on soft leaved chard & beets) from going plant to plant. Slows them way down.
- Plant so mature plant leaves don’t touch! Stop the ease of transmission. If you can’t help yourself, and go monoculture, plant too close, clip back the between leaves so they don’t touch.
- Remove infested or diseased leaves immediately. Hold a bucket underneath the area you are going to clip. Bagradas drop to the ground the moment you disturb the plant. The bucket catches them and the leaves. DO NOT lay the leaves or trim on the ground. Eggs you might not see hatch quickly, defeating your clipping. Tie them in a plastic bag, and take them to the TRASH, not in compost or green waste. Simply moving Bagradas doesn’t work. They fly.
- Don’t lay down mulch, instead, remove any mulch you see them in, and from around infested or susceptible plants until the Bagrada season is OVER. They hide out in the mulch, mate like crazy, then climb back up on the plant when you are gone. I’ve seen it. Stand very still and wait…sure enough, there they come. That’s your second chance to remove, euphemism for kill, some more.
- For plants other than Brassicas, use mycorrhizae fungi when you plant. The fungi network linking your plants is proven that when one plant gets a disease or pest, it warns the neighbor plant. That plant then boosts its own defenses!
Here is the link to some additional really excellent information at UC IPM (Integrated Pest Management) published Jan 2014.
Good luck, Dear Gardeners. Let us know your stories.