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  #1  
Old 06/10/11, 05:03 PM
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Ants eating eggplant leaves?

I've been a lurker on this site for a few months now (although I did post once). This is my second attempt at gardening; the first was at least 12 years ago now and actually did quite well, but I got lazy.

So to my question. My eggplant (black beauty) has small holes in most of the leaves and I can see a few ants crawling on them and in the dirt around them. I am assuming that the ants are what's eating the leaves; I don't see anything else. What can I do to keep the ants from eating the leaves? Can my eggplant survive? I only planted the garden a week ago and everything else is looking good right now, both the plants I started indoors from seed and the seeds planted directly which are just starting to sprout.

Thank you for any help or suggestions.

Paula

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  #2  
Old 06/10/11, 09:22 PM
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Missouri
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Sorry, no answers, but will wait with you for others to respond!

But am suffering right along with you! I have "powdered" the leaves with Sevin in an attempt to get whatever is eating the leaves to lay off........does not appear to be happening! The plant continues to grow and add new leaves, but is not attractive at all! None of my leaves are full.

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  #3  
Old 06/10/11, 11:14 PM
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Central Arkansas
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Flea beetles are usually what does this to my eggplants. Flea beetles are about the size of fleas and hop away quickly when you approach them. Despite, their prolific leaf chomping, I've still managed to harvest good amounts of eggplant. The plants would have likely been better off without the flea beetles, but I'm sort of scared of pesticides, so unless the pest is killing the plant outright, I don't use it. Sometimes it's okay to let the bugs live and just plant more plants so that you get the harvest size you want. Because I don't use pesticides, I have a garden crawling with spiders, lizards, snakes, and frogs all of which do a great job of eating bugs.

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  #4  
Old 06/11/11, 10:09 AM
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Ants also will feed on the "honeydew" secreted by aphids or scale insects.

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  #5  
Old 06/14/11, 11:28 AM
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Thank you. I went out and looked under the leaves, but I don't see any aphids. The ants haven't been out either since it's been cloudy/showering for the past few days. Some of the plants don't look like they'll make it, but others look like they might survive. Once the sun finally comes out again, I'll check again to see if I see anything. Again, thank you for the help.

Paula

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  #6  
Old 06/14/11, 12:12 PM
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Small holes in the leaves generally mean flea beetles. Ants would cut out pieces from edges. Takes a good eye to see the flea beetles but they are probably there. Ants were probably trying to catch them.

Martin

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  #7  
Old 06/14/11, 12:13 PM
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Southern NY
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My eggplant always looks awful( because of flea beetles) but I get lots of eggplant. If you use Sevin you need to dust the bottoms of the leaves not just the tops.

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  #8  
Old 06/14/11, 06:23 PM
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It is flea beetles. When I looked again, I could see them. There doesn't seem to be too many on the plants; but I guess I'd better do something. Thanks!

Paula

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  #9  
Old 06/15/11, 08:41 AM
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Upstate New York
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I also have trouble with flea beetles on my eggplants, and I'm not comfortable using Sevin, but I've found some other ways to back the beetles off. Food grade diatomaceous earth (DE) dusted thickly on the leaves seems to stop things eating them, but has to be renewed whenever it rains. Coffee grounds sprinkled thickly around the base of the plant repel flea beetles and other insects. And for some reason when we plant our eggplants in a cold frame off to the side of the garden, even though the windows are usual open, fewer beetles seem to find the plants.
Good luck.
Joanna

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  #10  
Old 07/03/12, 09:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoannaCW View Post
Food grade diatomaceous earth (DE) dusted thickly on the leaves seems to stop things eating them, but has to be renewed whenever it rains. Coffee grounds sprinkled thickly around the base of the plant repel flea beetles and other insects.
DE works good for me too. Like you said it doesn't last through the rain which means several repeats during the rain months of Florida. Thanks for the idea of the coffee grinds it seems like a bit longer solution. Think I might try that or a combo of both. Thanks!!
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