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Old 09-09-2007, 06:38 PM
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Mystery Night Plant Muncher - HELP !!!!!!!

I have a "night visitor" in my GH.

This freeloader has been munching on the bulbs of my Rossiogolssum, Iwangaara, Coelogyne, Dendrobiums and also the leaves as well.

I have recently repoted most plants and found nothing untoward in their potting mixes, but changed them anyway, after closely checking the new mix as I was preparing it.

I thought that this would have erradicated the problem, but not so.

For the past week all plants in the GH have been sprayed 2 to 3 times with Pest Oil which is a white oil derivative. In the morning, NEW munch marks !!!

Now after a week you think this critter would have met their maker, but obviously not.

This is ocurring on upper, middle and lower shelves, which are of a course wire mesh construction which makes it difficult for snail and slugs to traverse, I know,............ I experimented with some.

So does this then indicate a flying muncher ???? or would mice do this ?

How can this thing survive a poison that I know knocks the socks off of most creepy crawly plant munchers ?

The only avenue left I assume is to fumigate the GH. For the GH owners out there, is this an option, or would it harm the plants???

I am open to any suggestions.

And yes, I even tried my own remedy of drowning the potting mixes but nothing floated to the top.

I am at a total loss and at my wits end how to combat this marauder's nocturnal eating habits.

I can no longer show certain plants in the3 next few months because of the damage they have caused, they are no longer in pristine condition required for judging. AAAAAAHHHHHHH !
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Old 09-09-2007, 06:56 PM
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Voles, moles or small mice might be the culprits. Set a few traps Anton and
see if you catch anything. They can climb anywhere!
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Old 09-09-2007, 07:42 PM
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Eliminate voles and moles, we don't have them here in Oz. )

Mice was a thought, but the munch marks are too small and widespread to be a wee moose loose in the hoos. They would have taken bigger chunks out of the bulbs I think, and I don't think they would be interesterd in muching on leaves.

But, I may be wrong.
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Old 09-09-2007, 08:00 PM
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I vote mouse or other similar small critter like that.
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Old 09-09-2007, 08:19 PM
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The GH IS secure from all but creepy crawlies.

There are no gaps, holes, or other orifici that a moos could squeeze into, I was quite pedantic about that when I built it.

The only gap is the door which is only opened when I go inside, and it is always immediately shut after me even when I go inside the GH.

When I get home from work tonight I'll post some pikkies. The munch marks resemble snail and slug type marks and most are in the middle of the bulbs, where a mouse would tend to go more for the edges.

Mind you the plants have both, that is what is confusing.
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Old 09-09-2007, 08:36 PM
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How about a shrew.They are smaller than a mouse and eat vegetation, leafs, ect.
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Old 09-09-2007, 10:08 PM
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Well Anton the proof is there before your eyes. Your greenhouse is apparently not as secure as you think since something is getting in and out and munching in the process....unless the plants are eating each other or you've got futuristic vermin that are transporting themselves in and out of your completely secure greenhouse.
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Old 09-09-2007, 10:10 PM
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Anton

If you think its snails or slugs, try laying out some copper around the base of the plants. Strip some wire or try and get some copper strips. It will kill the slugs. For mice and such, try sticky traps. That way if it is a bug you might get lucky and catch that also. Tony M.
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Old 09-10-2007, 06:12 AM
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Shrews and mice will leave distinguishable teeth marks.

Anton's line of thinking is right.

Could you cover some plants with plastic at night? If you can try and cover as many as you can and leave the ones they are after in trays or some other containers filled with water.

That way you can eliminate the crawlers or positively confirm that the culprits are crawlers( some will invariably drown).

You could also sprinkle some paprika,pepper mix around the pots to ward off the attackers.

I hope you get to contain the problem soon.

Good luck.
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Old 09-10-2007, 08:01 AM
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OK, NO shrews in Australia.

No mouse droppings, no smell of mouse urine, no sign of snail or slug droppings.

Here's images of the damage.
Attached Thumbnails
p9100004.jpg   p9100005.jpg   p9100007.jpg   p9100008.jpg   p9100009.jpg   p9100010.jpg   p9100014.jpg   p9100015.jpg  

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Old 09-10-2007, 08:03 AM
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And some more, plus a couple of pikkies in the GH for general interest.
Attached Thumbnails
p9100017.jpg   p9100018.jpg   p9100019.jpg   p9100020.jpg   p9100021.jpg  
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Old 09-10-2007, 11:50 AM
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Anton, sorry to learn about your night muncher and I have a few questions; is your GH reasonably well sealed with the doors and windows closed? Have you attempted to surprise the culprit by making visits at odd times when it is dark armed with a strong light and a parang? Please let me know if you think the GH would retain a gaseous substance for upwards of 15 minutes as I may have the answer to your trouble. I would also like some idea of the L W H of the house.

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Old 09-10-2007, 01:03 PM
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Is it totally sealed? Have you got rabbit fencing a foot below the surface all the way round?

It is quite odd, a mouse would usually leave droppings, and to make lots of small nibbles from orchids would surely not be what they want to eat.

but i cannot think of creatur with such a bite size. Mice can sneak in pretty much anywhere mind.

How clear is your greenhouse? I would remove everything but the orchids and have a thorough check in bags of compost etc.

Put down some traps, you may well catch something.

have you got a good sound recorder? It sounds silly, but if you have a good one, and can upload it, with abit of software you can quickly look through it for possible loud sounds during the night.

Depends how quiet your area is mind.

CCTV maybe help too
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Old 09-10-2007, 06:42 PM
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A brief history.

I used to breed African Lovebirds and bought this small metal aviary to house my Black Masked Lovebirds due to a mouse problem at the time.

It was dug into the ground and surrounded by paving bricks 2 deep, on edge and with a walking path around the aviary of 3 wide. There is gaqlvanized tin 18" wide buried around the perimeter of the aviary.

I NEVER, EVER had a mouse problem in that aviary ! The big avairies, yes, but this one no.

A few years ago it was laying idle after I had sold all my birds to go work in the States and my son converted it into a frog habitat.

As he had tree frogs, to stop them escaping he covered the open, wired areas with shade cloth, sealing it with silicon to also stop the crickets we fed to the frogs escaping and creating a deafening noise in our yard at night.

Again never had a problem with mice, they love both frogs and crickets.

Son "finds othr interests" abandons "frogarium" and so dad converts it to a GH. I dug the floor out to 2 1/2 feet, put in 1 1/2 feety of paving sand, compacted it hard, laid pavers on the floor, and around the edge where I had dug out, laid pavers on edge and cemented them around the inside perimeter of the GH.

NO WAY can a mouse get in there unless they chew on the shade cloth, then there would be signs of "forced entry.

At present it is also sealed inside and out with bubble wrap as insulation against the cold. The only venting is high up near the roof and to the best of my knowledge I haven't heard of a mouse yet that can scale verticle tin walls 6 feet high !

So BILL, yes it is sealed and the dimensions are L 7 feet, W 5 '5", H 6' 7".

The short answer is if I build something, a lot of planning goes into it before the first nail is hit, measure twice, cut once. I have been a technician all my life and build things to the same phylosophy.
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Old 09-10-2007, 06:53 PM
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My first thought was mice, but seeing the damage, snails and slugs scrape the surface of leaves, and it looks a lot like that might be the culprit. It is a puzzle as you have treated the plants recently, still, it wouldnot hurt to put out some snail pellets.
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Old 09-10-2007, 06:53 PM
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An orchid vampire!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hang garlic, sharpen a spike, find that coffin in the middle of the day and force sunshine on the bugger!! (good luck, are you wearing a cross with garlic around your neck? Are there any virgins in your home? Put garlic on her, too!!!!)
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Old 09-10-2007, 08:09 PM
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The pattern of gnawing is quite inconsistent from plant to plant to be a the work of one culprit. Caterpillars (night dwelling) and perhaps cockroaches are both a possibility.

You could try to spray eucalyptus oil. I have no idea if that will hurt the orchids.

I hope you eradicate the critters as soon as possible.

Good luck.

chefatplay: I love Dracula and vampires and I am yet to find a vampire that can live on plant sap. If they did Bram Stoker would have had a bit of a problem
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Old 09-10-2007, 09:08 PM
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Ellen, what's a virgin ?

Cockies, now that's something I hadn't thought about.

I go into the GH at all odd hours and haven't caught anything yet.
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Old 09-11-2007, 03:47 AM
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It looks like what grasshoppers do to our plants here, and they are perfectly capable of scaling things. I don't know if you have them there, and it is still kind of cold there is it not, but that is what it looks like. I have a phal that I bought has some of the same marks, and the place I got it was crawling with the buggers as was the plant. Just a thought, perhaps it is something similar, or from the same family.
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Old 09-11-2007, 06:27 AM
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No hoppers, too cold, but they wouldn't be able to get in anyway.

The ONLY creepy crawlies I have seen are little black ants (met their maker), what we call slaters, I think in the States you call them pill bugs, and that's it, Oh, and the flying little thingies that look like fruit fly and live in the potting mix. I don't think their mouths are quite THAT big !

Last night I put the bulbous plants in a large flat tray and sprinkled flour in it to see if there were any tracks left, but no.......
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Old 09-11-2007, 07:31 AM
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Well, if it's not a vegan vampire then it looks like a cockroach to me. Our roaches in FL get so big, that kind of damage would be easy for them. Good luck. Unfortunately, it looks like there are quite a few, so I can't figure out why you wouldn't see them.
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Old 09-11-2007, 07:56 AM
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Tonight I sprayed surface spray all around the inside perimeter of the GH as I saw some earwigs running around when I turned the light on.

Not sure if they can climb ?
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Old 09-11-2007, 08:12 AM
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OK Anton, the GH is not too large and I think that the cure may work. The first thing; you need a source of dry ice. If you can't obtain solid CO2 then don't bother reading the rest. Assuming you can, the next things you need are three fairly large buckets capable of holding about two galls. of water.
You place the buckets in the GH equidistant along the length, and you load each bucket about half full of dry ice. You are now going to create a large amount of CO2 gas. You do not let the ice melt since it would drop the temp. of the GH and freeze all, so you bring enough hot water to nearly fill the buckets and the ice starts to melt rapidly and fill the GH full of CO2. Start with the bucket furthest from the door then pour the hot water into the other two as you get out of the GH fairly rapidly.YOU DO NOT STAY IN THE GH ONCE THE PROCESS HAS BEGUN. Close the door and leave overnight and anything that depends on air to breathe will not be alive in the morning. Make sure that the GH is fully ventilated before entering .
Don't worry about the plants; plants love CO2.

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Old 09-11-2007, 08:59 AM
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The fish tackle shop 5 minutes from me sells dry ice.

Love it ! So simple and final.

Make for a great video.

Thanks Bill I'll have to give it aa try. I will wait until I see if the surface spray works first............THEN.............
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Old 09-11-2007, 08:59 AM
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I would agree with the grasshopper or cockroach thing. It could be crickets as well. I hope you find out soon.
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Old 09-11-2007, 11:02 AM
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I will have to put the dry ice cure in my memory banks. AHHHHHHH well, I will put it in the computer memory banks as my personal memory banks seemed to have lost their recall function the last few years.
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Old 09-11-2007, 11:07 AM
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Anton,

Do you have earwhigs down there? They are nasty and seem to eat through anything.

The snails got to my chids while I was away on vacation. #@$%!!!!!

NancyG
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Old 09-11-2007, 11:08 AM
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very clever Bill!!!
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Old 09-11-2007, 11:34 AM
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nice one, hope it works Anton!
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Old 09-11-2007, 05:29 PM
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Does anyone have a picture of an earwig? I know older men start to grow hair on their ears instead of their heads, but I never knew they went to the extreme of buying ear wigs????????????
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Old 09-11-2007, 05:31 PM
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Ellen - pics of earwigs:

http://images.google.co.uk/images?hl...h+Images&gbv=2
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Old 09-11-2007, 05:35 PM
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Thank you, Tizzy. Whew, glad there really aren't ear wigs available after all. Those bugs are ugly. They look like they could cause quite a bit of damage.
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Old 09-11-2007, 06:14 PM
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Think I have found the culprit !

The gap between the GH pavers which it is laying on, is around an inch and a half just to give you an indication of size.
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Old 09-11-2007, 06:24 PM
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Glad to see you caught you culprit! looks like a crime scene, all it needs is a little white chalk line around him Lets hope he didn't invite any friends! otherwise you may have to get them as well
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Old 09-11-2007, 06:33 PM
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Well done Anton, are you sure there is only one of them? Looks something like a cockroach. Did you find it laying upside down or did you strike it to cause it to adopt that position? Keep a good lokout......there may be more!!

Bill
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Old 09-11-2007, 06:49 PM
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Anton is a glorious beacon of lightAnton is a glorious beacon of lightAnton is a glorious beacon of lightAnton is a glorious beacon of lightAnton is a glorious beacon of lightAnton is a glorious beacon of light
It is a cocky and this is how he was after i fumigated the GH last night, so I think his mates, if any, have ended up the same way.
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Old 09-11-2007, 06:57 PM
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Congrats on your trophy from your hunt Anton. Are you going to mount it above the fireplace?

Glad to hear that you got him, hopefully there are no more.

Amazing to think that these things are expected live through a nuclear winter, but a little dry ice will kill them. Great way to get rid of them Bill. I will have to remember that one.

jay
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Old 09-11-2007, 07:07 PM
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good job with getting that pest
I am pleased for you Anton

I like the way the cocky is playing dead for the pic
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Old 09-11-2007, 08:49 PM
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You can sleep like a baby now,Anton
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Old 09-11-2007, 09:53 PM
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Anton is a glorious beacon of lightAnton is a glorious beacon of lightAnton is a glorious beacon of lightAnton is a glorious beacon of lightAnton is a glorious beacon of lightAnton is a glorious beacon of light
Didn't need to resort to the dry ice, but that one IS in the memory banks.

The "trophy" is down at the taxidermists now.

NEXT !
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Old 09-11-2007, 10:11 PM
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LOL, Anton! You DO want to keep it as a souvenir? hehehe.

Just a word of caution: While BillC's method is very effective it should not be taken lightly. So if and when you want to try it , I think , it should be tried as a last resort. Additionally not any other animal ( especially cats or small dogs or pet birds), should enter the enclosure until well after aeration, following the CO2 Rx.

CO2 being heavier than air will remain close to the surface and will require some heavy blowing to get rid of it. There are various degrees of brain damage that occur with exposure to CO2, not necessarily death alone.

Since many of you are "storing it in th memory bank", I thought I will just mention this as a caution.

I am sorry if it is uncalled for.
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Old 09-11-2007, 10:55 PM
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Anton is a glorious beacon of lightAnton is a glorious beacon of lightAnton is a glorious beacon of lightAnton is a glorious beacon of lightAnton is a glorious beacon of lightAnton is a glorious beacon of light
No, definately not uncalled for, OH&S warnings are always accepted !

With my aging brain, nobody's going to notice any changes anyway.
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Old 09-12-2007, 02:38 AM
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The great bug hunt of 2007, may they rest in, well, unrest. Got their just desserts. I actually was trying to find out what this heinous bug was that I found buried in my dend a month ago, and earwig it was, 'shudder'. it was sent to it's maker posthaste when I found it, but I thought it most nasty looking lol. This thread was pretty helpful to me at least.
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Old 09-12-2007, 04:22 PM
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One of the most recent AOS magazines recommends putting apple slices on the media overnight to catch slugs. That's another remedy to keep in the memory banks.
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