What is eating my strawberries: Organic Controls

What is eating my strawberries? As strawberry plants and strawberry flowers begin to bloom, they bring with them the promise of sweet juicy strawberries come summer. But strawberry plants also attract many types of insects as well. One of these is the tarnished plant bug, a small black and brown insect which feeds on strawberry plants.

They usually eat strawberry leaves and flowers, but can sometimes eat newly-ripened strawberry fruits as well. If their eggs are laid in early spring, they will quickly hatch into nymphs and young adult insects that can continue damaging your strawberry crop throughout the season. Fortunately, there are ways to control these harmful bugs before they begin to wreck havoc on your strawberry plants – from basic cultural controls such as keeping the area around strawberry plants weed free to careful introduction of beneficial insects such as ladybugs or lacewings for natural pest managment.

Two-spotted spider mites

What is eating my strawberries

When two-spotted spider mites nibble away at strawberry plant leaves, it can produce surprisingly sweet results! In moderation the pest’s appetite is beneficial for enhancing flavor – but if their numbers get out of control your crop will be in peril.

Guard your strawberry patch from two-spotted spider mite invasion with nature’s own defense system! Plant companion vegetation that discourages their presence or host predatory insects and wasps to naturally ward them off.

If two-spotted spider mite numbers start to soar, blasting them with a powerful spritz of water is the best way to put an end the infestation. Insecticidal soaps and pesticides can be effective but should only be used as a last resort since they could harm beneficial insects too.

Fruit Flies

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Strawberries are a sweet and juicy treat, but there’s something sinister lurking in the background. Fruit flies may be small and harmless to humans, but they can create big problems for our favorite summer berry!

The adults lay their eggs on strawberries before or after picking them which hatch quickly into larvae that even attract other unwelcome pests like cockroaches. So beware of these tiny intruders as you reach out your hand to pluck those luscious fruits off the vine – it pays to keep an eye out for fruit fly invasions!

Rid your garden of pesky fruit flies with a simple DIY solution! Fill a jar or bowl and secure it with holes in its lid. Add an enticing mixture of apple cider vinegar and dish soap to attract the unwelcome visitors, then let them drown – no need for harsh chemicals that could endanger wildlife. For more advice on environmentally friendly pest control, check in with your local county extension agent.

To eat strawberries from a resilient and productive garden, it is important to practice preventative measures. To prevent troubles, harvest often and check the growing strawberries slugs for overripe ones that may have already attracted fruit flies.

Remove any bad berries and plant debris as soon as you can, as eggs hatch laid by female fruit flies onto the surface of overripe berries will hatch in as few as two days! Additionally, avoid fertilizing with manure during fruiting season; this will discourage female fruit flies from settling into your strawberry garden bed. If you find that your crop has been affected by these marauders, try a garlic spray – just be sure to reapply if it rains.

Strawberry bud weevils

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These pesky strawberry bud weevils, or “strawberry clippers,” can wreak havoc on your precious plants! Bearing a striking reddish-brown color with black spots and an elongated curved snout, these tiny bugs eat the immature pollen before laying eggs inside buds – then cut them off of the plant.

To evict pesky strawberry bud weevils, pick up any infested petals that have dropped and give your plants a good spray with insecticidal soap. The key is to keep spraying until you can be sure the little clippers are gone for good.

Get rid of those pesky bugs quickly and easily by handpicking the adults, dropping them in soapy water or applying sticky tape around your plants. Your strawberries will thank you!

To ensure your juicy strawberries are safe from the tiny jaws of strawberry bud weevils, give them only what they need–not a single drop more. Keep things neat and tidy too; clear away fallen leaves, grass clippings, and any excess vegetation for best results!

Tarnished plant bugs

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Eating your own organic strawberries from your own garden is a dream come true for many, but one thing that could immediately put a stop to this dream are strawberry bugs. Tarnished plant bugs can cause catastrophic damage to strawberry crops even in small numbers, as both adults and nymphs feed on strawberry plants targeting buds and young developing fruit.

The nymphs inject a digestive toxin as they go along which stops the fruit from maturing any further. You should take all necessary precautions when it comes to pest management, if you want to enjoy the fruits of your labor and be able to eat fresh strawberry pies all summer long.

In mid-spring, it is important to cut back weeds near your strawberry patch. This will help to stop the migration of the first generation of strawberry bugs to maintain the health of your organic strawberries and keep them safe for eating.

Additionally, avoid mowing alfalfa or other crops that may attract tarnished plant bug pests while your strawberrries are in bloom. Planting pollen and nectar-rich flowering plants like asters, coreopsis, yarrow, and cosmos will bring in their natural predators such as minute pirate bugs, big-eyed bugs, damsel bugs, or some types of spiders – all ready to attack any strawberry insect intruders.

To keep your plants healthy and thriving, it’s important to stay ahead of pesky tarnished plant bugs. If they’ve already arrived in the area, enlist help from a county extension agent to find out which pesticide works best for keeping them away!

Strawberry sap beetles

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Don’t be fooled by their tiny size – strawberry sap beetles can create big problems for your berry patch! These ⅛” pests leave marks of mischief with small, deep holes in strawberries that look much like what slugs do. Not only are the berries ruined but they may also carry fungi which spread to other fruits and worsen the damage. Protect those precious red treats before these invaders strike!

Avoiding strawberry sap beetles doesn’t have to be a struggle – you can easily take control of the situation and keep them away from your patch with some handy homemade bait traps. Place a bucket or other steep-sided container several feet away from where your strawberries are growing; pesticides might not work, so these simple but effective DIY solutions will do the trick!

Keep those pesky beetles away with a tantalizing trap! All you need is some stale beer, molasses and yeast concoction or vinegar–or if none of that tickles your fancy try making an irresistible mix of water, overripe fruit, and one drop liquid dish soap. Refresh the bait every few days to ensure they will keep coming back for more!

To keep strawberry sap beetles at bay, regular harvests are essential. Be sure to pick off any overripe, damaged or diseased fruit promptly so the little critters don’t get a chance to take up residence in your strawberries!


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Aphids can be a troublesome pest on your strawberry plants, especially when eggs that were left by adults hatch and start eating the leaves of your tender young plants. Infestations can cause growth distortions, yellowed or dropped leaves and even the spread of diseases that put the health of your entire crop at risk.

To combat this problem, you can make a vinegar spray with a 1:3 ratio of vinegar to water and apply it to cover both stems and undersides of leaves where aphids tend to hide. This should be repeated in a week’s time in order to make sure all eggs have been destroyed.

Another approach could be using insecticidal soap spray with a few drops per gallon of water for optimal efficiency. Lastly, don’t forget about overripe strawberries that fall from the vine; aphids particularly like these ripe fruits and having them around will only encourage their population from growing further! Taking preventive measures is essential to ensure your strawberry plant stays healthy while allowing you to reap its delicious fruit every season.

Prevention is the best defense when it comes to warding off aphid infestations in your garden. Slow-release fertilizers are more beneficial than quick-release high-nitrogen fertilizers because they don’t lay eggs on their leaves as quickly.

To further protect your plants, alliums such as onions and garlic should be planted nearby as well; aphids despise their smell and will stay away. Utilizing flowers and pollen is also a great natural way to attract ladybugs and lacewings – both of which love eating aphids before they have time to lay eggs and become a problem.

Even small and deep holes filled with beer traps near strawberry plants can trap slugs; while neem oil can be applied directly to decaying spots around your garden in order to stop any existing infestations from spreading.


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Armyworms are voracious eaters, capable of decimating tender strawberry crops! These pesky caterpillars can be identified by their bright yellow stripes across a green, brown or black body. They particularly enjoy feasting on the crowns and newly sprouted leaves of young plants – leaving devastation in their wake.

Keep armyworms at bay by taking an active approach – pick them off, spray insecticidal soap, or apply diatomaceous earth. For longer-term solutions that don’t require so much effort on your part invite some beneficial bugs and birds to the party – assassin bugs can track down any stragglers while parasitic wasps lay eggs in their larvae for a surefire way of containing the problem before it gets out of hand.

Loopers or Inchworms

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Loopers, mischievous little inchworms with their thin white stripes, love noshing on strawberry plants. To get around they perform a unique motion – looping the two ends of their bodies together to pass from one delicious leafy spot to another!

But beware: these green caterpillars can wreak havoc by munching away and creating large holes in leaves that prevent photosynthesis – so don’t let them crash your berry party!

Keep strawberry plants inchworm-free with natural predators! Assassin bugs, parasitic wasps, and bug-eating birds are the perfect solution. Attract these helpful critters by planting pollen and nectar rich flowers nearby to provide food for them.

If this isn’t enough protection from loopers, pluck them off your strawberries one at a time and drown each in soapy water or spray with insecticidal soap if necessary.


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Unwelcome garden guests, cutworms can wreak havoc on newly-planted fall strawberry fields. Hungry for leaves and stems at ground level, these critters are capable of significantly shrinking the size of young crowns – ultimately resulting in a diminished fruit yield come harvest time!

Eliminate pesky cutworms with a two-pronged attack – manual picking and strategic spraying. Take the time to search for them amongst leaves, then drop your capture in an aquatic prison of soapy water! Make sure when you spray around the plant’s base that no detail is overlooked – ward off future troublemakers.

Keep cutworms away from your transplants with a few simple tricks! Wielding scissors in the garden, snip weeds and remove any leaf litter to deny them a place for egg-laying. Wrap plants up snugly by sliding aluminum foil or cardboard collars several inches below and above soil surface – like an edible armor against predators! And finally, try sprinkling coffee grounds, diatomaceous earth or crushed eggshells around each plant’s base as further protection.

Give your garden an edge with beneficial predators! Draw in assassin bugs, parasitic wasps and bug-eating birds by crafting a landscape of plants that will attract both pollinators and these helpful insects.


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Even though they are small, thrips can do major damage. Look out for telltale signs of their presence on strawberries – white discoloring, a golden-brown hue or unusual folding patterns that could be caused by these tiny terrors!

If pesky thrips have decided to invade your beloved plants, act quickly and decisively! Start by snatching away any infested parts of the foliage. Then vigorously shake off as many bugs onto a cloth beneath – but be sure not to let them land in the soil or they will simply climb back up again.

Beat the thrips at their own game with some bug allies! Pirate bugs love pollen and nectar, so be sure to add marigolds or cosmos flowers early in your strawberry patch’s growing season – you’ll thank yourself later. Don’t forget blue sticky straps too – these pesky critters are especially attracted to this hue of color.

Cyclamen mites

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Cyclamen mites Tiny and insidious, these miniature foes may be hard to spot with the naked eye. However, if you look closely for telltale signs of destruction—dark streaking on leaves that have been folded or curled up—you can intercept them before they wreak havoc on your strawberry patch!

Cyclamen mites are a pesky, resilient problem in the strawberry bed. With chemical pesticides proving to be ineffective against them, vigilance is key – inspecting your plants regularly and promptly removing those that have been affected can help avoid an infestation. But if their prevalence has already become too much of a nuisance, it’s time to break out the big guns by treating your soil with approved pesticide treatments!

If eating your delicious strawberries have been a dream this season, then you should take steps to control the mite infestation by wiping the leaves of the plant with rubbing alcohol. Beforehand, look carefully and remove any obvious pests such as pie tins or strawberry slugs that leave small but deep holes in the leaves. After a few hours, it is important to rinse off your plants thoroughly, some people submerging their potted plants and pots in 110-degree water for 30 minutes for maximum effectiveness. Make sure you watch your plants carefully and repeat these steps as needed for a successful harvest.

To ensure you get to enjoy eating your strawberries from your garden and not have to worry about cyclamen mites, you’ll want to avoid introducing them through purchased plants. To help prevent problems with these pests, start by inviting beneficial six-spotted thrips, predatory mites, and minute pirate bugs to your strawberry patch.

Plant pollen and nectar-rich flowers between rows of the strawberries and try not to use pesticides so those beneficial insects are attracted. If needed, you can purchase predatory mites or minute pirate bugs at local nurseries and garden stores at a reasonable price. Once you have the strawberries established in the ground, top them off with pie tins filled with water around their stalks; this will help prevent small critters like slugs from eating away at your ripe fruit.

Make sure when you plant them into the ground that you create small but deep holes for the roots so they have plenty of room to spread out and produce more strawberries for eating later!

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What animal is eating my strawberries at night?

Squirrels, raccoons and deer can easily steal berries unless they have a good appetite. Repellent Spray provides protection although frequently used, particularly if the rain or the water has stopped flowing. These are ideal for people who have dry climates and are able to dripirrigate plants in dry conditions.

How do you prevent holes in strawberries?

The bird’s detour is luckily very easy. Ideally you can cover strawberry fields with birdnetting or cotton fabric at a garden center.

What is eating my strawberry leaves at night?

Slugs usually act at night and avoid sunlight and warmth during the day. It is easy to see where the animals have gone in the slime trails left by them before sundown. Slugs can eat leaves and eat fruit. It is probably the cause of the hole in strawberries.

Read more: What slugs on hostas look like?

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