Lettuces and beets getting DESTROYED by pests!!


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Hello everybody!

I recently transplanted some baby lettuces and beets into my garden. These plants were about three weeks old and looked great when I put them in.

I took the following measures to protect against pests, since I knew there might be some snails or slugs or harmful insects around:

1) I spread diatomaceous earth across my garden soil and a bit on the leaves to make them less appetizing
2) I sprayed the leaves of the seedlings with neem oil, which is supposed to protect against insects

So after about three to four days, my lettuces have been demolished by some kind of pest, and my beets have as well. I don't know what kind of pest it is, but my guess is that it would be snails and slugs. I have been checking on my garden with a flashlight at night but haven't seen any slugs at all, so maybe they are attacking in the early hours of the morning? I have no idea.

Could anybody tell me:
1) what kind of pest would do such damage to my poor seedlings?
2) what are the best methods to control those pests? (natural methods preferred if possible)

Thank you
 

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Hello everybody!

I recently transplanted some baby lettuces and beets into my garden. These plants were about three weeks old and looked great when I put them in.

I took the following measures to protect against pests, since I knew there might be some snails or slugs or harmful insects around:

1) I spread diatomaceous earth across my garden soil and a bit on the leaves to make them less appetizing
2) I sprayed the leaves of the seedlings with neem oil, which is supposed to protect against insects

So after about three to four days, my lettuces have been demolished by some kind of pest, and my beets have as well. I don't know what kind of pest it is, but my guess is that it would be snails and slugs. I have been checking on my garden with a flashlight at night but haven't seen any slugs at all, so maybe they are attacking in the early hours of the morning? I have no idea.

Could anybody tell me:
1) what kind of pest would do such damage to my poor seedlings?
2) what are the best methods to control those pests? (natural methods preferred if possible)

Thank you
I don't think it is snails or slugs as they normally leave holes in the leaves. All of the damage done is to the leaf tips and margins which leaves either insects or caterpillars. My guess would be caterpillars. There are 2 products which kill caterpillars. Spinosad and Bt. In your situation where you don't know which pest is the problem use a spinosad based product which will effectively kill both insects and caterpillars. Bt (Bacillus thuringensis) only kills caterpillars.
 
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Thanks Chuck. I have some BT in my arsenal, but I will see if I have any spinosad to get these things under control.

One question though... wouldn't the DE protect against caterpillars? Or does it not have the same effect of cutting their bodies like it does to "harder" insects that have exoskeletons with chitin?

Thanks
 

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