Please Help! Whats eating my bougainvellia (PICS)???


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Hello, I'm new to the forums. I planted two Bougainvellia's about three weeks ago. They looked great when I purchased them now they seem to be dying. Most of the foliage is gone and the remaining foliage appears to have been eaten by some sort of pest. Can anyone diagnose my problem and offer any solutions? I have attached some photos of both plants.











 
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Welcome to the forum! (y)

Looks like it could be caterpillars. Maybe try attracting birds to your garden?
 
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Uhm, do you live in the Northeast US? If so, how are you managing to grow this tropical plant there? It looks like they are outside so i am puzzled. Looper caterpillars are Bougainvillea pests. Look under the leaves if you can, in the morning and/or evening and you may see them munching away. Look closely because they might be green to match the leaf color. It's really hard to say without knowing what climate you live in, but this would be a place to start.
 
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Oh good, zone 9 is a good place for Bougainvilleas...yes, i would check for Looper caterpillars, the sad looking yellow leaves might be due to overwatering? They don't like too much water, especially if they are growing in the ground as opposed to a container. Do you have some mid-sized to large ants around? They might be eating on the Boug too, but i would check first for the Loopers.
 
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As your in zone 9 this web site will be quite applicable to most any plant - pest question you might have. It doesn't really get much better as far was southern California and pest control. I'm also in the general vicinity.
http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/

As far as bougainvillea's...
http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/GARDEN/PLANTS/bougainvillea.html

Bougainvillea looper— Disclisioprocta stellata
The bougainvillea looper is a smooth-skinned yellowish or green to brown caterpillar, up to 1 inch long. Like other loopers, or "inchworms", these caterpillars move by drawing their rear up to their head in a loop, then moving their front legs forward. Adults are fast-flying gray to brown colored moths with a wingspan of about 1 inch. Larvae and adults are active at night.

Damage
Newly hatched and young larvae feed on tender shoots and along the edges of leaves, causing them to appear scalloped. Older larvae feed on mature leaves. Heavy infestations may cause severe defoliation. Adults do not feed on foliage.

Solutions
Check bougainvillea periodically during warm weather for signs of a looper infestation. Look for feeding damage and dark fecal pellets. Birds and other natural enemies feed on loopers, but may not provide adequate control at certain times of the year. Applications of Bacillus thuringiensis will control young loopers, but may not be very effective against mature ones. Spinosad is effective against both mature and young larvae.
 

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