Something is eating our strawberries!


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I'm a beginner, but one thing I'm sure of is that I don't want to use chemical pesticides in our garden. How can I protect my strawberries so the kids can enjoy them instead of the bugs? I'm looking for something easy to apply even if it needs to be done multiple times. Am I supposed to be using some sort of barrier between them and the ground?

Thanks.
 
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If the plants are strong enough they will naturally elevated the strawberries and hide them unde the leaves and off the plant floor. For my young strawberry plants I'll slide some wax paper under the strawberry to encourage them to stay away from the ground. I have a decent bit of success sprinkling diatomaceous diligently on the plants when they are dry. It's a dehydrator that works well on small insects that like strawberries, particularly ants. For larger culprits eating strawberries I got nothing yet. Have three strawberry plants and not a great yield myself this year :(
 
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Do you know what bugs are causing the damage?
No, I haven't seen them in action yet. Just finding entire berries gone and bites taken from others. The ones that are partially eaten have a "row" removed, as though it moved along eating as it went, if that helps I.D. it at all.

If the plants are strong enough they will naturally elevated the strawberries and hide them unde the leaves and off the plant floor. For my young strawberry plants I'll slide some wax paper under the strawberry to encourage them to stay away from the ground. I have a decent bit of success sprinkling diatomaceous diligently on the plants when they are dry. It's a dehydrator that works well on small insects that like strawberries, particularly ants. For larger culprits eating strawberries I got nothing yet. Have three strawberry plants and not a great yield myself this year :(
I'll get some wax paper out there right away, thanks!
 
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No, I haven't seen them in action yet. Just finding entire berries gone and bites taken from others. The ones that are partially eaten have a "row" removed, as though it moved along eating as it went, if that helps I.D. it at all.



I'll get some wax paper out there right away, thanks!
That doesn't doesn't sound like insects. That sounds like mice, rats or maybe squirrels
 
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That doesn't doesn't sound like insects. That sounds like mice, rats or maybe squirrels
Sounds like you need a garden cat Katy lol. how do you keep critters from the strawberries?
Oh no! We do have a thriving chipmunk and squirrel population... I have no measures in place to keep them away, what should I do?
 
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Oh no! We do have a thriving chipmunk and squirrel population... I have no measures in place to keep them away, what should I do?
I'll assume you would shy away from any lethal means, so perhaps you could try sprinkling powdered cayenne pepper around the plants you want to protect (and re-do after rain). Another option would be various repellants you could get at big box hardware or local hardware stores.
 
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Oh no! We do have a thriving chipmunk and squirrel population... I have no measures in place to keep them away, what should I do?
I don't know of anything short of shooting them. You might get a bunch of sticky traps and set them out. I doubt if they will mess with your strawberrys with a piece of cardboard stuck to their foot.
 
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I'll assume you would shy away from any lethal means, so perhaps you could try sprinkling powdered cayenne pepper around the plants you want to protect (and re-do after rain). Another option would be various repellants you could get at big box hardware or local hardware stores.
I don't know of anything short of shooting them. You might get a bunch of sticky traps and set them out. I doubt if they will mess with your strawberrys with a piece of cardboard stuck to their foot.
I wouldn't want to kill them, just repel them, so cayenne may be our only hope then! Thanks all. :)
 
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Kill the buggers.
Kill them all.
Use napalm if necessary.
Fried strawberries are nice.
Nah. Protect them with chicken wire.
Too funny! :LOL:

I don't remember if chicken wire comes in different "gauges" or not, but this got me to thinking - what about a fabric type mesh? The holes are quite small - no animal could get through it, and I have some that I could cut to size and rubber band around each plant. I might just try that unless anyone thinks it would be problematic for any reason.
 
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I've seen birds and squirrels take strawberries. But I have no problems sharing my harvest with the wildlife as long as they don't take them all. I also have slugs and pillbugs(also called potatoes bugs or woodlice) eat some strawberries. Again, they only damage a small portion of berries so I don't worry about it. For my plants the first year or two was the worst. Now I get so many strawberries I don't worry about the few I've lost. I do use DE sometimes if I need to and it helps with some insects. For animals like deer and squirrels I make up a hot pepper spray. It will not work for birds. Birds don't get that hot burning sensation that mammals do. But the spray is simple. The hottest hot sauce I could find, mine has ghost chillies. Mix some, probably a tablespoon or two with a couple of cups of water, a few drops of dish soap and an egg. Sometimes I also add some chilli powder too. I don't do exact measurements. Mix it all together and strain with a mesh sieve. Spray plants as needed and after rain. You will have to wash the berries good before eating unless you like hot strawberries. I've found that the animals learn quickly and you will not have to apply this much after they get a taste. In fact the deer have left my yard alone, I haven't had to spray at all this year and very little last year. Even though all the houses around me had deer stripping their gardens. I personally would not put out glue traps. They animals will die a slow painful death if they get them stuck on them. I have no problems with killing them if that what is needed. But IMO, do it quickly.
 
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The thing about chicken wire is its plasticity.
If you get a small bucket, you can wrap chicken wire round it.
Remove the bucket and you have an ideal strawberry cage.
Ah-ha, this makes sense, thank you!

I've seen birds and squirrels take strawberries. But I have no problems sharing my harvest with the wildlife as long as they don't take them all. I also have slugs and pillbugs(also called potatoes bugs or woodlice) eat some strawberries. Again, they only damage a small portion of berries so I don't worry about it. For my plants the first year or two was the worst. Now I get so many strawberries I don't worry about the few I've lost. I do use DE sometimes if I need to and it helps with some insects. For animals like deer and squirrels I make up a hot pepper spray. It will not work for birds. Birds don't get that hot burning sensation that mammals do. But the spray is simple. The hottest hot sauce I could find, mine has ghost chillies. Mix some, probably a tablespoon or two with a couple of cups of water, a few drops of dish soap and an egg. Sometimes I also add some chilli powder too. I don't do exact measurements. Mix it all together and strain with a mesh sieve. Spray plants as needed and after rain. You will have to wash the berries good before eating unless you like hot strawberries. I've found that the animals learn quickly and you will not have to apply this much after they get a taste. In fact the deer have left my yard alone, I haven't had to spray at all this year and very little last year. Even though all the houses around me had deer stripping their gardens. I personally would not put out glue traps. They animals will die a slow painful death if they get them stuck on them. I have no problems with killing them if that what is needed. But IMO, do it quickly.
Thanks for the extra info; I didn't know that about the glue traps.

My attempt at mesh covers was mostly a fail. I ended up inadvertently breaking off a couple more berries. These are new plants, just planted last year, so not established yet. Every berry is a cause for excitement for the kids, as they are not plenteous yet. Here was my five year old's attempt to tell the chipmunks to stay out of the garden (we're pretty sure now it's them). I love it! :love:
 
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For snails and slugs a copper perimeter, be it tape or tubing or whatever. Not just for strawberries and any snail - slug issue. I have my strawberry pots and just put a little square made of copper tubing and copper 45 degree angle pieces around the base.
 
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The copper really works. I used copper tape - slugs and snails won't go over it because it delivers a shock to their slimy little bodies I guess. This stuff here:
http://www.homedepot.com/p/Corry-s-15-ft-Slug-and-Snail-Copper-Tape-100099017/100662157

I've also tried eggshells and extremely coarse sandpaper (the kind for refinishing floors) and that was worthless. The beer in a bowl sort of worked because it drowned a lot of slugs - but I think it also attracted slugs that wouldn't have been there in the first place. Once they got a buzz on they got the munchies and the ones that didn't drown slid right over to my nearby vegetables and started munching away!

Sluggo also worked, but I am trying not to use any store-bought chemical preparations on my property. The copper tape worked better, if anything. In fact I need to buy more!
 
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