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ivy leaf geraniums

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  • ivy leaf geraniums


    I have had ivy leaf geraniums in my garden for many many years and never had any problems, but suddenly they are all dying off. The leaves are being eaten and the stems have holes in them, but I cannot see any insects.

    Does anyone have any idea what is causing this ?

    Many thanks

  • #2
    Hi Malvizz,

    I'm wondering if you are in Europe, maybe France or Spain?* Maybe the UK or Africa?* There is a pest calledCacyreus marshalli aka Pelargonium butterfly that is found there that shows the same symptoms as your picture.* I can't find any reference to it in the US.

    I can't read this but the pictures tell me alot.



    • #3
      Hi Newt

      Many thanks for you reply. You are absolutely right, it is the Geranium Butterfly as the effects are exactly the same. This pest must have now reached Malta .
      I cannot read Spanish but as I can read Italian and as the two languages are similar I have (with a little bit of patience) been able to understand it.

      In the last piece titled "How to solve the problem", it says "Use a specific insecticide",
      but it does not mention any particular one. I shall have to search the internet to find one, but seeing that this is a new problem to our island, I doubt whether it will be available here.

      Once again thank you very much for your help and best regards.


      • #4
        You are so very welcome!* Since you can read Italian, here's a site that might be helpful.*

        Try a google search for more info with the name Cacyreus marshalli.*

        I'd love to know what you try and how it works.

        Good luck,


        • #5
          Many thanks Newt, this is the most helpful site yet as it gives all the insecticides that can be used against this pest in all its stages of developement. As all my plants were heavily infected, I decided to get rid of them all and start afresh. I noticed large numbers of this butterfly in summer and realised that I had never seen this species before, little thinking that it was the cause of this problem. Now that it is getting colder there are very few of them around. As I presume that they shall lay eggs I shall be spraying against the butterfly and larva at regular intervals.
          Will let you know the result in a few months time if you are interested.

          Thank you once again and best regards.



          • #6
            Malvizz, I would be very interested to know how things turn out and what you use.* I'm wondering if you should report this pest to whatever environmental agency you have locally.

            Good luck and let us know what happens.


            • #7
              Yes Newt, I will let you know of the result later on. I intend to use a contact insecticide (malathion) against the newly hatched grubs, and a systemic insecticide (haven't decide which yet) against the larva which have alreay drilled into the stalks.

              I did inform the agricultural department and they said that they knew about it. Whether or not they had informed the public I don't know as I spent all of October in the US on vacation, but a few days after my return I read in the local paper a statement by this department informing the public that a new pest which attacked palm trees had been noted and what action one should takeRegards



              • #8

                [align=left]*I intend to use a contact insecticide (malathion) against the newly hatched grubs[/align]

                [align=left]Malathion is a very strong insecticide even though it's been commonly used.* Please look over these sites.[/align]
                [align=left]Maybe you can do some research and find something like Bt for the grubs.* Are there any other ways or chemicals listed for this pest?[/align]
                [align=left]Do you remember what the agricultural department recommended for the palm tree pests?[/align]


                • #9
                  The Italian site gives various solutions. Please note that some are technical words which I do not understand, and I have put these in inverted comas. Of all the chemicals mentioned the only one I recognise is malathion. Furthermore I presume that these trade names are used in Italy but might go under a different name elsewhere.

                  a)Treatment with "Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki" or with "spinosad" or with synthetic products such as thiaclorid, thiamethoxam or fenitrothion, applied weekly for 3 consecutive weeks at the end of summer

                  b)Treatment against eggs and newly hatched larva with "clorpirifos metil" and against larva at the "endofitica" stage with "citotropic" insecticides such as dimetoato, acefate and malathion

                  c)Treatment with "Piretroids" (alfametrina, lambdacialotrina) and to regulate growth (diflubenzuro, esaflumuron)


                  • #10
                    Sorry Newt, I missed your last part about palm trees.

                    Please visit***


                    • #11
                      Malvizz, sorry I haven't gotten back to you before now.* I've been in bed with a bad back.* :(* Of all the pesticides recommended, the ones that are environmentally friendly (and which I would use) are Bt aka "Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki" aka Btk.* The other is "spinosad".*

                      Bt is a naturally occuring bacterium that targets the specific pest and is used in the US quite often for a pest called the Gypsy moth.* It's safe for you, your family, pets and the environment IF USED PROPERLY.* Here's more info about it.

                      Spinosad is also a naturally occuring bacterium but is a bit more powerful, effects the functioning of the nervous system and can harm some non-target beneficial insects as well as some fish.* The second site is a bit technical, but lists the product trade names in different countries in Table 5 near the bottom of the page.* Unfortunately it isn't listed in Italy and Malta isn't listed either.* The most recent date on this site is 2002, so maybe things have changed since then and other countries just aren't listed here.*

                      Here's some frightening info about malathion.

                      For treatment against eggs and newly hatched larva with "clorpirifos metil" I would not use this product as it's an organophosphate. Dimetoato, acefate and malathion are all organophosphates which effect the functioning of the nervous system but are synthetic and much more powerful.* You might want to read this before using.

                      I suspect "Piretroids" is pyrethroid.* This is the synthetic form of pyrethrin and can also do damage in the environment.

                      In all honesty, if this pest is such a problem, I would stop growing that particular plant.* I have done that with other problem plants in my garden.* After all, it sets up a cycle of pest and needed pesticide.* There is the potential of harm to humans, beneficial insects, pets and the environment.

                      I also found this when reading at the 'Malta Today' site.* I hope they get all the help they need.



                      • #12
                        Many thanks Newt for the interest you have shown. It has taken me so long to reply because my computer was infected and I had to reformat.
                        I do understand your reluctance to use these insecticides, but I cannot find either of the two you suggested.

                        I could, as suggested, give up on this plant, but this is the most popular plant in Malta (or has been up to now, once this pest spreads people might give up on it) because it is so easy to look after* and it can be found in every garden and hanging from every balcony. You can be sure that all the nurseries will keep on growing it and selling it as it is profitable.

                        I shall go back to the garden centers and try to persude them to inport the two products you suggested, but the majority of products imported are either of Italian or British origin, and if they are produced in the USA I doubt whether I will succeed.




                        • #13
                          So sorry to hear of your computer problems.* Our system was down all day today and it was frustrating.* :?*

                          I think you will find that Bt aka "Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki" aka Btk and "spinosad" will be available through the Brits.* They are pretty good about not using toxic chemicals and from what I've heard from them, these should be available.

                          I'd love to know if you are able to get them.

                          As far as giving up on a particular plant, I have had to do that too.* Japanese beetles (the adults) are a particular pest for which there are few organic controls.* I've found it's easier not to grow certain plants rather then deal with them.* For me it's a personal choice based on the fact that I don't want to spend time fighting them and I refuse to use the chemicals.* I am chemically sensitive and can end up in bed for days if my neighbor has chemicals put on their lawn and I go outside within a few hours of the spraying.