Callistemon pest problem

We have some unique pests to deal with in Australia. Post your experiences and treatments here for others to learn from.
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Keels
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Callistemon pest problem

Post by Keels »

Morning everyone,

I have been having issues with my callistemons for most of the summer and i can't figure out whats doing the damage.

I think there are two different issues happening. First issue, some pest is cutting off new fresh leaves every night. Nothing happens during the day only seems to happen at night.
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Second issue is i have the ends of the fresh growth being chewed. It's sticky to touch. This is only happening to the new growth.
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Has this happened to anyone in the past? Can any one help?
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Re: Callistemon pest problem

Post by shibui »

I see one photo where leaves appear to be glued together. There are several caterpillars that eat callistemon and mels and hide during the day inside a shelter of web and leaves. They come out at night to feed.
Look for clumps of leaves glued together and open it up to see if you can find the culprit.
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Keels
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Re: Callistemon pest problem

Post by Keels »

shibui wrote: January 23rd, 2022, 2:40 pm I see one photo where leaves appear to be glued together. There are several caterpillars that eat callistemon and mels and hide during the day inside a shelter of web and leaves. They come out at night to feed.
Look for clumps of leaves glued together and open it up to see if you can find the culprit.
Thanks Shibui. I went back out and investigated the leaves stuck together and there are caterpillars in there. Very tiny ones. Interesting that they only want to eat the callistemon leaves.
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Re: Callistemon pest problem

Post by shibui »

Most lepidoptera species have very specific food requirements. Silkworms eat mulberry, Grapevine moth feeds on grape leaves, Orchard swallowtails only feed on citrus.

The hidden grubs can be hard to control. Contact insecticides like pyrethrum won't work while they are hidden in the nest. Manual removal works but I have trouble keeping up with them. Dipel (bacillus thurriensis) is a naturally occurring fungus that only affects caterpillars when they eat the spores so it can control them when they come out to eat sprayed foliage at night. Systemics like imacloprid also work as it spreads through the whole plant and kills anything that feeds on the tree for several weeks. Don't use when trees are flowering because it may also affect bees.
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Re: Callistemon pest problem

Post by tgooboon »

I struggled with these solar caterpillar's on a number of my Callistemon's for last 18 months. Tried cutting off and pyrethrum many times. I also was getting sawfly, which can really destroy leaves
I Ended up using baythroid, which is all I could get, as I couldn't get Imidacloprid. The baythroid was very successful.

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