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What Is Eating My Hostas? – 4 Most Common Pests

For decades hosta has remained one of the favorites among garden plants. Unfortunately, this beautiful plant has many natural enemies who just want to eat all its leaves and stems.

Today we look at the topic of hostas pests. Four main pests can damage your plants, and we will talk about the means to control them.

First, I will briefly present all the information in a table. Next, we’ll talk about each pest in more detail. At the end of the article, some of your questions will be answered.

Pest Control
Insects Neem Oil, Insecticides
Snails Iron Phosphate
Deer Fence, Repellents
Rodents Moth Flakes, Castor Oil

1. Insects

Insects are a severe threat to hostas. They can damage the plant so severely that the hosta may die. I have fought insects many times, and in most cases, the results have been successful. However, sometimes I was defeated. This experience gives me the right to say that if there are signs of insect damage, you must act rigidly without any hesitation.

First, let’s find out what insects like to eat hosta. Less harmful include mealybugs, boxelder bugs, whitefly, and aphids. These pests do not eat the leaves but only pierce the tissues of the plant and feed on its juices. Getting rid of this scourge is easy enough, spray the plants with Neem Oil.

Now it’s the turn of insects that can cause significant damage to your hostas. Black vine weevil eats hostas leaves on edge. Once this insect has eaten your plants, hosta leaves look like maple leaves.

The other strong pest is the grasshopper, and it is also often fed by hostas. It is harder to deal with than others.

Control

Most insects can be kept away from the hosta by Neem Oil. Dilute a teaspoon of soap in a gallon of water and add two tablespoons of Neem Oil and mix everything well. Then spray the plants with a sprayer. If the insects continue to bother you, repeat with a higher concentration of Neem Oil.

The disadvantage of this method does not have a very pleasant smell, and not all insects can be defeated. I prefer broad-spectrum insecticides that can be used to control most insects easily.

There are many high-quality insecticides on the market. All you need to do is dissolve it in water and apply it to plants. One or two sprays should be enough for the whole season. When working, use personal protective equipment!

Insects are pests that cannot be ignored, so for you to better understand this, I created an article Bugs Eating Hostas: How to Protect Hosta Plants From Bugs? There is a lot of exciting information collected and described in more detail on how to deal with different beetles.

2. Snails

Snails damage hosta leaves

When the heat and humid weather for the owners of hostas comes to a new problem – snails. These creatures do not eat pity hostas. If the spring is warm enough, they can eat young shoots almost to ground level.

In the rainy summer, snails multiply so much that it becomes more difficult to control them. Previously, I tried to collect them with my hands, also poured broken glass and eggshells under hostas bushes. However, with experience, I have concluded that this is all a waste of time, there are more effective remedies that we will discuss below.

The only thing that pleases is that in dry weather, the snail population is declining. There are also hosta varieties with thick leaves that these pests cannot eat.

Control

The most effective remedy against this pest is Iron Phosphate. It is produced in granules. You need to pour a small number of pellets under each plant, then from time to time, pour new portions, and that’s it.

I want to talk a little bit about less effective ways of fighting. Beer traps should be noted here; I had used them before and even achieved some success. However, they have some drawbacks, first of all, the smell of beer and its price. The second is that the traps need to be continuously cleared of dead snails; this is not a very pleasant job.

The problem of snails I described in the article Slugs on Hostas: How to get rid of Slugs on Hostas? Be sure to review it to better prepare for the fight for your hostas.

3. Deer

Hosta leaves are damaged by deer

Deer is another challenge for those who love hostas. The numbers of these animals have been increasing rapidly lately, and in the search for food, they have come ever closer to human homes.

As you can see from the image above, deer can destroy all leaves of hosta in minutes. There are stories of people who say that deer even eat petioles hostas. Therefore, if you live not in the city center, then this problem will come to your home for sure.

The plants damaged by these animals will not perish but will lag far behind in growth. Also, during the rest of the season, you will not admire your plants but will see them only next year.

Control

It is challenging to deal with this pest. People have come up with many smart ways to keep deer away from their gardens; let’s talk about it in more detail.

Most gardeners agree that a good fence is the best way to securely protect your plants. However, this is not a cheap treat, especially if your yard is large enough. So, if you have the opportunity, fence your garden, and this problem can be forgotten forever.

Dogs will also be effective against uninvited guests. The dog has been protecting human lands for centuries, and now it will also help keep these animals away.

A popular method is to create homemade repellents. There are many different recipes for their preparation, and they are all quite effective. You can even buy garlic-based repellents online. However, they have the disadvantage that during the rain, these repellents are washed away and must be reapplied. The advantage is the cheapness and ease of preparation.

Another thing to say is water fencing. It is equipped with motion sensors, and when the deer is approaching, it spills a stream of water. The effectiveness of this method is questionable. Many claims that the deer after a while cease to be afraid of the water jet. Besides, it’s not a cheap toy.

And finally, I want to recommend my article – Do Deer Eat Hostas? There I gathered all the experience in the fight against deer.

4. Rodents

Rodents are no less a threat to hostas than the three previous pests. Let’s look at what rodents can eat hostas and what to do about it.

Hosta leaves damaged by chipmunks

Chipmunks

Chipmunks enjoy eating hosta leaves. In the picture above, you can see the results of their work. This does not mean that they will attack your plants. Some gardeners claim that do chipmunks do not bother them.

However, if you live in the suburbs, you need to be prepared to fight this pest.

Control

Since these animals are small, the fence will not help here. The best way to keep them away is to put Moth Balls under the bushes. Chipmunks don’t like this smell and will bypass it. You can also sprinkle pepper powder around the plants, and this will also help. However, I do not like the smell of pepper in the garden, so I prefer Moth Balls.

Squirrels

Some gardeners claim that squirrels can also harm hostas. However, this is less common than other rodents. In any case, you should be alert.

Control

Squirrels, like most animals, do not like harsh odors, so Moth Flakes are best suited to scare them off. Just put it under each bush, and the rodents will no longer get close to your plants.

Rabbits

Hosta leaves damaged by rabbits

As you can see from the picture above, rabbits also enjoy eating hostas. My yard has a fence, and I still have no problems with them. However, there is a lot of information on the Internet that rabbits often cause significant damage to these plants.

If the hosta is young and soft, these pests can eat it to the ground. If the leaves are already hardened, then they eat only soft young leaves. After damage, the plant is likely to recover, but its appearance will not be the best.

Control

Rabbits are large enough animals, and you can use a fence to protect your hostas from them. I wrote about the pros and cons of this method above.

The next thing you can do is set traps. This is a pretty effective way. However, this will not be appropriate for many people because traps lead to the death of animals.

The last most convenient and inexpensive way to keep rabbits out of your garden is to use Moth Flakes.

Voles

The rhizome of hosta are damaged by voles

One of the biggest threats not only to hosta but also to all the ornamental plants is the voles. These pests can destroy all the plants on the flowerbed in a short period of time. Most often, it happens in winter when there is a shortage of food.

Voles eat mostly plant roots. The photo above shows a hole in the rhizome. It happened in the winter, and damage became noticeable in the spring. In fact, these pests can do much more damage.

I do not recommend waiting for this to happen to you. If you have the slightest suspicion of voles, you need to protect your plants right away.

Control

There are many different ways to control these pests. We will not consider traps and poisons as these are dangerous remedies.

Castor Oil works best against voles. It is not expensive and affordable. The benefits include non-toxicity.

Protection is best done in two stages. First is watering all the plants with an aqueous solution Castor Oil. To do this, dilute 1/3 cup dish soap in 5 gallons of water. Then add 3 cups of Castor Oil there and mix well. Pour a generous portion of this solution under each bush.

At the end of autumn comes the second stage. You need Castor Oil Pellets for this. Sprinkle one tablespoon of pellets around each bush. This will protect the plants during the winter.

All these measures should help in the fight against voles. If they continue to bother you, repeat step one.

People also ask

  • Can mites damage hostas?
  • Yes, mites can damage hostas. The spider mite is especially common. If you see small dots with no leaves or spider web, then your plant is infested with mites. To control them, you can continuously moisten the leaf surface with water as these pests do not like moisture. However, it will be more effective to use products that are labeled against mites.
  • Do caterpillars eat hosta leaves?
  • Yes, there is a risk that caterpillars may feed on hosta, although it is difficult to say precisely. I have never had a problem with these creatures, but on the Internet, you can find stories of people who claim caterpillars ate their hostas. If you spray your plants with a systemic insecticide, you will get rid of this and many other pests.
  • What is eating my hostas from the underground?
  • From underground hosta may be eaten by mice or voles. If the roots are damaged, it is most likely one of these pests. It is better to use Castor Oil against them; it is a safe product and price not high. I wrote about this in more detail above.
  • Do ants eat hostas?
  • Ants do not eat hostas. However, their appearance on the leaves may indicate that the plants are infected with scale. Ants feed on the sweet secretions of this insect. Ants also spread aphids, which cause significant damage to hostas. At their appearance, spray the plants with Neem Oil solution, if this does not help apply systemic insecticides.
  • Can rats damage hosta leaves?
  • As far as I know, rats do not eat hostas. I saw rats several times in my yard, but I didn’t notice any damage to any plants. If you used a rodent repellent, the rats would also stay away.
  • What are the small holes in hosta leaves?
  • One day, I had a similar situation. I noticed tiny holes in the leaves of one hosta. The first thought was that it was snails, but looking closer, I noticed small insects. I did not find any information about them, so I decided to apply an insecticide. After two sprays, the insects disappeared, and after 1-2 months, the plant recovered.
  • Do raccoons eat hostas?
  • Raccoons are omnivorous animals, so theoretically, they can eat hosta leaves. However, I did not find any information that they damaged at least one hosta. Rodent repellent and pet dog are excellent protection against these animals.
  • What is eating my hostas at night?
  • It’s most likely snails. These creatures love humid conditions, and in the daytime, it is often quite dry. So at night, when the humidity rises, and there is no sun, the snails go out to feed. Use Iron Phosphate pellets to keep them away from your plants.
  • Do groundhogs eat hostas?
  • Yes, groundhogs eat hostas. Experienced hosta lovers claim that groundhogs can eat leaves along with petioles. If these pests are found in your area, you need to protect the plants from them. The best way is to have a pet dog, and rodent repellent is also quite useful. Many gardeners control this pest using live traps.
  • What is eating my hosta stems?
  • Stem hostas can eat a lot of pests. These can be woodchucks, deer, voles, rabbits, or grasshoppers. How to deal with them can be read above.
  • What is eating my hosta flowers?
  • There is no information that any pest eats hosta flowers. So put repellents under each bush, this should help. I had a case where ants spread aphids on a flower stalk. I just washed them with a jet of water. It did not bring any severe damage.
  • Do birds eat hostas?
  • For all the time when I grow a hosta, the birds never ate it. Also, I did not find any information to support this. The only thing I have heard from gardeners is that the birds can eat hostas seeds when it is ripe.