Brugmansia Insect


Insect Pests of Brugmansia, or Angel Trumpet

There are many insect pests that love to munch on our prized brugmansia. If you grow a vegetable garden that includes tomatoes, peppers, or potatoes, you may already be familiar with some of the insect thugs we are discussing. Brugmansia, being in the same family as these garden goodies, (Solanaceae) makes them candidates for the onslaught of same bugs.

The picture to your left shows the Blue Leaf beetle. I have found them munching away inside and outside the flower calyxes more than once, and this is the time of year they are at their worst. (Summer)

Typically, the Leaf beetles that enjoy our brugmansia are the kind who do eat flowers. Of the many species of Chrysomelidae, two are known to munch exclusively on plants in the family Solanaceae. The one pictured is not one of them, yet I have just discovered the entire nest of them as shown, on a brugmansia flower.

Leaf beetles are very small, and I had to get a magnifying glass to actually see these youngsters. The largest of them are only about a quarter of an inch in size, so you will have to look carefully, or follow the damage to find them.

Spinosad Pest Control Spray works wonders to kill them. Spinosad is a natural and organic way to kill Solanaceae Leaf beetles. Spraying the calyxes before they open should do the trick. Also spray it before bees and butterflies show up, allowing it to dry.

Tomato Fruitworms are also a menace to Brugmansia, and show up in Summer down here in Florida. Just like other caterpillars, their damage is noticeable by the holes that appear in the leaves, and sometimes they even chew through the calyx of your flower buds, and into the flower. I hand pick them off whenever I find them. They are very easy to distinguish because of the brown to black band going down their back. There is more information and ways to control them here: Missouri Botanical Garden, Tomato Fruitworm and Control.

Hawkmoths leaves their youngsters, which are giant caterpillars, to munch away voraciously on many members of the solanaceae family of plants, including brugmansia. They can quickly strip bare a medium sized Angel trumpet tree. Here is more on what you can do about them: Hawkmoths

Skipper moths also love our Angel trumpets. These moths are create small holes throughout the Angel trumpet, rarely leaving a leaf unturned if gone unchecked. If an infestation gets too large, something must be done. You can learn more about skipper moths and help here: Skipper damage and photos.

Inchworms will typically roll up under a leaf when ready to morph. They then spin a silken nest around them, and begin to change into a chrysalis, that later becomes a small light brown moth. They are nocturnal, and just like the beetles shown above, some species will eat into the calyx and flower of the brugmansia. The damage can be tremendous if left unchecked, because instead of deciding to chew on just a few leaves (Then I would let them be)they travel all over the plant, eating a few holes in each leaf, effectively turning the plant into a living pincushion within the span of a week or so. The Spinosad will also be rid of them, as will Organicide and Thuricide.

Whiteflies can be a pest to brugmansia, especially during spring and late summer. They come through in waves and can potentially spread disease through your growing brugmansia collection. Learn about some control methods here: Whiteflies.

Broad Mites and Spider Mites are notorious for sucking the life juices out of Angels. This minsule arachnids can be eliminated with the use of Forbid, available here. Just scroll though the classifieds of BGI and it should be listed now and again.

I would like to share a letter with you recently emailed me. I have taken the liberty of taking an excerpt, because I want to relate to my own pest schedule here in South Florida and how I deal with it. This is my reply to a gentleman who also wanted to know about pests of brugmansia, and what to do about them.

My reply:
Brugmansia are bothered mostly by skipper moths and spider mites. As long as you use the treatment 'Forbid' (foliar spray) at the beginning of all 4 seasons, you'll have them knocked out of the game completely. As far as skippers, using Thuricide in the soil (B.T.-same thing as the mosquito dunks-safe to other living things except pests) regularly will keep them off. Other than that, your plant should be very healthy. You can also use BT as a foliar spray or dust. Using it as a soil drench makes it systemic. (It gets into the actual plant tissue through root absorption) Reapply every 30 days if used as systemic.

Fungus can be a problem in SW Florida too. Banrot pulls everyone through without a hitch. It kills anything that might harm the bruggies. Only thing is, it's a chemical, so use in-between treatments of Thuricide, as it will kill this good bacteria.

end quote.

More information on insect pests of brugmansia can be found here: Insect Pests of Brugmansia

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