small black worms #743290 - Ask Extension

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small black worms #743290

Asked April 08, 2021, 2:10 PM EDT

For the last two years our hibiscus plants have been attacked and devoured the leaves by very very small black worms. Last year they made it to our roses also. I tried covering the area with powdered SEVEN but they survived and attacked our plants. So you know what they are and how we can deal with them? Thank you for your help with this matter. Margaret Turner

Chittenden County Vermont

Expert Response

I have not been able to identify any hibiscus pests described as "tiny black worms".  I've seen several complaints about the hibiscus sawfly larva (a wasp), but the descriptions indicate they are green.

I suspect that no matter what we end up identifying the controls will be the same:  hand picking and/or insecticides.  Using insecticides carefully and effectively is quite difficult as you confirmed with Sevin last year.  Neem is an organic alternative to try with chewing insects.  Use all insecticides carefully following label instructions and warnings.

If you notice this pest again this year I encourage you to snap a few photos and send them along so we might do a better job of identifying it.
Rob Kurth Replied April 08, 2021, 4:14 PM EDT

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