Worms Eating Bee Balm Flowers
Something is eating my bee balm! Little pale green worms appear inside the flower heads before they open. I've tried treating the plants with insecticidal soap and baking soda to no avail. Can you suggest a solution?
Many gardeners plant bee balm to attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds to the garden. Other gardeners use the leaves, flowers and stems for making tea. For that reason I recommend a little hand picking and patience while you let nature handle this pest. Bud worms are not a common problem on bee balm so this shouldn’t be a yearly occurrence. Start by removing and destroying any infested buds if these pests return to your garden. A little hand picking combined with wet weather, birds and predaceous insects should eventually reduce the population and minimize if not eliminate the damage. Soaps do work on young caterpillars but it must contact the insect to be effective. This means repeat applications when the insect is outside the protection of the blossom. Or try another eco-friendly product, Neem. Birds, weather and predaceous insects also help to keep these pest populations under control. With some luck nature may already have taken care of your problem for the upcoming season.