Bugs On A Vegetable Sweet Potato Vine That Look Like A Growth On The Stem

Filed Under: Vine Plants, Insects, Vegetables · Keywords: Bugs, Sweet Potato, Vegetable, Vine, Growth, Stem · 2176 Views
my container sweet potato has bugs ( they look like a growth on stem) do I have to get rid it, how do I get rid of the bugs

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Maple Tree

Maple Tree · Gardenality Genius · Zone 10A · 30° to 35° F
Hi Joanne-Are these an Ornamental sweet potato vine or are they an edible variety? There are several pests such as beetles, caterpillars and other insects that may damage these plants. There are also soil born pests and diseases that can infest the plant. Does the health of your plants seem to be affected? If you can answer a few other questions it will help in identifying the problem. Are the plants wilting and/or leaves discoloring such as browning or yellowing? Is there any leaf damage such as holes, spotting, white, shinny or sticky substances on the leaves? Do these insects that look like growths move or are they stuck to the stems? Is there any holes or damage to the stems where the insect is or has been? If you could upload a close up of the insect it would help to identify the problem or insect. Above this and to the right of your name below your question you will see where you can upload any picture you have saved on your computer.

8 years ago ·
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Answer #2 · Maple Tree's Answer · Joanne-Its hard to tell what the problem may have been without possibly identifying it from a picture. It sounds as though there may have been more than one thing causing the problem. The yellowing and dropping of leaves could have been a problem with to much or too little water. Yellowing and dropping of leaves could have been bacterial wilt caused by bacteria that survives in the soil or may have been spread by types of beetles. Fusarium and Verticillium wilts attack a lot of plants including the sweet potato. Signs of these wilts are yellowing leaves at first that progress until all the leaves turn yellow and fall off. These wilts may cause the stems to brown and weaken eventually killing the plant. Hearing the leaves had holes I'm thinking the problem could have been an infestation of some kind of beetle. Beetles not only chew holes in the leaves but some can make enough holes in the leaves at times making the leaf look like lace. The potato weevil is another insect that lives on the stems and leaves of the sweet potato. Were you able to harvest any sweet potatoes? The larvae of the weevil eat the growing sweet potato leaving them gnarled and bitter. There are also several stem boring insects that will bore into the stems of the sweet potato plant. The larvae of these insects will feed and damage stems causing wilting, yellowing, dropping of leaves and eventual death of the plant. I wish I had a definite answer for you but at this time I'm not sure the insect you saw on the stems of the plants were the cause of the leaves yellowing and dropping off. Did you believe your plants were actually dying or did you just pull them up because of the large amount of leaf damage? Were the leaves on the plant wilting also with stems that were weakened and/or discolored? The large amount of leaf damage was caused by an insect such as a beetle, worm, slugs, or other insect. Possibly the growth looking spots on the stems may have been a beetle of some kind of a blight, a fungal disease that can show up as spots of spore groupings on stems causing leaves to yellow then brown before dropping. Unfortunately a picture of the growth on the stem and a picture of the yellowing and damaged leaf would be the easiest way to determine what desease or pest was the problem. The holes in the leaves were caused by an insect but which one again would be hard to identify without seeing it. If not an insect that can be picked off the plant manually, applications of a Horticultural oil or Neem oil will normally control most insects.

Hopefully another member may have had the same problem and can help with a more definitive answer for you.


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Answer #1 · Joanne Hughes's Answer · these sweet potatoes are the edible variety, I could not see them moving,
they seem to be stuck on to the stem, however there are holes in the leaves, the leaves are also yellowing and falling off . In fact they were so bad, I threw the whole plant away. I do appreciate the info., will try again next year. thank you so much for your help. Joanne)

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