Growing strawberries has the potential to be very fun and it can also give you access to delicious treats. If you have been growing strawberries as of late, then you might be worried if it seems as if something is eating your strawberries.
What could be responsible for eating your strawberry plants? Is there anything that can be done to protect them?
Keep reading to get all of the important information about strawberry plants and what could be causing them to look as if they’re being eaten. You’ll come out of this feeling much more knowledgeable about what is going on.
1 – Birds
All sorts of different birds are going to be likely culprits when you’re noticing your strawberries coming up missing. You will find small birds such as crows, robins, and bluejays eating strawberries often.
If you want to deter birds from coming near your strawberry plants, then you can use certain things to scare them away. Hanging some metallic tape or pie tins near the strawberry plants will scare the birds but some birds might realize that there is no danger after a certain amount of time.
2 – Squirrels
Squirrels are very likely to come and steal strawberries from you, and so many places have lots of squirrels. If you’re finding your berries are turning up missing or being eaten, then you might have to think about whether your local squirrel population is to blame.
If you have a really bad squirrel problem, then you might wish to call a pest control company. It’s hard to completely eliminate squirrels because of how common they are and some places have laws about relocating squirrels that prevent you from being able to do much.
3 – Raccoons
Raccoons will also like to eat your strawberries when they get the chance to do so. These animals scavenge for food and will also be likely to try to eat your garbage.
You will often find raccoons searching properties for opportunities to get a meal. If they stumble on your strawberry plants, then they will happily dig in.
4 – Deer
Deer love to eat berries and they will be very happy to find strawberry plants in your garden. If you have deer in your area, then it’s possible that they could be the animals that are eating your berries.
It’s worth noting that deer are usually very skittish and won’t come near humans. This is more likely to happen when you have a large property with your strawberry plants being a fair distance away from your house.
5 – Tarnished Plant Bugs
Tarnished plant bugs are annoying little oval-shaped bugs that will mess with your strawberry plants. They will try to feed on strawberry plants in the spring after laying eggs.
You can control these pests by removing weeds and other plant debris. You can also plant certain pollen-producing things in your garden to attract natural insect predators to the area.
6 – Various Slugs
Various types of slugs will be likely to want to eat your strawberries and this can be pretty annoying overall. You can tell that slugs are eating your strawberry plants when you see small but deep holes in your strawberry fruits.
Another potential sign to look out for will be slime trails that will often appear to be silvery. You might notice some of these slime trails on the foliage nearby and it makes it clear as day that slugs are the culprits.
The best ways to manage slug issues will involve discouraging slugs from wanting to stick around the area. You can get rid of leaves and mulch that might be around because these give slugs places to hide.
It’s also a good idea to water a bit less frequently than you have been since slugs will be more likely to come around if the area is consistently damp. You still need to water your strawberry plants deeply but you might need to alter your schedule.
7 – Strawberry Clippers AKA Strawberry Bud Weevils
Strawberry clippers are also referred to as strawberry bud weevils in certain circles. These insects are reddish-brown and are known for having black patches on their backs as well as curved snouts.
These pests become a problem for strawberry plants in the early spring and they usually feed on pollen from strawberry flower buds. Frustratingly, these bugs will lay one single egg inside the flower bud and that will prevent it from being able to produce a berry.
You’ll need to remove any infested buds that you find on your plants because there is no saving them. Getting rid of strawberry clipper issues will often involve using insecticidal soap on your strawberry plants.
8 – Spittlebugs
Spittlebugs are going to be pretty easy to spot because they leave behind a type of bubbly foam at the base of your strawberry plants. These insects aren’t going to be able to kill your strawberry plant but this doesn’t mean that they aren’t problematic.
When you have a severe spittlebug infestation, it’s going to have the potential to stunt the growth of your plants. Thankfully, you can get rid of these little insects by making a homemade garlic spray or hot peppery spray.
9 – Strawberry Sap Beetles
Finally, it’s possible that your strawberry plants could be being eaten by the oval-shaped strawberry sap beetles. These little bugs are less than an eighth of an inch in length and they are dark in color.
Sometimes these bugs will have yellow spots or orange spots as well. The adult insects will bore into the berries on your plants and eat portions of them.
The holes that these bugs leave behind will usually be very small but they are going to cause the berries to rot. To keep issues with strawberry sap beetles from becoming too annoying, it’s going to be wise to pick your berries as soon as they are ripe.
There are many different bugs and animals that will eat your strawberries and figuring out which one is the culprit might take some time. Investigate the area and try to see if you spot any of the signs mentioned above.
Some of the things that will eat your strawberries will be easy to deal with but others will be more problematic. Just do your best to make good decisions so that you can protect your strawberry plants as much as possible.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.