En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - August 27, 2013

From: Temple, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seeds and Seeding
Title: Removing insects from seeds
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Minnette Marr

QUESTION:

I collect and plant native seed for Blackland Prairie restoration. Have recently collected a good bit of purple prairie clover. Now small beetles are hatching out of it in pretty good numbers. What can I safely put on or with the seed to kill the beetles but not the seed?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants contacted our seed preservation expert, Minnette Marr, and here is what she said:

"The folks at the Bend Seed Extractory actually place contact paper in the container with seeds as a way to "capture" insects.
 
The seeds would need to be dry before being placed in freezer.  Silicon dioxide can be purchased in small quantities at hobby stores.  It is usually found with the supplies for weddings because it can be used to preserve flower arrangements. 

Place the seeds in a cloth bag or paper envelop that will fit into a pint or quart jar.  Place about an equal amount of the desiccant in the bottom of the jar.  Place the bag of seeds over the desiccant and screw the jar lid on tightly.  The desiccant will absorb moisture from the seeds (and the insects).  Repeat as needed to remove excess moisture from the seeds.  Usually three times does the job.  Silicon dioxide is blue when dry, pink when wet.  When an amount equal to the mass/volume of the seeds stays blue for 24 hours, the seeds can safely be placed in a freezer. 

Some seeds are harder to germinate after freezing.  Some require freezing to germinate.  Since Temple does not receive many hard freezes, I suggest trying the contact paper first."

 

More Seeds and Seeding Questions

How to sow Eves Necklace seeds.
October 03, 2007 - I have recently acquired some Eve's Necklace seed pods. In order to plant them, do I need to open the pod to get to the seed, or do I just plant the pod? Should I soak or scarify the pod/seed?
view the full question and answer

Planted bluebonnets won't prosper in Bluff Dale, TX.
April 24, 2013 - I have planted bluebonnet seed several years (this last year we planted inoculated seed) always the same results -germination, growth to 4-6 leaf stage, then very pale stunted growth, bronzing. soil t...
view the full question and answer

Danger of seeds being damaged in cold stratifying
February 27, 2007 - I started cold stratifying some wildflower seeds with some damp cloths in a refrigerator to plant them in the spring. When I was finished preparing the seeds the refrigerator door was somehow left ope...
view the full question and answer

Black bugs on yucca from Aledo TX
April 14, 2013 - We have flowering yuccas that have thousands of small black bugs that seem to be hurting the plant. They are not on any other foliage in our beds. What do I use to get rid of them??
view the full question and answer

Mountain ash seedlings in Yorkshire, England
May 25, 2008 - Is there any way I can stop Mountain Ash from seeding in my garden. This year in particular, I am absolutely overrun with the seedlings and once they get a hold they are difficult to remove.
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center