Ever since the earliest days of agriculture, humans have battled local pests for their plants. Whether you’re growing a garden for food, or you are cultivating flowers and plant beds to beautify your property, certain insects can be extremely harmful to your plants.
Read on to learn how to identify some common garden pests, and find out what you can do to start the process of ridding your yard and garden of these annoying, harmful bugs.
Evidence: Earwigs are small insects with pincers. Also known as earworms, earwigs will eat holes in the leaves of garden plants and gnaw jagged edges where smooth edges should be.
Solution: Though earwigs have wings, they mostly get around by crawling. An easy way to keep earwigs off your plants is to coat the stems of your garden plants with petroleum jelly. The slick jelly keeps earwigs from being able to climb up the plants and eat their leaves. Additionally, birds are a natural predator to earwigs, and the more birds you have around, the fewer pests can harm your garden! How bird-friendly is your yard? To find out how more about how to invite birds to mitigate pests, call us for a pest consultation.
Evidence: Aphids are tiny bugs that feed off the sap from inside of plants. As aphids eat, their chewing will cause the leaves of plants to look misshapen or underdeveloped. Leaves that are withered or stuck in an arrested-development phase may have fallen prey to aphids. Aphids also tend to leave behind sap as they eat, so touch leaves to see if you can feel any sticky residue. If you feel sap, it’s likely that aphids are the culprit.
Solution: Aphids don’t like water. Spray down your plants with plain water or water mixed with a small amount of non-toxic dish soap. Another natural way to get rid of aphids is to sprinkle flour on your plants. The aphids will ingest the flour, and become constipated and sick. Though these quick tricks may work, natural DIY solutions may not be enough to combat a true aphid infestation. Talk to your lawn care experts about additional treatments to get rid of these tiny plant-eating monsters.
Culprit: Cutworms / Caterpillars
Evidence: Cutworms are the larvae form of certain kinds of moths, also commonly known as caterpillars. Cutworm eggs can hatch in the autumn, and though these small, fuzzy creatures look innocent, they actually can do incredible damage to gardens and fall/winter plants. While many other pests attack the leaves of plants, cutworms focus on the roots and stems. This can be dangerous because if the root system and stem are compromised, the plants are more likely to perish.
Solution: A common natural preventative measure to avoid cutworms is to sprinkle old coffee grounds and/or crushed up eggshells around your plants. These organic substances protect your plants from the ground up. Another way to protect stems and roots is by using old toilet paper rolls cut in half to form a protective tunnel around the shaft of the plant. Finally, by keeping your yard mowed quite short around your garden areas, you will reduce the available shelter for the caterpillars, causing them to go elsewhere for food and shelter.
These are just some of the potential pests that can attack plants in our region of the country, and just a few ways to try to combat the harm they cause. If your garden and yard have sustained damage not covered here, or to find out how to make your garden less hospitable to pests, like by making it more bird-friendly, contact us for your customized consultation!