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Written by: HOME GARDENING

Pest Control in the Garden: Common Outdoor and Garden Pests

Garden pests can cause you a host of problems, ranging from destroyed plants to your produce being lost. Learning how to deal with pests is an integral part of any gardener’s journey.

Knowing how to handle your pest problem effectively is crucial, as some pesticides can actually end up doing more harm than good. Some insecticides end up hurting the bugs that are beneficial to your plants. For this reason, it is advised that you attempt more straightforward control methods before turning to the harder stuff.

Of course, there are different ways to handle different pests. Listed in this article are some of the most common garden pests and how to keep them under these pests under control. Some are more difficult to deal with than others, whereas some are relatively easy to rid yourself of. So, no matter what you are growing, let’s take a look at how to keep those pesky critters under control.

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Aphids

These pests are generally tiny and shaped like a pear. They have two tubes that project backward from their abdomens. If you like to grow fruits, vegetables, flowers, shade trees, and ornamentals, you have most likely run into these unwanted guests.

The critters like to suck the sap out of a plant resulting in a plant’s foliage distorting and eventually dropping. These pests also secrete honeydew onto leaves that support the growth of sooty mold as well as viral diseases.

If you have a problem with these bugs, there are a few things you can do to rid yourself of them. The methods for dealing with an aphid problem are as follows:

  • Constantly wash your plants with strong sprays of water.
  • Encourage natural predators of the pest such as lady beetles, lacewings, and aphid midges.
  • Should it be feasible, cover your plants with floating row covers.
  • Apply hot-pepper and garlic repellant sprays to your plants.
  • If you have a more severe problem with the pests, you may want to apply some horticultural oil, insecticidal soap, or neem oil to the plants.

Caterpillars

Caterpillars are known to be soft larvae with segments. They have a distinct head capsule that consists of six legs in front of the false fleshly legs on their rear segments. They are often found on fruits, vegetables, shade trees, and ornamentals. These critters enjoy chewing on leaves or along margins. Sometimes they feel a bit adventurous and even tunnel their way into fruits.

Should you have a caterpillar problem, there are a few things that you can do to make it something of the past. If you want to deter caterpillars, you should:

  • Encourage the native predators of the caterpillar.
  • Apply floating row covers if possible.
  • Hand-pick your harvest rather than leaving it to the caterpillars.

Japanese Beetles

Adults of the species are generally about half an inch big, are a metallic blue-green color, and have bronze-colored wings. Larvae, on the other hand, are fat, white grubs that have brown heads.

These are generally found on fruits and vegetables in states to the east of the Mississippi River. The pests can be real menaces, with adults chewing on flowers and destroying the leaves of plants. The larvae, on the other hand, feed on the roots of lawn and garden plants.

Luckily, these beetles are not too difficult to deal with, and if you follow these tips, you can rid yourself of them in no time at all. To get them under control:

  • Shake your plants every morning to get rid of the beetles.
  • Apply floating row covers if possible.
  • Set up baited traps about 330 feet away from your vegetable garden to lure them away.
  • Spray the beetles with insecticidal soap.

Red Spider Mites

These mites can be a serious problem if you live in a hot and dry area. They tend to be found in summer due to them preferring the hot weather. They are red in color and have a spider-like appearance. They are mites but have eight legs, and the use of pesticides is not a good idea as they assist them in spreading rather than ridding you of the problem.

If you have a problem with these pesky pests, there are a few ways to rid yourself of them. Some of these methods are:

  • Spraying your plants with water to dislodge any mite colonies.
  • Encouraging natural predators of the mites such as lady beetles.
  • Growing fungus that reduces the fertility of the mites.

Crickets

Crickets are a common pest known to almost everyone. They are very similar in appearance to a grasshopper and like dark, humid places. They are often found feasting on plants, and this can be a serious problem for any vegetable garden. Although they sometimes prefer to eat other pests, they can still cause major damage to your plants if not dealt with.

If you have a problem with crickets, you should consider:

  • Applying floating row covers.
  • Reducing light in your garden.
  • Encourage predators of crickets such as cats, lizards, and birds.

Whitefly

Whiteflies are small insects that are white in color, hence the name.  They are generally found on the underside of leaves. They typically feed on the underside of the leaf, and this can cause extreme damage to your plants.

Should you need to get rid of these pests, you should:

  • Spray your plants with water daily to keep them away.
  • Make use of insecticidal soap.
  • Carefully make use of a handheld vacuum to get them off your plants.

Stink Bugs

The stink bug is an extremely invasive species. They are generally large, oval shaped bugs with their legs extending from their sides. They are generally brown in color, with lighter bands across their bodies.

Should you have a problem with these pests, you should:

  • Make stink bug traps to lure them away from your plants.
  • Apply floating row covers.
  • Make use of natural repellants.

Lace bugs

Lace bugs can be a serious problem in any garden. The tiny bugs enjoy feeding on the foliage of plants and can cause them to die and fall off. This is a problem for many gardeners, especially those who do not know how to avail themselves of the problem.

If you want to rid yourself of lace bugs, you should:

  • Use insecticidal soap.
  • Apply neem oil to your plants.

These are just a few of the common pests you might find in your garden, but as you see here, in most cases, you can control them on your own.  When a pest problem in your landscape becomes more serious, contacting a company, like Synergy², specializing in pest control may be the best option

Last modified: February 25, 2021