Pests can cause a lot of havoc in any garden. Other than consuming whole plants or parts of the plants, some pests also aid in the spread of diseases in the garden. As a result, it is important to always lookout for the presence of pests in the garden. It is equally important to know how to deal with them naturally. This is because, most pesticides in the market at the moment contain harmful ingredients. Below we round up the 10 most common garden pests and how to control them naturally. Read through and find interesting insights.
Aphids are among the most common pests that can invade your garden. They are small, sap-sucking insects and can be black, green or yellow in color. They are usually found on vegetables, fruits, flowers and shade trees. In addition, since they excrete honeydew after sucking planting sap, this leads to growth of mold. The growth of mold in turn leads to shedding of leaves, distortion of foliage and spread of diseases. To combat aphids, spray the plants with neem, garlic or horticultural oil. Besides, beneficial organisms such as lady bugs and lacewings feed on aphids.
Ants are yet another category of garden pests to lookout for. Other than damaging your plants, they also provide protection for pests that produce honeydew such as aphids and whiteflies. To get rid of ants from your garden, spray them with cinnamon, powdered red pepper, dried peppermint, vinegar or paprika. When spraying, check their entryway into your garden.
Gophers are burrowing rodents that can ruin an entire garden in a very short time. This is because these rodents feed on the roots of most garden plants. Moreover, their mounds can be quite unsightly in the garden. It is therefore crucial to detect them early to avoid widespread damage. The best way to control gophers from invading your garden is by using traps or underground fences.
Caterpillars are the larvae of moths and butterflies. They cause damage by eating leaves, flowers, stems and fruits. Since they are voracious eaters, they can cause heavy damage in your garden. Holes on foliage or fruits and black specks are common signs of caterpillar infestation. Managing caterpillars is easy because most beneficial predators consume these pests. You can handpick them as well. You can also use neem oil around your vegetables since it keeps caterpillars at bay.
Rats are also pests that can damage the plants in your garden if their presence is left unchecked. They also transmit diseases from one plant to another as well as to human beings. There are quite a number of interventions you can put in place to manage rats. One of the best and safest way is through snap traps. However, when positioning the traps, keep them out of the reach of kids and pets. You can also get use organic chemicals to control rats in your garden.
Some birds are beneficial predators that help control some pests while others are destructive pests themselves. Examples of birds that are pests include blackbirds, robins and starlings. They eat seedlings, ripe fruits, foliage and flowers. As a result, they can cause a lot of damage to your plants. To keep birds at bay, use shock tracks, spikes, netting, mechanical traps or wire barriers. While you can try scare tactics, they do not provide a long lasting solution.
7. Snails and Slugs
Snails and slugs emerge at night from their hideouts to chew flowers and leaves of succulent plants in the garden. They hide in shady and moist areas during the day. Because they like moist areas, the first deterrent is to reduce excess moisture in the garden and remove dead organic material. Watering in the morning is also recommended against watering at night. Other control measures you can consider include trapping, handpicking, and using bait components. Moreover, some plants are resistant against snails and slugs. Such plants include geraniums, lantana, rosemary, lavender and sage.
These insects are also common garden pests you should be aware of. They generally appear as small bumps on leaves, stems and fruits. In addition, they secrete honeydew just like the aphids. They weaken plants since they feed on sap. As a result, scale infestation leads to premature death of affected plant parts and if left unchecked, can cause extensive damage to the entire plant. To combat scales, try a combination of approaches including proper irrigation, encourage beneficial predators and use stick barriers. You can also replace susceptible plants with resistant varieties.
Whiteflies are voracious sap-sucking insects that reproduce quickly and cause serious damage to plants. The damages include stunted plant growth, yellowing of leaves and reduction in yields. They also secrete honeydew that encourages the growth of mold. The common signs of whitefly infestation include stick leaves, curled leaves and yellowish spots. To control whiteflies, spray with vinegar, cinnamon, or horticultural oil.
There are different species of beetles. Some of the species such as ladybugs are beneficial predators that help keep other pests at bay. However, others are destructive and come in different forms. Common destructive beetles include flea beetle, cucumber beetle, Japanese beetle and Mexican bean beetle. Most destructive beetles feed on the leaves and flowers of plants. To control beetles naturally, use pour soapy water over the infested plants or apply a neem-based oil spray. Moreover, beetles are very easy to spot if they are in the garden because of their conspicuous nature.
These are the 10 most common garden pests you are likely to encounter from time to time. We have described how you can identify their presence in your garden and the damage they can cause. We have also included suggestions on how to control them naturally without resorting to harmful pesticides. Since some of these pests can cause a lot of damage if left unchecked, it is important to tackle them immediately you notice an infestation.