Common Garden Pests And How To Control Them
Do You Have A Problem With Garden Pests?
Do you have a problem with garden pests like Tomato Horn-Worms, Aphids, Cucumber Beetles, or Rabbits. If so then read on because here we are going to be telling you how to protect your garden from all those garden pests.
Be sure to walk around your garden daily and closely observe what is going on. This way things won't get out of hand before you even know anything is going on. You should fix specific walking paths in and around your garden and not walk where vegetable plants are growing. You don't want to walk in your garden where vegetable plants are growing because you will pack down the soil and you could step on tender plants and damage them.
Keep A Journal
You should keep a journal about your garden and make careful detailed notes about what is going on in your garden. Make carefully detailed notes about what you see that is going on in your garden and you can refer back to your journal in the future and in time see things that you should or should not do. You can also take photos of your garden and post them in your journal.
Everyone Should Know About Marigolds
Marigolds will keep many garden pests away from your garden. If you plant them in bunches they will even keep away rabbits. But not deer. Deer will walk right up and eat them despite what some people say. Mint will also keep away a lot of garden pests but be sure to plant your mint in containers so the mint will not get out and spread all over your yard.
Tomato Horn-worms Can Be Very Destructive To Your Garden
Tomato Horn-Worms Can Damage Your Garden In A Hurry
You should know that Tomato Horn-Worms commonly feed on tomatoes, eggplants, potatoes, and peppers. They are hard to see due to their green coloration and you will often find the caterpillar clinging to the underside of a branch near the trunk of the plant.
A lot of people don't know it but you can keep tomato horn-worms out of your garden by planting marigolds in your garden. Marigolds will also work to keep away other garden pests. I usually plant marigolds right beside my tomato plants to keep garden pests from feeding on my garden vegetable plants.
The Tomato Horn-Worm is found throughout the United States, southern Canada, and northern Mexico. Tomato Horn-Worm caterpillars can be up to 4 inches in length and they have a horn at their rear which gives them their name.
Tomato Horn-Worms tend to feed on the interior of the plants during the day light hours so they can stay out of the sun and they move to the outer sides of the plant to feed at dawn and dusk.
Hand Pick Them Off
Due to their larger size you can hand pick the tomato worm caterpillars off by hand and drop them into a bucket of soapy water. Dispose of them the next day after they have been in the soapy water overnight.
Tomato Horn-Worms have eight V shape markings on each side and their horn is straight and blue black in color.
Turn The Soil Over Several Times In The Winter Months
Use your rototiller to turn the soil over several times during the winter months and you will destroy the pupae of the Horn-Worm Moth that may be there in the ground. I usually clean the garden off and then I run the garden tiller over the garden being sure to dig deep and get all the soil turned over. Do it again in the middle of winter to make sure you get all the pupae that may be waiting there in the ground to hatch out as Horn-Worm Moths in the spring.
Do You Have A Problem With Cut Worms In Your Garden?
Cut worms can also be a problem in some gardens. If this is the case in your garden make a homemade collar 7 inches high and large enough to go around the base of the tomato plant. Put 4 inches of the tomato collar under the ground and leave 3 inches above ground. You can make your tomato collars out of cardboard. I make tomato collars out of cardboard and use duct tape to fasten the one side. If you put tomato collars around your tomato plants you'll never have another problem with cut worms.
Parasitic Wasps Prey On Horn-Worm Caterpillars
If you find a Horn-Worm Caterpillar with parasitic wasp cocoons like in the photo leave it along. The wasps will hatch out and kill the caterpillar. They will also lay their eggs on more caterpillars and destroy them.
How To Control Tomato Horn Worms
Squash Vine Borer
Squash Vine Borer
In case you don't know the Squash Vine Borer is a diurnal species of sesiid moth. It is a pest that attacks various varieties of squash. People will often mistake this moth for a wasp because of its movements and its bright orange rear legs.
Typically the female lays her eggs at the base of the leaf stalk and as the caterpillars develop they feed inside the stalk of the plant eventually killing that particular leaf. Eventually you will find the squash borer caterpillars inside your squash as you can see in the photo there.
Squash borers live in almost all of the United States except the Pacific coast region.
You'll find that pesticides will be ineffective against squash borers after they are inside the plant and the squash.
Encourage Squash Borers To Drown Themselves
One old gardening trick you can do is to place a few bright yellow bowls filled with water around your squash plants and the squash borer pests will go drown themselves. Keep the bowls emptied out of dead squash borers and filled with fresh water and the pests will continue to drown themselves.
How Do I Know I Have Squash Borers?
You'll find that squash borers will attack squash, zucchini, and cucumbers. If you see holes in your squash, zucchini, and cucumbers and crumbles outside those holes then you know that your squash and cucumbers are invested with squash borers.
Control Squash Borers With BT Which Is Bacillus Thuringiensis
Bacillus thuringiensis is a gram positive soil dwelling bacterium that is used as a biological pesticide. You can purchase BT at your local garden supply store or order it off the internet from a online garden supply company. You want to spray BT on the squash and cucumber plants when they are small and continue to spray it on the plant, the flowers, and the squash and cucumbers as they grow. You should spray in the evenings near or after sundown when the bees are not around as much.
Pyrethrin is a natural organic compound that is being used as an insecticide. Pyrethrins are neurotoxins that attack the central nervous system of all insects. You can purchase Pyrethrin based insecticides at your local garden supply store or at garden supply site online. You can spray Pyrethrin directly on squash borers and it will kill them but it will also kill beneficial insects.
How To Control Squash Borers
Cucumber Beetles Can Quickly Destroy A Cucumber Crop
Cucumber Beetles Can Damage Your Cucumbers Quickly
You will find Cucumber Beetles mostly on cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, and beans. The larvae feed mostly on seedlings and roots while the adult beetles will eat plants, squash, cucumbers, pumpkins, and beans. Most people first notice they have a problem when they see holes in the leaves, wilting and yellow leaves. Unfortunately Cucumber Beetles also spread disease from plant to plant.
You can really cut down on your population of Cucumber Beetles by tilling the soil of your garden up several times through out the winter. This will kill the pupae that are in the ground and hibernating over the winter. You want to break the ground up and turn it over at the coldest part of winter possible.
You can use pyrethrum and neem oil to try to get rid of your Cucumber Beetle problems.
And in case you don't know neem oil is a vegetable oil that is pressed from the fruits and seeds of the Neem which is an evergreen tree native to the India subcontinent. Neem oil has wide uses as a biopesticide. Neem oil also controls powdery mildew, black spot, anthracnose, and rust fungi.
You can purchase products containing Neem Oil at your local farm and garden supply store but be sure to read the label carefully.
Most people find that by planting well started plants in your garden that they aren't as likely to be attacked by Cucumber Beetles as seedlings are.
How To Control Cucumber Beetles
Stink Bugs Will Suck The Life Out Of Various Types Of Plants
Stink Bugs Can Be A Real Problem In Some Areas
If your garden is being attacked by Stink Bugs you can use a high powered spray hose to knock them down off your plants or you can walk through with a bucket of soapy water and pick them off by hand and drop them into the bucket of soapy water.
Some species of stink bugs lay their eggs on the underside of plant leaves and guard the eggs until the young hatch. You can use spinosad for larva and nymphs. Spinosad insecticide is a bacterial based natural insecticide that is grown on crushed sugar cane. It is an excellent insecticide to use against stink bugs.
Stink bugs have glands in their thorax between their first and second pair of legs that gives off a foul smell and liquid. This happens when the bug is handled roughly. It is used to keep the stink bug from being eaten by prey like other insects, birds, lizards and etc.
If you have a large concentration of stink bugs then they can become real pests and they will suck the life out of most plants. Pyrethrin works great on Sink bugs.
Aphids Do Huge Amounts Of Damage To Garden Plants
Aphids Cause Huge Amounts Of Damage To Garden Plants
Aphids are said to be one of the most destructive of all garden pests. The damage they do to plants has made them enemies of gardeners all over the world. You must control the ant population on your property because they host aphids and use them as a food source. Remember that ants and aphids go together. If you have aphids you'll have ants show up also.
You can wipe or spray aphids off with a strong mist. Or you can spray them with an insecticidal soap or a homemade garlic spray. Aphids cause damage to plants by making deformed leaves and they also cause blossoms to drop off. Never allow aphids to get well established before you try to get rid of them.
The natural enemies of aphids are lady bugs, parasitic wasps, crab spiders, and lacewings. If you turn ladybugs loose in your yard and garden and provide them with a food source they will help you to keep aphids in control.
You can plant garlic, onions, and marigolds near your garden plants to keep aphids away.
Plant the below plants away from your other garden plants to draw the aphids away from your vegetable plants.
If you plant some or all of those plants in that list away from your vegetable garden they will draw aphids to them and away from your vegetable plants.
Plant mint, fennel, dill, dandelions, and yarrow to attract beneficial insects to your garden like lacewings and ladybugs. Be sure to plant mint in containers to be sure that the mint does not spread and take over your yard.
If your having a problem with ants also you can use neem oil and it will take care of your ant and aphid problems.
How To Control Aphids
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© 2014 Thomas Byers
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