An abundant garden will ultimately attract many kinds of animals, most of which will be unwelcome pests such as insects and small mammals that can strip your garden clean and destroy everything you worked so hard for. Protect your garden by studying and trying to learn as much as you can about the type of pests that your plants attract – not all plants may attract the same pests. Learning everything you can about your garden can help you to identify the kind of pest you’re dealing with and the best method to apply to get rid of them.
If the infestation is light, picking the insects by hand should be enough, but for heavy infestation, you might need to resort to insect repellents. Here are some common garden pests and the signs they will leave behind if they happen to target your plants.
Aphids – These tiny insects will go for almost any plant. They form clusters of small, soft-bodied insects on buds and growth tips. Sticky secretions can also be found from place to place and leaves tend to get curly. The best way to deal with them is to spray insecticidal soap or neem oil. There are also other natural methods that can get rid of an aphid infestation. Ladybugs are their natural predators.
Beetles – There are a wide variety of beetles that can infest different kinds of plants. These insects have different colored and shiny exoskeletons, and they leave holes in the plants they have infested. You can pick them by hand if it's a light infestation, or spray the affected area with insect killer. If you have chickens, letting them in the garden may help with beetle infestations.
Borers – These insects can be found on melons, pumpkins, squashes, and cucumbers. If you stumble across wilted growth tips, then you might suspect you have a borer problem. You can save your plants from borers by cutting out the borer, but if they get to the base of the plant, it’s already compromised and needs to be torn out. Dispose of infected plants well away from the garden.
Root maggots – Root maggots are usually found eating away at cabbages, carrots, turnips, squash, spinach, and radishes. Signs of an infestation include wilted plants or yellowish quarter-of-an-inch insects on the root of the plants. To prevent an infestation, you need to stop the flies from laying eggs near the seedlings. To do this, simply put plastic or paper shields about four inches in diameter near the plants. For affected plants, drench the soil with root maggot insecticide. Natural options include neem oil, a spray made with hot peppers, or diatomaceous earth (DE).
Slugs and snails – Slow but steady wins the race, and in the case of snails and slugs, these slow but voracious creatures can inflict serious damage to your tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, and turnips if left unattended. You may have a snail or slug infestation if you find irregular patterns of holes in the plant’s leaves or stems, as well as slime trails. You can keep slugs and snails at bay by keeping your garden tidy, but if you already have an infestation, you can attract and drown them in shallow containers of beer. Repel snails with vinegar.
White flies – If you have tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and sweet potatoes in your garden, you may want to watch out for these insect pests. You can spray neem oil or other organic insect repellents to get rid of a light infestation.
Gophers – These rodents will voraciously go for any plant or crop that they stumble upon from their underground tunnels, but they mostly prefer carrots, sweet potatoes, and peas. If left unattended they can ruin a whole garden in a matter of days. You can get rid of them by flooding their tunnels, or if you have a dog or a cat, you can let them roam around your garden as gophers will get scared of bigger animals.
Did you know that pests can also find their way into stockpiles and pantries? Learn how to protect your stash by visiting Homesteading.news today.