CAN EXTERMINATORS GET RID OF GARDEN PESTS?
(TRIAD NC EXTERMINATORS)
Various insects can be found in any vegetation. No matter how healthy your garden or farm seems, there will always be bugs and flying creatures around. These naturally occurring organisms in your garden do not necessarily warrant panic and action. However, there are insects that can cause damages and illnesses to plants. You have to know what these pests are to know what to do to eliminate these pests in the garden. Below are 10 common garden pests and simple eco-friendly pest control methods.
There are 4,000 species of aphids in the world. They come in varying colors of green, yellow, red, brown, and black. These pear-shaped insects have soft bodies and grow only up to 1/8 inch long. They have two long antennae and 2 tube-like structures protruding on their rear end called cornicles.
Heavy aphid infestation can cause leaves to wilt and curl and eventually lead to stunted plant growth. When aphids feed, they secrete what is called honeydew. It is a sticky fluid that drips on plant leaves which attracts ants. Honeydew also promotes the growth of black molds further damaging plant leaves.
- Trim off the parts of the plant that have been infested.
- Aphids love new growth, so inspect young plants.
- Do not apply too much fertilizer because aphids thrive on plants with heavy nitrogen levels.
- It is best to use organic fertilizer which releases nutrients gradually, maintaining the nitrogen level in the soil on low to medium.
- Use beneficial insects. Release natural enemies of aphids like ladybugs and lacewings in your garden.
- Spray the infected leaves with water and soap solution or water and vinegar solution.
Armyworms are caterpillar-like worms which are the larva phase of a common moth. They can grow from 20 to 40 milliliters long. There are several types of armyworms, each of which has varying colors. But the common armyworm has a dark-green tone with white and orange stripes along both sides of its body. They have yellow heads and smooth hairless bodies.
These destructive insects earned their name because they travel like an army consuming every leafy thing in their paths. Armyworms feed during the night and hide from the scorching sun during the day.
- Inspect your garden for signs of moths and larvae during early spring. Check under the leaves and debris. Pick them up and drop them in a bucket of soap and water.
- Use biocontrol methods. Trichogramma wasps, ladybugs, pirate bugs, nematodes, and lacewings prey on moth eggs and larvae.
- Turn the soil to let the birds feed on exposed pupae.
Bean beetles are commonly found in the eastern and southwest United States. They are like a large ladybug in appearance. They grow to a quarter of an inch long. Their oval bodies are in varying shades of yellow with 16 black spots.
These pests target all bean varieties including pinto, kidney, lima, soybean, and cowpeas. Usually, they emerge between July and August attacking young bean pods and stems.
- Bean beetles are most active during the summer. Consider planting your beans earlier.
- You can easily handpick bean beetles and their egg clusters from plant leaves.
- Use physical barriers like polyester cover or a fine net to keep harmful insects out.
- Use beneficial insects like ladybugs and lacewings to feed on the eggs.
- Remove debris and garden trash where beetles can hide and hibernate during the winter.
Also known as inchworms, cabbage loopers are the larva form of the gray moth. These pale green caterpillars have thin white stripes along each side of their bodies. They grow up to 1 ½ inch long. They have a unique way of moving where they loop their bodies. Hence, their name.
Cabbage loopers are most destructive when they are nearing their pupa stage which is 2-4 weeks from the time they hatch. They are voracious eater that can eat three times their weight in a day. These worms attack mostly cabbages but they can also feed other leafy crops including spinach, lettuce, and celery.
- Handpick visible cabbage loopers and drown them in soapy water.
- Use beneficial insects or plant herbs that attract these insects like dill, parsley, and coriander.
- Place floating row covers over your crops to prevent the moths from laying eggs on the leaves.
- Place cardboard collars around the plant stems. Press them deep into the soil to prevent worms from getting to your plant through the soil.
Grasshoppers grow up to 2 inches in length and can either be green or reddish yellow. They have short antennas, wings, and prominent hind legs that they use to hop great distances.
These herbivorous insects can eat as much as ½ their body weight per day. They chew on the leaves and stems of any plant. The worst case of infestations can damage an entire field of crops. Some researchers claim that 6 adult grasshoppers per square yard in 10-acre cropland can eat as much as a cow.
- Cultivate the soil to destroy overwintering eggs.
- For small garden areas, you can use row covers to keep them out.
- For croplands, mow a clean strip to slow them down. Grasshoppers will be reluctant to cross the clear path because there is no food and they are visible to predators.
- Take note, an area infested by grasshoppers will most likely experience another infestation in the coming year. The decline in grasshopper infestation is gradual. So be prepared.
- Use biological insecticides like those containing entomopathogenic fungus that targets common garden pests.
When it comes to pests, prevention is the best approach. If you observe, there is no need to use pesticides to eliminate the issue. All you need is to be a keen observer. Furthermore, keep your garden soil healthy by cultivating it and adding organic matter like compost to add nutrients before planting. Healthy soil will yield healthier and more resistant plants.
Why you should not use pesticides?
Pesticides are synthetic chemicals that kill every insect that it touches. While it is effective to eliminate pests, it has its downsides. According to the World Health Organization, the negative effects of these chemicals do not outweigh its purpose. It kills every organism around it, including the beneficial ones. Many people believe that pesticides are easily dissolved by water. However, studies have proven that no chemicals cannot be dissolved. They can transfer from one area to another. This is how it contaminates water sources and other crops. Everyone is at risk especially the farmers who are constantly exposed to these chemicals.
Integrated Pest Management
Instead of using harmful chemicals, experts promote applying integrated pest management to control and unwanted insects. This is an approach that uses non-intrusive and non-synthetic methods of pest control. Rather, it uses biological, mechanical, and physical methods for management. This approach can be utilized in the agricultural and non-agricultural setting such as homes and workplaces.
To understand how it works, here are the four steps applied during integrated pest management procedures.
Setting action thresholds
The first thing to do is assess the severity of the pest infestation. Seeing pests should not push you to apply drastic measures immediately. You must define the impact and evaluate if it poses a threat. Many make the mistake of using pesticides the moment they see insects in their garden. Sometimes, these do not even pose a threat. Using drastic measures will only affect the environment and the organisms living around it.
Before you panic, see that these insects are indeed causing harm and damage to the garden. They should also pose an economic threat. This brings you to the second step: monitoring and identification of pests.
Identify and monitor pests
This is the process of accurately identifying which insects are pestering your garden or farm. Aside from the five would and aforementioned, there are more species that can pester your garden. Identifying it helps draw out the use of pesticides, especially if they are not needed. It also identifies the best methods to apply for prevention and extermination.
The third process entails preventing more pests to infest lawns, gardens, and farms. This way, you don’t have to go back to the first and second processes. You already know what you are dealing with. Do not let other insects come in and ruin your plan.
After monitoring and prevention, it’s time to eliminate the existing pests in your location through environmentally friendly means such as using pheromones to disrupt pest mating. It also includes trapping and weeding. If you’re having a difficult time with these pests, contact a lawn and garden pest specialist.
There you have it, these are the common pests that you can find in your garden and the methods you can apply to eliminate them. However, not everyone has the luxury of time to apply integrated pest management. Hence, you need to call experts who can do the work for you such as Go-Forth Pest Control. Are you experiencing garden pests? Contact these professionals now and get your free quote.