GETTING RID OF PESTS IN GARDEN PLANTS ORGANICALLY
Some people are afraid of insects getting comfy in their gardens. It makes sense somehow because insects really do destroy garden plants. It is a common misconception that the ideal garden is an insect-free garden; of course, this is impossible.
Insects will always be a part of a gardener’s life, and a permanent fixture in every garden. Many insects are actually beneficial to plants and are not there to destroy. A lot of these insects can even make plants healthy. Unfortunately, we cannot say that the fears of most gardeners about these insects are not unfounded. There are a number of them that can be pests and can harm their beloved plants. This being said, a gardener should know how much insects the plants can tolerate, and when to act in case these insects become too much to handle.
People deal with pests in three ways. They can use chemical pesticides, organic, or they use the services of professionals to do the dirty job. However, most homeowners, farmers, and gardeners are starting to veer away from using chemical pesticides because of their perceived harmful effects. Why is it that while chemical pesticides are one of the more efficient ways of killing pests, it is now being shunned by more and more people? Let us take a look at how chemical pesticides affect us and the environment in a rather negative way.
Potential harmful effects of chemical pesticides
Several studies have shown that chemical pesticides can affect the environment by polluting it. While its effects can be short-lived, there are chemical residues on the ground and our waterways long after its first application. As you read this, every time a chemical pesticide is used, it only adds to the build upon the environment.
When a chemical is applied on a surface, outside factors such as the wind, water, or soil tend to spread it out to other areas it was not supposed to reach. This would lead to dangers to human health, as well as to other beneficial animals and insects, and it contaminates surface water and groundwater.
Chemicals pesticides were also linked to a number of illnesses. Studies made by a multi-university research team showed that exposure to these chemicals “causes cancer, nervous system disease, reproductive problems, the increased presence of neurological disorders, Parkinson’s disease, childhood leukemia, lymphoma, and asthma.”
Chemicals also made drastic changes to the health of the soil. In turn, when the soil is not healthy anymore, the food that comes from the soil lose their nutritional value. Chemical pesticides also contaminate food. It has been discovered that a third of our food here in the U.S. have been contaminated with pesticides. Of course, pesticides were never meant to be eaten.
Your house can also be polluted by these pesticides and may enter our bodies through the skin or lungs. You may be breathing it while it remains on the surfaces of your carpets, sofas, or your children’s toys.
Lastly, chemical pesticides tend to kill off ALL insects, and we do not want that. What we want is to kill only the pests, and let the well-meaning insects live.
Identifying the garden pests and how to organically get rid of them
To help you differentiate the good ones from the bad, well, let us take a look at the bad ones. These pests are capable of killing your plants, and in no way should have a place in your garden. Here are some of them:
Caterpillars – These always hungry insects eat fruits, vegetables, ornamentals, and shade trees. While most caterpillar species are harmless to humans, they can be trouble for our garden because they can absolutely destroy it. They only have one purpose in life, and that is to eat. Due to this mission, our plants become the victims.
The best and perhaps the easiest way to stop these caterpillars from ravaging your garden is to introduce predators like birds and chickens into your garden. Put a birdbath or a birdhouse where they can stay, or put feeders. Another way to get rid of caterpillars is to handpick them. Take them off your plants and drown them in a bucket of water. If you are feeling merciful, then put them someplace elsewhere that cannot come back to your garden.
You can also make your own homemade pesticide by using a quart of water and two tablespoons of insecticidal soap. Spray directly on the caterpillars.
Aphids – Aphids are tiny insects that look like tiny peas. Some people know them as plant lice. They feed on the sap of many kinds of flowers, plants, vegetables, and fruits, including tomatoes, kale, cabbage, and lettuce. To identify, they are just ⅛ inch long with very long antennae and spiked tubes protruding from their back. Their bodies are soft and may come in different colors like green, yellow, brown, red, or black. They do not have wings. You would know they are present if your plants have distorted foliage. You may also look for them on the underside of a leaf, where you may find a large group of them feeding on the leaf.
To get rid of them, try to attract insects that feed on aphids, like ladybugs. You may attract ladybugs by adding sunflower or daisies to your garden. You may also use protective row covers. Handpicking them is also effective.
Vine weevils – They attack indoor and outdoor plants. They eat the leaves of the plants mostly during summer, and they also attack the roots. They are nocturnal and hide in the soil during the day.
Vine weevils prefer moist soil, so water the plants only when needed. Remove spots where they can hide around the plant. You may handpick them off the plants, then put them in a bucket of soapy water to drown them. Another option is using parasitic nematodes. You may purchase parasitic nematodes from a local gardening store near you. These parasites find their way inside garden pests. Once inside a pest, they release a bacteria that would kill the pest within 1 or 2 days. You can also use diatomaceous earth. This is made from the fossilized remains of diatoms and can be best described as looking like little shards of broken glass. It works by inflicting small cuts on the bodies of these insects, causing them to bleed to death. Sprinkle some of this around the plant to shield it from crawling insects.
Cutworms – They are described as the most damaging of all garden pests. They are an inch long and are fat. They curl up when they are at rest. Cutworms attack a wide variety of plants, including cauliflower, beets, kale, broccoli, and cabbage. They also frequently attack turfgrass. The larvae attack the stems and eventually cutting the plants down.
To control, delay planting until mid-summer. Remove them by hand, or you may also use beneficial nematodes.
Garden slugs and snails – Slugs and snails can really bring lots of headaches to gardeners and homeowners alike. They eat low-hanging plants that happen to be in a moist and shaded environment. They can also be toxic to your pets as well. They leave a trace of slime, so if you find a slimy trail, they are probably lurking nearby.
To control, you should water your plants in the morning. Encourage birds, frogs, or even snakes to eat these slugs and snails. Pick them off by hand and then drown them in a bucket of soapy water. Organic slug baits can be used.
Leafminers – Leafminers tunnel through leaves and feed on tissues, leaving discolored plants behind. Leafminers are the larvae of different types of flies. They attack plants like spinach, beets, blueberries, and chard.
You can use row covers to prevent leafminers from attacking. Neem oil may help too. You may also use flowering herbs to attract insects that eat the leafminers.
Mealybugs – Their appearance is similar to white cotton. The problem with mealybugs is that they multiply quickly. They like to feed on indoor plants. They weaken the plants by sucking all the sap in just a few days. Plants become yellow, sticky, and lose their leaves.
To protect your plants, covering it is the easiest way. You can also blast these insects with water and liquid insecticidal soap. Attract insects that feed on mealybugs too.
Getting rid of pests naturally gives you better and safer results than you resorting to chemical pesticides.
For problems with other pests, you can call the best pest control management in the Carolinas, Go-Forth Pest Control.
Simply the best
Go-Forth Pest Control is a family-owned company specializing in the extermination of all kinds of pests and has been in existence since 1959. We use the latest and most advanced technology available, with family-friendly and pet-friendly methods of extermination.
Go-Forth Pest Control has earned the trust of residents and businesses in North Carolina for more than 50 years. For more information, or to set an appointment, just dial 336-841-6111. Our friendly operators are standing by.