Pests of all sorts are just annoying. But unlike neighbor and family pests, garden pests can impair the growth of your garden. Luckily, pests can be eliminated organically and without harming the beneficial insects you want in your garden.
Now, there are a ton of garden pests, and we can only cover so many here. So, we're going to discuss some on the most common pests and the ways to banish them from your garden.
I remember my first encounter with aphids. I was about three of four years old and my dad bought some ladybugs to rid his garden (his outdoor garden) of the pests. He released the ladybugs and, you guessed it, they all flew away. Oh, dad. I'm told I responded with a profound "they flew away, daddy!" That they did.
Anyhow, aphids are incredibly common garden pests. They are fine in small populations, but once their colonies grow, look out. Your plant's leaves will begin to look curled and molted. The natural insects that you want to attract to your garden to get rid of these pests are lady beetles, and braconid and chalcid wasps. You also can easily get rid of aphids by hand picking them off leaves, as well as spraying their colonies in leafy greens with water. If the pest has invaded a shrub or fruit tree, consider using soap sprays and horticultural oil.
These dudes are total jerks and will destroy your tomatoes if given the chance. Luckily, though, they can be combated with lady beetles, yellow jackets, and green lacewing larvae. Also: similar to aphids, the hornworm can also be controlled by handpicking and row covers.
Squash Vine Borer
I detest these guys as they have destroyed many-a pumpkins at my parents' home over the years. However, this nasty bug can be thwarted by using row covers (when the plant is young) and by setting up traps. The traps consist of small, yellow pails filled two-thirds with water. The adult moths are attracted to yellow and can drop in the trap. Other methods to try include using row covers near low stems, physically going outside and catching them in a net, and cutting the borers out of the plants.
If you didn't find the pest that's plaguing you here, or if you want more information about the above pests, consult Mother Earth News' comprehensive Organic Pest Control Series.
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