If Plant Insects Are Driving You Buggy, Squash the Problem with Simple, Safe, Smart Solutions.
You’ve given up weekends, bent over blossoms and fussed over foliage – and your hard work has been rewarded. But whoa! Is that a caterpillar, about to feast on your flora? Garden insects can wreak havoc, turning green plants yellow, and eating through foliage voraciously. Here’s some information on DIY natural pesticides to help you win the war, and give meaning to the promise, “Not in my backyard!”
Gypsy Moth Caterpillars
Maybe you held one of these furry creatures in your hand as a kid. They seem benign, but are insatiable eating machines! The nests of tree- and shrub-killing gypsy moths look like fuzzy white cocoons. The caterpillars crawl down trees in the morning, returning at dusk. If you wrap a loosely bunched band of burlap around the trunk, they’ll burrow in the folds. Then you can scrape the trapped crawlers into a container. Pick them off your plants as soon as you spot them.
Slugs and Snails
These mini-creatures move through the world like molasses, but don’t be fooled. They prey on greenery and can quickly eat holes in your beautiful plants. Luckily, they’re fairly easy to spot – and eradicate. Crushed up eggshells around your plants will act as a natural pesticide, and be abrasive to their soft bellies and send them elsewhere. A more permanent solution is beer, which slugs can’t resist. Put a dishful near the plants they’re eating and they’ll drown in it. Happy, perhaps, but dead nevertheless!
These tiny bugs are also known as plant lice, and come in a variety of colors, according to their species. Aphid infestation is so common, it’s thought that at least one species can be found on most plants. These soft-bodied insects are born pregnant, and multiply at a staggering pace! You can often just spray them off plants, using a mild solution of water (one quart) and dishwashing liquid (one teaspoon).
Outsmart the Pests
Keeping one step ahead is often how you win the race, so here are two more ways to debug proactively:
- Start Strong
Plants have an immune system like we do. Begin by choosing quality plants or seeds, with “good DNA.” The bargain table at the garden store may be tempting, but weak plants are easy prey for tiny-but-mighty predators.
- Tap Into the Power of Attraction
How about inviting some plants to your garden that attract bugs that eat bugs? Mint, parsley, basil and garlic are tasty choices. For color and beauty, plant flowers like cosmos, alyssum and sunflowers. Spiders, ladybugs, praying mantids and bees are your allies in the insect wars – and bees pollinate your garden as well.
Garden pests may be a nuisance, but a great garden hose should never be. Check out our selection and see for yourself. Teknor Apex has taken all the kinks out!