How to de-bug your garden
Did you know it is estimated that there are over 100,000 different species of insects that live in North America? If you don’t think you have bugs in your garden – guess again. In a typical backyard there are probably 1,000 little critters setting up house.
Remember, not all insects are bad. Less than three percent of all insects are classified as pests. Different plants attract different insects. You will not find a corn worm on a tomato plant, because it’s digestive system simply cannot handle it.
It is helpful to know the insects that live in your area. This will enable you to avoid insect infestation by planting plants that these insects do not eat. This is the safest, most environmentally friendly way to de-bug your garden.
Unfortunately, this will probably not be enough to keep all destructive insects out of your garden. For many gardeners, it is necessary to use insecticides. When using insecticides, you will have maximum results if you know what kind of insects you have. Always read the label on the insecticide and follow all directions. Make sure that it is labeled for use on your plants and insects. Whenever possible, use organic insecticides that are nontoxic. This will allow you to effectively rid your garden of harmful insects, while minimizing harm to the environment.
Here are some indicators that you need to de-bug your garden:
Do your leaves have holes in them?
This is an indication of a chewing insect. To control chewing insects you have to find out what kind of insect it is. It could be a caterpillar, grasshopper, or beetle, or one of many others. Look under the leaves in the morning, or just after dark. That is when they like to eat. Most people do not realize that they have bugs, because they hide during the heat of the day.
Is your plant discolored, drooping, wilting or generally lacks vigor?
Often times, sucking insects cause this type of damage. These critters do not eat outer surfaces of the plants, so some insecticides will not affect them. It is necessary to use a contact insecticide to eliminate sucking insects. Contact insecticides come in direct contact with the insect’s body and kill by burning, asphyxiation, or paralysis. The insecticide must actually “contact” the pests to kill them.
Is your tree full of holes, dripping sap, or do you have a pile of sawdust-like matter around the base of the tree?
Boring insects, (and we do not mean ones without a social life either) can do quite a bit of damage to trees before they emerge into their adult form. Borers may be directly attacked. When their tunnels are open, they may be impaled on a piece of wire. If they cannot be reached that way, they can be smothered by Bon-Neem Insecticidal Soap Concentrate or killed by Bonide Rotenone-Pyrethrins Concentrate, made with naturally occurring pyrethrin. These concentrates are available through Spray-N-Grow.
These are just a few ways you can de-bug your garden. The bottom line is…if you have healthy plants to begin with, you will probably be doing a lot less de-bugging in your garden!