Not all pests are pesky, but you don’t want the nasty ones wreaking havoc to your beautiful garden.
Be picky, welcome the invited guests and kick out the horrible ones. You can do this if you can identify the beneficial insects from the harmful insects. And then apply natural remedies to get rid of unwanted creepy crawlers.
Beneficial and Harmful Pests
There are about 900,000 species of insects on the planet, even a zoologist will find a hard time distinguishing one from the other.
Not every gardener cannot differentiate the beneficial insects from the pesky ones unless you’re fine with killing any bug that moves. The initial reaction for many is to spray the garden with pesticide. That’s a good move since you got rid of your insect problem, but expect these adverse results:
Beneficial insects are predators of harmful insects which threaten the vitality of gardens and is a gardener’s worst nightmare.
A bit of knowledge about these insects will help you identify the good from the bad ones and if there is infestation call your local pest control professionals.
Identifying Beneficial Insects
Don’t zap these insects when you see them in your garden. They are the best form of pesticide that defends your plants by eating the naughty bugs that destroy your work.
Hemispherical body; colored orange, pink, red, black or yellow with distinct spots. What They Do- Feast on aphids, scale bugs, and other sap-sucking insects. Lay cluster of eggs near prey, harmless to humans.
Resembles stink bugs or spiders. They have a long antenna, long and skinny legs, and a long neck with the beak underneath. They sneak on any insects, their bite is painful and cause some infections and diseases.
Delicate looking insects measure 15 – 22 mm long with lace-looking wings Either green or brown in color. They snack on aphids, mites, scale bugs, and many more garden pests.
Black and shiny with hard and grooved wings on the back. Adults are active at night and hide beneath objects during the daytime. They feed on unsuspecting insects like caterpillars, maggots, snails, slugs, grubs other soft-bodied insects.
Have a very long, stick-thinned body and a triangular head. Either green or brown in color. They eat any insects including beneficial ones.
Very small and measuring from ¼ to ¾ inches long. Black, yellow, and red. They don’t eat insect but lay eggs on insects for food of baby wasp when they hatch. Great for controlling caterpillars, weevils, cutworms and hornworms.
Identifying Harmful Insects
Aside from damaging plants, harmful insects deliver painful, venomous bites; they destroy crops and properties; and contaminate food. Shoo away those unwanted guests if they drop by your garden.
American Oil Beetle
They have a soft, stout abdomen with shell covering that looks like overlapping plates the surface texture is bumpy. Dull black, shiny black or dark blue in color. They are active all year sitting on plants, they love buttercups and grass, They emit a chemical that swells and irritates human skin.
Wingless and winged aphids are tiny in size and come in colors of green, yellow or white. The popular nemesis of gardeners. They pierce stems and leaves and suck the juice where the plants dehydrate and die.
Black Vine Weevil
This species is black and covered in fine hairs, the body has ridges and bumpy. It feeds at night chewing away leaves.
Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
The brown body is covered in small black freckles. Three thick black dashes are found in its red abdomen. They feed off of leaves and hanging fruits. They suck the juice causing the fruit to deform.
A green bodied, chubby, hairless caterpillar with white diagonal stripes on both sides. Aside from tobacco, they attack leaves of potato and tomato plant. And can devour leaves and stems with ease.
How to get rid of harmful pests in the garden?
A gardener is amply rewarded for his time and effort with sweet-smelling blooms and a bountiful harvest of crops. Before the reward, you have to deal with the creepy crawlers that treat flowers and vegetables as their salad bar. Fortunately, there are natural ways than pesticides to keep a healthy and beautiful garden.
Build healthy soil
Healthy soil grows healthy plants, and healthy plants can withstand pest attacks.
Add compost to your soil, this will make your soil clean by adding natural components and compounds that will keep pests away. After tilling place plastic on top of your garden, the heat will kill pests, weeds, and other microorganisms. Remove the cover and you are now ready to plant.
Attract beneficial insects
Keep the plants diversified as possible to have year-round blooming to attract friendlies.
Water plants early in the morning
The ideal time is before 10 am to help with photosynthesis during the day. If you water in the late afternoon, the water will stay on leaves promoting fungus and other diseases.
Practice crop rotation
If the same crop will be planted in the same place every year, the bug will get used to it. Rotating crops will confuse the bug and will leave the place, it will also prevent the soil nutrients from getting depleted.
Drop off infested leaves
This will take some of your time but it will be worth it. Pinch off dead or infested leaves to prevent contaminating the plant and spreading to other plants.
Keep your garden clean
Remove faded blooms, fallen leaves, twigs, branches, and pulled weeds. The decayed plant matter is a habitat for fungus, insects, and diseases.