When growing a garden, you have to watch out for pests. Wouldn’t it be nice if you had another pair of eyes, so to speak, to help you? Some simple solutions will help you keep those pests under control.
Making Your Own Insect Strips
If you have aphids, whiteflies, thrips, and other insects, you can put out yellow sticky traps. Some of these insects are attracted to the light reflected from the plant's surface, or their color. You can either buy these traps at your local garden supply store. You can also plant garlic or onions around your plants to help control aphids. There is another natural solution to getting rid of aphids and my mom has done this not only in her garden, but to her houseplants as well. You need about 10 to 10 ounces of water and 2 teaspoons of soap. It can be either dish or laundry soap. Add several cloves of garlic and cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil and boil for several minutes. Cool and strain. Put it into a spray bottle and spray onto your plants.
Pick Large Bugs Off By Hand
Japanese beetles and other beetles like potato bugs, love your plants but commercial traps will only take care of about half of those beetles. The best way to control beetles is by hand picking them off in the morning and at night. Just take a bucket of soapy water, my mom used to use diesel or gas, and drop the beetles into the bucket where they will drown. If you use diesel fuel or gas, do not spill this in your garden, as it is not good for your plants. A little known fact is that beetles cannot fly unless their body temperature reaches 73 degrees. That is why picking in the morning and evening is the best time.
Another way to control beetles is by covering your plants with mesh cloth. To keep beetles off your flowers, plant dark colored flowers. Beetles don't like the darker flowers as much as they do light colored flowers.
If you don’t want to plant flowers, pick off bugs or make sticky strips, you can order beneficial insects. These “good” insects will eat many of the garden bugs that can ruin a garden. You can find several mail order places that sell these beneficial insects for the home gardener. Some of the good insects are ladybugs. They feed on aphids, mites, whiteflies and scale. Lacewings and hover-flies eat aphids and their larva eats aphids. Praying mantis eats many different garden pests. The praying mantis sells in egg form, which you set out in the garden to hatch. Nematodes have an appetite for cutworms. They also eat beetles and root weevil larvae.