Japanese beetles pose a serious threat to gardens in both their grub and adult stages. As grubs, they overwinter in the dirt and awaken in spring to consume tender roots. As adults, they eat leaves, quickly consuming all but the veins. Some strategic planting can help control Japanese beetles as these pests do not like plants, such as dogwoods.
The most effective option for removing adult beetles is to hand-pick them off of the plants. Gardeners should wear gloves and gently pull the bug away from the plant, and then dispose of it in a bucket of warm soapy water.
Killing grubs before they become adults is highly effective at controlling infestations. Gardeners can spread beneficial nematodes throughout the garden in the early spring or use an organic pesticide to kill these grubs.
There are several different kinds of tiny pests referred to as aphids. These insects spread disease to plants, rapidly destroying large areas. Prompt removal is essential for saving flowers and crops.
There are both preventative and curative treatment options for dealing with aphids. Gardeners should remain vigilant even after using preventative methods to detect resilient infestations.
Tobacco and water
Soaking plants in tobacco water repels aphids. Gardeners should steep tobacco leaves in water and then spray the mixture over the plants, thoroughly soaking the leaves. Liquid soap is an effective alternative to tobacco.
Ladybirds are natural predators of aphids. These larger insects eat large amounts of the tiny pests and deter others. Gardeners should use ladybird lure to attract harmless ladybirds to their gardens.
Rodents, such as mice and rats, eat produce and spread disease. These animals can also enter homes, putting humans and pets at risk. Prevention is usually the best option when it comes to treating rodent infestations.
Like any animals, rodents enjoy a comfortable living environment. Gardeners should make their gardens less appealing by removing nesting opportunities, such as tall weeds, brush piles, and easy-to-access sheds.
Making the garden less appealing is another effective option. Spraying plants with water and hot pepper oil, creating a scent barrier with castor oil, or using garlic clips repels rodents without risking the safety of other animals or children.
Butterflies are usually a welcome addition to gardens but, in their larval stage, they can cause serious damage. Caterpillars eat leaves and stems, destroying plants and making others vulnerable to disease.
Caterpillar infestations occur very quickly. Gardeners should be prepared to both repel and remove these pests in early spring.
Birds eat caterpillars, so attracting more birds to the garden offers effective protection. Gardeners can place birdbaths throughout the area to lure more birds.
A natural pesticide referred to as Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt, provides effective protection against caterpillars. Though it repels these pests, it is harmless to animals and humans.
Slimy-bodied slugs crave moisture constantly. As they move across leaves, they completely deplete them of all water, creating large holes. They also eat plant material, such as stems and roots.
Slug infestations can be more difficult to detect than other infestations because they remain largely hidden. Preventative methods are most effective.
Feeding the slugs offers them an alternative to plants in the garden. Gardeners should plant a row or two of lettuces surrounding the garden to keep slugs off of their other plants.
Copper immediately reacts with slugs, shocking and killing them on contact. Placing copper strips directly on the ground or on the walls of raised beds keeps these pests from entering the garden.