Summer’s long days and hot nights are fantastic for going outside and enjoying your garden. Finally, all of the work you have put in over the past season will be paying off, and you are able to relax and revel in the fruits of your labour. Unfortunately, you are likely not the only one who would like to appreciate your plot — there’s a veritable legion of nasty creatures waiting to spoil your outdoor plans and send you to the protection of your home.
In addition to all these unwelcome guests, but there are a range of beneficial garden insects. But how do you eliminate the bad guys and welcome the good guys? With just a little preparation and old-school understanding, you can accomplish this without pesticides or other substances that can damage you and your garden.
Below you will learn some of the more common insect threats to your garden and how you are able to persuade the bad bugs to depart on their own volition.
4 Garden Pests and How to Remove Them
Mosquitoes. In many regions mosquitoes are a major issue in the summertime and can hinder outdoor activities. They thrive in regions with a normal water source and can multiply very quickly into big numbers if left unattended. All of your lawn’s water attributes should have motion on the surface of the water. Mosquito larvae can survive just in stagnant water, so if a pump is installed in a water feature, mosquito colonies are not as likely to survive. Adding fish into a pond is also a excellent way to fight mosquitoes, since they consume the larvae until they hatch. Goldfish, minnows and betta fish (also called Siamese fighting fish) are great options for controlling mosquitoes.
Ultimately, there are lots of plants you can add to your garden to help repel mosquitoes. Catnip is a natural mosquito repellent which develops in most regions within an easy-growing perennial. Marigolds also have a distinctive odor that is unbearable to mosquitoes. Try planting these annuals in pots around your patio and next to windows, and the odor will prevent mosquitoes from hanging around.
Wasps. As the summer winds on, wasps can turn into a major issue in the garden. These competitive carnivores have ruined many an outdoor dinner. Regrettably, vibrant-colored blooms can attract themso place plants which bloom in summer time away from sitting and dining areas. You could even deter wasps by placing out a bowl of crushed cloves on the table — the odor is offensive to wasps, and they will find someplace else to spend their time.
Ants. Depending on your geographical area, there are lots of types of ants that could make a home in your garden. Some ants are more difficult to eliminate than others. Luckily, the ants in Vancouver, where I reside, are rather simple to control.
As a guideline for many ants, concentrate on where they live and what they feed on to dissuade them from the garden. Ants don’t like the odor of cinnamon or mint, so if you are able to find the mound where the ants are coming from, sprinkle some cinnamon or go a potted mint plant to the region (mint should always be contained, since it’s an aggressively invasive plant) to make the region less hospitable to those little pests.
But ants are tenacious critters, and they might just move their home elsewhere in your garden. That’s why it’s also important to concentrate on their food resource. Among the means that ants gain sustenance is by”farming” the honeydew secreted out of aphids. They will even go so far as to move the aphids onto prime real estate on fruit trees and create elaborate methods for aphid farms to produce honeydew. And this leads us to our very last insect:
Aphids. Aphids can be tricky to eradicate, and the solution generally comes down to a combination of strategies. I’ve found blasting them off leaves with the hose are the most successful once they’ve infested a plant (versus soap-based sprays, which can often damage leaves), but there are also beneficial insects which can be introduced to your garden to manage an aphid problem.
The New York Botanical Garden
Two Beneficial Garden Insects and How to Welcome Them
Ladybugs. As mentioned before, aphids are a major issue in the garden. Ladybugs are a natural predator of aphids and can make a big difference to the health of your garden. An adult ladybug can eat around 1,000 aphids a day, so it’s easy to see how introducing this little helper can be useful. It is possible to buy ladybugs in many garden centers, but before you spend the money, be sure you take appropriate steps to help them stay around rather than flying away to your neighbor’s garden:
make certain there is not any insecticide on your crops, and scrutinize the leaves to see if there are aphids. Publish the ladybugs at night (they do not fly at night, so they’re more inclined to get established in your garden immediately) near the aphid-affected plants.Provide food resources other than aphids to make them feel at home. Ladybugs also eat pollen and love many flowering plants, such as marigolds, fennel, dill and geraniums.
Mason bees. Bees and wasps frequently get thrown in precisely the same category of garden pests, but in reality, bees play an important role in the life cycle of crops. They also have more important things to concentrate on than you and your garden visitors, so that they aren’t going to bite or be a nuisance. Bees are avid pollinators and a crucial part of food crop production. International honeybee populations are in decline, so it’s more important than ever to help different types of bees take hold of their pollination jobs at hand.
That’s where mason bees come in. Introducing mason bees in to your scheme is as simple as sourcing a mason bee house and a few bee cocoons. Make sure there is also a water supply available so the bees can produce mud to package their cocoons into the mason bee house.
The cocoons hold dormant mason bees which come to life when the temperature warms in the spring (optimum conditions are if the noontime temperature is a minimum of 57 degrees Fahrenheit or 14 degrees Celsius). They can be kept in the refrigerator until the time is right to release them. Mason bees do not kind hives and live brief lives. Given the right conditions (flowering plants, a water supply and a home to put eggs in)they will work hard to pollinate your plants throughout the summer, along with the cocoons which are left behind in the mason bee house can be placed in containers in the refrigerator in the autumn and saved until next spring.
More: Porch Life: Banish the Bugs
4 Good Ways to Get Rid of Mosquitoes in Your Lawn