Anyone who’s been gardening for a substantial amount of time knows one thing, and they know it well: pests can destroy even the healthiest of gardening plots. But pests can be hard to identify, and it’s crucial you do so quickly to save your crops. Here are some of the most common garden pests, with some tips and tricks that will help you identify them (and their nests!).
Tips And Tricks For Pests And Their Nests
To tell if your plants are being attacked by Spider Mites, you’ll have to examine the underside of plant leaves. This is where you’ll find their nests. Like normal spiders, spider mites will leave a fine webbing on the underside of plant leaves. If plant leaves are beginning to develop yellow “spots” like the photo below, it could be a sign of mites. To help sick plants, try raising humidity levels or spray undersides of the leaves with a strong spray of water. Use organic pest control sprays if this method does not work.
Though it’s pretty easy to spot where the ants are nesting in your garden, ants are pretty tricky to get rid of! Typically, Ants are a result of another problem, like Scale. This is because Scale insects secrete a waste product that is tasty to ants. To treat, first determine your plant is healthy and treat any pests should they be existent. For the ants, Diatomaceous Earth sprinkled in their path will do the trick.
I’m using the term “scale” as a broad term that covers all scale insects that could be harming your plant. These pests create nests and attach themselves to the roots, stems, or leaves of garden and household plants for no apparent reason. The bugs often don’t look like anything more than an odd growth, especially when on tree trunks. Plants suffering from a scale insect infestation may have deformed leaf growth, be dropping leaves, and covered in brown pockmarks. Unfortunately, if your plant is dealing with a large infestation, treatment requires the removal of ALL infected leaves and branches. Smaller cases can be treated with this neem-based leaf shine on houseplants. Apply regularly until all insects have been killed. Pesticides should ONLY be used as a last resort because they usually aren’t effective against scale anyway.
Weevils are those creates that leave bite marks in your leaves. Aren’t they annoying? Not only are the adult Weevil bugs a headache for gardeners, but their larvae can actually burrow into the ground and cause plants to die. If you suspect you may have Weevils, you can treat them with by introducing beneficial nematodes and introducing them to your garden. They’ll actually destroy 230 other potential pests, too! Protect your plants from future infestations by surrounding plants with Diatomaceous Earth. They can’t fly, so this will stop them in their tracks!
If you keep finding clusters of small insects (but no webs!) on the undersides of your plant leaves, you could be dealing with an aphid infestation. Aphids will nest along the undersides of leaves and on the stalks of plants, secreting a sticky liquid that can cause black mold. To treat mild infestations, clean plants with a mixture of mild dish soap and water. For something larger, feed them flour. This causes them to become constipated and die.
Other Pest Control Tips and Tricks
For larger pests like deer, try my DIY deer resistant spray. It’s totally safe on plants, but will leave deer running for the hills! Additionally, I have a great article here that outlines how to use apple cider vinegar as pest control. Here are other home remedies for any kind of garden pest.