INSECTS ARE INTEGRAL TO A GARDEN, YOU CANNOT ELIMINATE THEM
We live in an ecosystem. There should be insects in a garden, but the insects should not destroy the garden. Over millions of years plants and insects have co-evolved and found a symbiotic relationship where there is a balance. If you don’t want bugs or insects, don’t have a garden. Most people like birds in their garden. Remember that 90% of all birds raise their young on insects. Caterpillars turn into butterflies… entertainment value in a garden!
Off my soapbox and back to solutions for this common garden problems...
There are many problem insects. The first thing to do is properly identify the insect. Many insects arrive because the plant is stressed, weak and open to disease and insect damage. Use (IPM) Integrated Pest Management.
APHIDS ARE THE NUMBER ONE GARDEN PEST. HERE'S HOW TO BEAT THEM!
A particular garden pest that damages plants are aphids. A perfect example of an effective use of I.P.M. is when confronted with an aphid infestation.
A common garden hose spray nozzle will have enough force to remove them. Beyond that, purchase or order lady beetles for your garden. Lady beetles eat aphids. Spray them separately with a very light sugar water solution, which will keep their wings closed for a couple days, and they won’t fly away. You want them to procreate! That’s right, sex in the garden. The newborns (larvae) are voracious eaters. Within a couple weeks you should be rid of the aphids. As a garden designer, I have used this method in my own garden as well as clients. This works especially well in my rose garden.
SUGGESTIONS TO MINIMIZE GARDEN PESTS FROM BROOKLYN BOTANICAL GARDEN
- Keep your garden tidy. Put weeds and organic debris in the compost pile. (Note: Pest-ridden or diseased plants go in the trash, not in the compost.)
- Handpick pests and drop them into a bucket of soapy water. Wash aphids off plants with a strong stream of water.
- Grow plants in different spots in the garden each year. Crop rotation can help break the pest and disease cycle. Especially when growing tomatoes.
- Garlic is a terrific plant that repels aphids. Plant it as a companion for tomatoes and kale, and get the bonus of a garlic harvest next summer. (But keep it away from peas and beans, since it may stunt their growth.)
- Plant plenty of herbs like chives, mint, and dill, which have flowers that attract beneficial insects. Next spring, the “good” bugs will help do the pest management work for you!