Battle the Bugs
August 15th, 2021
Recent hot days and precipitation are a perfect combination for insects in our gardens and landscapes. Keep an eye on your garden, especially edible plants, and act on pests as soon as you spot them.
Aphids commonly appear on mixed lettuce greens, radishes, broccoli and kale. Try planting marigolds and lemon thyme to help deter this messy pest.
If you have roses of any kind, you might also see aphids on buds, tender new growth and even stems. Be aware that aphids multiply by live birth and are clones of their mothers. Their numbers can explode in one day, so take care of them as soon as you see them.
One method is to fill a quart spray bottle with tepid water and one tablespoon of dish detergent. Spray on plants for quick and easy aphid control. You can also visit your local garden center for ladybugs to release in the garden to help control the pests.
Japanese beetles can devastate garden plants and can do so quickly. In a matter of days, they can “skeletonize” leaves of a variety of plants. After their chomping, all that remains is a filigree of the leaf, as all the soft green tissue has been chewed away.
Japanese beetles love roses, both the flowers and leaves. They also enjoy raspberries, grapes, Virginia creeper, American linden, horse chestnut, and green beans. When you spot adult beetles in your landscape, the best method is to shake or pick them off plants and dispose of them in a bucket of soapy water. Experts warn against beetle traps; the trap’s lure may actually attract additional beetles into your yard, and traps are not proven to reduce the amount of destruction the insects cause.
Many pest controls are available from garden centers, including soaps and other treatments. Some of these products should not be applied to edibles, so read labels and follow the instructions before using. And if an infestation seems out of control, consult a professional to help you manage the situation.