If you have a garden it goes without saying that you will always have an assortment of garden insects. The trick is to know if the bug you found is friend or foe.
To keep your garden healthy and free from the bugs that eat your vegetables and plants for lunch, learn to identify the bad bugs early, and let the good bugs go ahead and do their work unhindered, as they help by feeding on your plants predators and also help in pollination.
When insect pests attack your garden plants, what you need to do is to identify the insect. This will help you to control it, be prepared, and know what plants are favored by which insects, and what time of the year they are active.
Look for clues on your plants to identify vegetable garden pests. Chewed leaves or flowers, black or gray spots on the leaves and other signs point to various pests. Garden pests leave their own individual signs and clues. Did the pest eat flowers off the plant high up on the stem? Did a nocturnal visitor chew holes through the leaves, or only the edges of the leaf? Do you see shiny silvery streaks or snail shells around the garden? A close look at the damage will reveal clues about the offending garden pest.
Aphids attack the leaves and stems of many vegetables and plants. Plants that are under attack by a large number of aphids may show signs such as reduced growth, wilted leaves, drying branches, stunted needles, and curled foliage. Look for clusters of the little bugs; they can also pass on viruses to your plants which causes them to die. They multiply quickly so you need to be alert; the tiny, pear-shaped pests often appear in the spring and feast on your plants' tender new leaves. Aphids come in many colors including green, black, brown, red, and pink. Aphids can quite easily be dislodged from your plant with a steady stream of water from your hosepipe or you can rub them off your plants, wearing gloves.
Ladybirds are a natural predator of aphids, as are lacewings, praying mantis and spiders, so encourage these to your garden. As a last resort, spray carefully with an insecticide such as insecticidal soap to eliminate aphids.
Slugs and snails love to chew on leaves, particularly plants growing in moist, shady locations. They leave behind large holes and a trail of slime. You can trap slugs and snails by sinking containers of beer into your garden near damaged plants. Or sprinkle diatomaceous earth around affected plants.
The tomato hornworm eats tomato plant leaves and can strip a plant bare within hours. One natural remedy for repelling hornworms is to plant marigolds in close proximity to the tomatoes. Grasshoppers chew the leaves of vegetables and plants and can decimate a garden overnight. Birds eat grasshoppers, so attracting birds keeps them in check.
Caterpillars have huge appetites and have been known to consume entire plants almost overnight. Try to identify caterpillars before killing them. Many are not considered pests and might be the larvae of important species of butterflies or moths. You can pluck caterpillar pests by hand; they can often be found on the undersides of leaves. If physical removal isn't practical, a bacterial spray with Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) will control caterpillars.
Favorite plants in the garden for the Colorado include tomatoes, peppers, potatoes and eggplants. Adult beetles are oval and about half the size of your thumbnail. They have red heads and black and yellow stripes down their back. Females lay clusters of bright orange oval eggs on the underside of leaves. Hand picking is the gardener's best defense against Colorado potato beetles. Knock any beetles and larvae you find into a can of soapy water to dispose of them. For major outbreaks, spray Bt San Diego while larvae are small. As a deterrent, spread thick organic mulch over the garden to make it hard for emerging beetles to reach plants in the spring.
Japanese beetles are the scourge of many gardens. Identify them by their green and golden brown bodies and holes chewed in the middle of leaves. They attack roses, hollyhocks, morning glories, and many other flowers and vegetables.
Cucumber beetles eat holes in the leaves and roots of cucumbers, corn and other members of the squash family. They have oval bodies with yellow and black stripes or spots. To control, rotate crops each year. Applying a heavy layer of mulch around plants may help curb attacks. Attract predators such as ladybugs and parasitic wasps. If necessary, apply neem oil, a botanical pesticide, to the soil to kill larvae.
Cutworms are moth larvae that live in the soil and come out at night to feast on new seedlings. Plants are often cut off completely at or just below the soil surface. Create a barrier around new plants with a plastic bottle, cut the top off and place the collar around the plant and push into the soil to prevent the cutworm from attacking the stem. Birds such as blue jays, sparrows, blackbirds and wrens feed on cutworms. Attract birds by placing bird feeders close to infested areas. You can also purchase parasitic nematodes to eat cutworms in the soil.
Prevention is better than cure every time; you should try companion planting which is favored by many experienced gardeners to deter most vegetable garden pests.
Colin Price has been gardening for many years and encounterd many garden pests. Now you can take advantage of his knowledge and success and create your own beautiful and productive garden by taking a look at => http://www.OutdoorAndGarden.com
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