Get off my Garden!: A Guide to Simple Pest Control

by Chuck
(Denver, CO)

You're not the only one who enjoys eating fruits and vegetables from your garden. A small army of pests are ready to devour the products of your hard work. One way to protect your garden is to educate your self about the pests in your area and what efforts you can take to get rid of them, preferably without doing harm to the environment.

Aphids, particularly spider mites, are nasty little buggers that are about a millimeter in size. They suck the sap from the leaves of a wide range of plants. Aphids, as well as their transparent eggs, are resistant to most kinds of pesticides. To make things worse they reproduce at a rate that puts rabbits to shame, some females can lay up to 20 eggs a day. However, there are a few sprays that are specially designed to kill them by penetrating and blocking the breathing holes of mites and thus suffocating them. Lady bugs and spiders are also natural predators of sprites and may be used to help control their population.

The Japanese beetle is roughly about a half an inch long and was first introduced to the US in 1916. These insects feed on on leaves, flowers, and roots. You can help control their population in your garden by using rotenone and pyrethrum insecticides.

Raccoons, though cute, can devastate not only your garden but your home as well in their search for food. These omnivorous will eat pretty much anything including your trash so it's a good idea to make sure your garbage is covered and secure. Also, another preventative measure would be to protect your plants with wire mesh or an electric fence.

If plain ol' regular ants weren't annoying enough you have fire ants which not only devour your plants but may also sting and attack your children and pets. Fire ant mounds can grow up to two feet if not controlled. You can take preventative measures against them by cleaning your kitchen, tying off garbage, and draining any standing pools of water around your home. Also, citrus peelings mixed with water can be poured into ant hills along with organic natural fire ant killer to kill the critters without doing unnecessary harm to your garden or the environment.

Slugs are not only slimy and disgusting but can also damage your garden by chewing on foliage and fruits. Luckily, they're pretty easy to get rid of, you can just pick them off your plants or, if you don't feel like getting your hands dirty and covered with slime, you can sprinkle salt on them. Also, sand and lime can be used as a protective border.

Home gardens are not only an environmentally sustainable hobby but can also be a healthy and cost effective alternative to eating out. However, even a well kept garden can fall prey to a variety of insects and other pests. With a few preventative measures you can make sure that the only ones eating from your garden are you as well as your friends and family.


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