Tired of seeing hungry bugs ruin your garden year after year? Well, don’t worry, because that’s not going to happen again. Not to you. Not this year. A few simple tips is all that stands between you and a garden free of costly pest damage—and we’re going to show you how to get it done. Read on for 5 easy tips for preventing destructive bugs in your garden.
While it’s tempting to cram as many plants as possible into your garden, doing so can have serious pest ramifications. Without proper circulation and space, your garden becomes even more inviting to hungry insects, as you’re now providing them with shelter, too. This also encourages garden pests to breed and live within your garden rather than simply visiting your plants from time to time to feed.
It can be a headache, especially on the weekends, but watering in the morning is a sure-fire way to decrease garden bug problems. The reasoning is simple, bugs tend to feed in the evening and drier plants are less appetizing to pests than damp ones. Plus, since your plants will have access to plenty of moisture before the day heats up, they’ll be healthier and therefore less prone to disease and pest infestation in general.
Birds, toads, and frogs are ravenous insect-eaters. You can limit your own garden bug populations by inviting these friendly allies into your yard.
Placing a small bowl of water and a toad house near your garden should attract a hungry amphibian or two (just be aware that the water might also invite mosquitoes, so keep close watch). Birds usually don’t need much of an incentive if there are already bugs around. However, if there are no natural shelters like small trees, you might need to add a birdhouse, too.
Having beneficial insects—like praying mantises, ground beetles, and ladybugs—living in your garden will dramatically decrease the number of destructive garden pests you experience.
To attract these allies, try offering a diversity of plant life of various heights that bloom at different times throughout the year. Having trees, shrubs, and turf is also essential, as they offer beneficial insects space to overwinter, allowing them to return year after year. Many beneficial insects feed on pollen and nectar, so you’ll need something that supplies those resources as well, like plants in the aster and carrot families. Other common plants that attract beneficial insects are thyme, oregano, sunflowers, and daisies.
Overripe veggies and fallen fruit are some of the biggest attractants of destructive garden pests. Firstly, they’re an easy source of food. Secondly, overly heavy fruits and veggies can make a plant less healthy, and therefore more prone to bug infestation and disease.
Keeping a close eye and picking any over-sized fruits and veggies you see before they can fall is one of the simplest and most impactful approaches to naturally control common garden pests.
Common garden pests can transform your beautiful, productive garden into a wasteland in only a matter of days. If you’re not mindful of garden bugs, all your hard work, research, and time can go down the drain quickly. We’re here to make sure that doesn’t happen to you. Here are the most destructive garden pests and how to control them naturally:
Small bite marks or jagged holes in your flowers and veggies in early spring? Slime trails? Sounds like you might have slugs or snails.
NATURAL SNAIL & SLUG CONTROL
Make your own snail & slug trap by filling an empty tuna can with beer (yes, they love beer, too) and burying it in your garden, flush with the soil, wherever you’re struggling with slugs or snails. Discard it in the morning and replace as needed.
A natural slug and snail pesticide can be easily made by mixing salt and water in a spray bottle. Go out in the late evening and spray any individuals you spot in or near your garden. As a precaution, rinse your plants with water the following day.
One last tip: Always aim to water your garden in the morning. This way the plants and soil will be drier, and therefore less appetising to slugs and snails, in the evening when both pests prefer to feed.
Caterpillar problems aren’t always easy to identify, but if you notice leaves chewed on the edges and caterpillar waste, which looks like small pepper granules (usually found on leaves), you could have one already.
NATURAL CATERPILLAR CONTROL
Planting oregano and thyme is said to repel caterpillars and help keep populations to a minimum.
Handpicking caterpillars might sound gross but it’s an effective way of getting a serious caterpillar issue under control. Wearing gloves, venture out in the early evening and remove any caterpillars you see on your vegetation. Then, simply drop them in a container of soap water and discard as needed.
Earwig damage (jagged, chomped leaves) is easily confused with other insect infestations, which makes seeing actual earwigs your best bet for making a proper diagnosis.
NATURAL EARWIG CONTROL
You can make your own earwig trap with repurposed newspaper—and it’s super easy. Just moisten a few sheets of newspaper, roll them into a tube, and place them near earwig trouble areas in your garden during the evening.
While they look super scary—large, threatening-looking pinchers included—earwigs rarely cause problems for people. But just in case, wear gloves when collecting the newspapers the following morning. Then, dispose of them in such a way that the critters can’t escape and return to your lawn or garden.
Yellowing misshapen leaves covered with sticky residues are a telltale sign of aphids. Clusters of small green, yellow, white, or black bugs on the underside of leaves and near plant stems is the most obvious symptom.
NATURAL APHID CONTROL
Strong bursts of water are often enough to remove aphids from your garden plants. The next time you’re doing your morning watering, just up the pressure a little bit and you should see a reduction in your aphid population almost immediately.
For larger aphid problems, applying insecticidal soap or a non-toxic, plant-safe insecticide to affected plants every few days should get the issue under control.
Signs of Japanese beetles are fairly obvious. First, you’ll almost certainly spot them flying around as soon as they become an issue. Second, you’ll notice brown, skeletonized leaves throughout your garden.
NATURAL JAPANESE BEETLE CONTROL
When it comes to repelling and killing Japanese beetles naturally, we got you covered. Check out our article on 9 Ways to Get Rid of Japanese Beetles Without Harsh Chemicals