Gardening can be a highly therapeutic activity and has been known to be very successful in alleviating stress. And, with a great deal of effort, the results can be magnificent. However, as with any good thing, there are always challenges. In gardening, one such challenge is the management of the many pests which make plants their home. The following are a list of some of the many common garden pests:
Aphids are a very common invader of gardens and, unfortunately, can cause serious damage to the majority of plants, including vegetables and fruits. There are many different species of the insect and they are all capable of attacking the leaves, fruit, and stems of the plant in order to obtain its sap. Aphid infestation is characterized by the curling of the plant leaves as well as damage to the plant shoots. They are also able to damage and kill plants through the transmission of viruses as they can transfer sap from unhealthy plants into the systems of healthy ones. Unfortunately, aphids are a challenge to get rid of as they multiply very rapidly and soon become overwhelming. It is therefore critical to catch the first ones and kill them before they have a chance to spread. The most common method of killing these pests is with insecticides that contain nicotine, malathion, derris, or DDT. This can be sprayed once the aphids have been found or used as a preventative measure during the early period of spring.
The entire lifecycle of the maybug, from larva to adult, can cause serious damage to numerous plants. The larva attacks the roots of plants while the adult beetles are able to feed on the leaves of countless trees as well as low lying shrubs. The maybug lives in its larval state for up to 4 years and is therefore not easy to eliminate. In order to prevent and kill these larvas, it is recommended to use BHC insecticides in the dirt surrounding the targeted plants.
Capsid bugs refer to a number of different species of insects which feed on herbaceous plants and fruit trees. Although they are not often found on vegetables, they can become quite prolific within gardens which they invade. The most common types of capsids are the apple capsid bug, the bishop bug which is found on flowers such as zinnias and dahlias, and the common green capsid bug which is found in currant bushes, strawberries, pears, peaches, raspberries, blackberries, and gooseberries.
Ants almost always follow in the wake of aphids. This is due to the fact that ants are drawn to the sweet honeydew which is excreted by these insects. Ants are capable of building enormous nests beneath the soil and are known for their tunneling into the root systems of various plants. This tunneling often leads to the weakening and, sometimes, the complete destruction of the plant’s roots. This often leads to the plant dying. Ants are also able to directly consume many types of plant seeds as well as the fruits themselves. In order to prevent ant swarms as well as nesting, an insecticide containing either BHC or DDT is recommended. For large nests, pouring petrol or boiling water is also efficient.
The larval forms of many butterflies and moths have been found to be wildly invasive in gardens as well. They not only attack the foliage of the plant but also the roots and seeds. The most common caterpillar garden pests include the buff-tip moth which infests fruit trees, the cabbage moth, the codling moth often found in apple trees, cutworms which can be found in the soil surrounding a variety of plants such as beets and carrots, the swift moth which typically attacks the roots of flowering plants such as dahlias, peonies, as well as strawberries, and the winter moth which attacks fruits and buds as soon as they begin to emerge. Insecticides containing DDT and BHC have also been found to be effective on caterpillars.