According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, April is Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month, and if you’re a gardener, you’ve probably experienced the frustration that comes with pests eating your herbs, vegetables, or flowers. The warmer the weather gets, the more likely pests are to appear and start munching away at your hard work – but our Charleston pest control company has a few tips for preventing that:
Aphids are probably the most common garden pests. Otherwise known as plant lice, these little bugs inject toxins into your plants that can discolor and disfigure their leaves and stems. However, there’s a fairly simple method to keeping them away: by planting things that aphids don’t like. Strong-scented herbs like chives, basil, mint, catnip, dill, and fennel tend to keep the bugs away.
In addition, you could also plant plants that attract aphid predators. Things like parsley, buckwheat, and sweet alyssum attract wasps while golden marguerite and Queen Anne’s Lace attract ladybugs – both of which eat aphids.
Caterpillars may not be one of the insects you think of when you think of pests, but they can be quite a nuisance for a gardener. These seemingly harmless bugs can be found in several different species throughout South Carolina and eat a wide variety of plants and flowers. To be safe, avoid planting things like carrots, cabbage, mustard, daisies, snapdragon, beans, dill, clover, and peas.
If you do still get caterpillars in your garden, try dusting plants with Bacillus thuringiensi (or Bt) powder (a natural bacteria that wards them off). You can also spritz your plants with neem oil (derived from the neem tree) or invite birds into the area by installing a bird feeder or bird bath.
Though slow-moving, snails and slugs can both do a decent amount of damage to things like lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, hostas, dahlias, sweet peas, and nearly any plant when it’s young and tender. Since snails and slugs only come out at night, you probably won’t see them during the day, but you won’t be able to miss their shiny, slimy trails.
Many gardeners scare off snails and slugs by crushing up eggshells and laying them around the bases of their plants. The sharp corners of eggshells irritate the soft underbellies of these pests, so they won’t stick around long. You can also place wooden planks on the ground near the plants that they like. Since they’re nocturnal, they’ll look for a dark, damp place to hide during the day. When you lift up the planks, you should have your culprits.
There are several other garden pests (such as flies or mosquitoes) that could end up harming your plants, so our Charleston pest control company has some general tips for pest prevention:
- Strong-scented herbs tend to deter more than attract, so plant things like rosemary, basil, lavender, and more around your garden.
- Pyrethrum and rotenone can both be used to keep away many beetles, ants, and worms.
- Sprinkle some cayenne pepper around your plants to deter several insect varieties.
- Take advantage of carnivorous plants like pitcher plants and venus flytraps.
- Keep your plants healthy, as sickly plants tend to attract pests and won’t survive as well if they’re attacked.
- Plant pollen-heavy flowers to attract bees. Bees will not only keep away other unwanted pests, they’ll also help pollinate your garden.
- To discourage other garden-eaters like rabbits and deer, sprinkle blood meal around your plants. It not only scares away animals, it’s also a great additive to your soil.