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6 Common Garden pests and how to get rid of them!

Updated: Jul 26, 2022

Most of us are familiar with the Japanese Beetle, a common pest of roses and many other garden plants. These beetles have a green head and copper colored wing covers. They start as grubs in lawn areas. They feed on grass roots. If the grubs are a problem for your lawn, you may wish to treat the area. This will help control the adult beetle in your garden but it doesn’t stop beetles flying in from other areas.

A biological control can help to curb the Japanese beetle population. Btg (Bacillus thuringiensis galleriae) is a bacteria that affects beetle adults and larvae. Brand names can be found on the insecticide shelf at your garden center. Look for Btg in the active ingredient list on the bag. Know that this will not eradicate the Japanese beetle population in your yard, but it will help.

(Photo credit to Clemson extension)

Slugs and snails are another common pest in the garden. When you see irregular holes in your foliage, it may be slugs or snails. They feed at night and hide during the day. A trail of mucous is a sure sign of these pests.

They can be controlled by spreading diatomaceous earth around the base of the plant. This material is dust like but has sharp edges which discourage these soft bodied pests.

You can put out a shallow dish of beer to attract slugs and snails. They crawl in and drown. Or put a piece of potato under a board, lift board in the morning and dispose of the pests.

Then there are many products on the market to control slugs. Most of them target only the slugs and snails and are safe to use. Read the active ingredient label and avoid using metaldehyde and mesurol. These can be harmful to pets, birds, and other animals.

Always read the label, and use according to directions.

Another pest you may find in your garden or on house plants is a small white fly. Be sure to inspect plants before you purchase or before you bring into the house. White flies will briefly flutter around the plant when it is disturbed. Look under the leaves. These can be controlled with a spray of horticultural oil, or insecticidal soap. Be sure to spray when temperatures are below 90 degrees (late in the day); cover under the leaves as well. The white fly must be covered with spray to be effective.

There are harsher chemical sprays available. Be sure to read complete label and apply accordingly. (Photo credit to Clemson extension)

The leaf footed bug is a common pest of tomatoes. It is shaped like a stink bug, shield-like and brown/black. The young ones are orange/red with black legs. The hind legs have flat leaf-like wings. They feed on all parts of plants by piercing and sucking juice from the plant. These insects overwinter in leaf debris and are active spring through fall.

Leaf footed bugs can be controlled by cleaning up the garden in the fall and with diligent weeding. These bugs can be picked off the plant or gently vacuumed with a shop vac. They can also be discouraged by using insecticidal soap, or horticultural oil. Be sure to read the label, leaf footed bugs should be listed on the label as a target insect.

About a week ago, some people commented about canna leaf roller.I thought cannas were easy to grow, so I just leave them alone and wait for some blooms. After your comments, I thought I better look at my cannas.Sure enough I too have cannas leaf rollers.They can be sprayed with Bt and right down the tube made by the rolled leaf.

Squash borer So the first defense we can do easily is by planting our squash in a different area of the garden than last year. The second defense, inspecting the stem must be done daily. To learn more about squash borer and what to do check out our Squash borer article!

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