Planting a vegetable garden can be rewarding but can take up a great deal of your time. When you invest so much of your time into growing a successful garden, you want it free of damaging pests and insects. Here are two types of garden pests that can cause damage to your garden plants, and what you can do to protect your garden from them.
If you grow a vegetable garden containing pumpkins, cucumbers, squash, melons, or other plants with similar vines, stems, and leaves, your plants are at risk of being eaten and damaged by squash bugs. Squash bugs are grayish-brown in color and only grow to the length of five-eights of an inch, but they can harm your garden as they feed on the leaves and vines of your squash plants as they suck out the sap and eat their fruit. This feeding can cause the leaves of your squash plants to wilt, turn black, and die. If the squash bug population becomes too large in your garden and on your squash plants, they can cause a plant to stop producing fruit and kill the entire plant with their feeding.
Squash bugs begin laying their small, brown eggs on the underside of the leaves in late spring and early summer, so it is a good idea to look for and get rid of them as soon as your plants begin to grow leaves. Their eggs hatch in just a couple weeks, bringing on numerous baby squash bugs to also eat the sap from your squash plants.
Begin searching the undersides and crown of your squash plants for these bugs weekly. When you find any adult squash bugs, you can pick them off the plant and smash them on the ground or other hard surface. When you find juvenile squash bugs and eggs, smash them with a paper towel. It can also be helpful to remove juvenile squash bugs and eggs from the underside of your plant's leaves using the sticky side of a length of duct tape.
Another way to help control the population of squash bugs in your garden is to set a trap for them with a shingle or a similar-sized piece of plywood. Place your shingle or wood near the base of your squash plant, under the leaves. When the sun sets, the squash bugs will crawl underneath the shingle or wood for the night. Early the next morning, smash the bugs under the shingle or piece of wood onto a hard surface to kill them.
If your squash bug population is out of control, making it impossible for you to squash and kill each one, you can hire a pest control professional to spray each affected plant in your garden with a garden-friendly pesticide.
The leafhopper species is more numerous worldwide than all species of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians combined. This small, slender insect is only one-quarter inch in length but can harm and kill many plants in your vegetable garden as it sucks the sap from the leaves of the plant. Some of the leafhopper's favorite vegetable plants to feed on are tomatoes, beans, and beets, to name a few. After a leafhopper has eaten from your garden plant, their toxic saliva causes white spots to appear on the leaves as well as curling and yellowing to the leaves and can stunt the growth of your plant.
A more severe type of damage the leafhopper can cause to your plants comes from a virus they can carry, which spreads to your plants after they have fed upon it. The virus begins to affect your plant where the leafhopper fed, then spreads through the rest of your plant during the season. The virus causes the plant's leaves to curl up and die. Tomato plants that are infected by this virus will produce bland-tasting fruit, and the plant's leaves will curl up, and its veins (sometimes the whole plant) will begin to turn purplish in color.
Unfortunately, if your plants become infected with a virus from the leafhopper, there is nothing to do to save the plant. You can prevent the leafhopper from harming your plants by covering them with a garden plant cover as soon as they have sprouted. In the fall, you can remove garden debris to eliminate any places for the leafhopper to live during the winter. Or, you can hire a professional pest control service to spray with pesticides containing carbaryl, imidacloprid or dinotefuran to help control populations. Be sure they only use pesticides safe to use around garden vegetables.
Use this information to keep your garden free from damage from squash bugs and leafhoppers, and if necessary, call in the professionals from a company like A-Alert Exterminating Service Inc.Share
10 June 2016
How often do you double check your front door or make sure that your garage door is closed? Although installing a home security system and giving your children instructions about stranger danger might seem like second nature, some people forget that there are real safety threats sitting around their windowsills. My child was bitten by a poisonous spider a few years ago, and ever since then, I have worked to increase awareness about the importance of pest control. A little pesticide can keep dangerous bugs from seeking refuge in your home and threatening your family. My website discusses different ways to keep your kids safe.