A lot of people have turned to gardening as a way to adjust to the coronavirus pandemic. With many people suddenly finding a lot of time on their hands due to quarantine measures, gardening became a popular option for those looking for a new pastime.
If you’re new to gardening, it should help you know that not all the bugs you see in your plants are harmful. Some insects are good for plants, and it is important to be able to differentiate which are helpful bugs and which are pests. Here are a few useful tips to help you identify if a particular insect is a friend or foe:
Check How the Insects Affect Your Plants
A garden is like a microcosm of the ecosystem; it features how plants interact with animals but on a smaller scale. Insects will definitely be present and they will form a relationship with your plants, often causing damage. However, not all insects that damage your plants are considerably harming them. You’ll need to observe these interactions closer so you can identify if the insect’s helpful or harmful to your plants.
Several insects can prove beneficial to your garden. Bees help pollinate your plants, many wasp species eat or parasitize harmful pests like caterpillars and moths, and ladybugs have also been known to feast on plant-eating insects such as aphids and mites. While they might occasionally take a bite or two out of your plants, you should keep these bugs around so you can secure free protection from garden pests.
Some insects don’t care much about your gardening efforts. The tomato hornworm was named as such because of how destructive it can be, as a single hornworm can ruin an entire tomato plant by itself. Cabbage maggots can kill the plant undetected by tunneling inside its roots, consuming them from inside while also creating openings for other parasitic insects to attack.
Learn How to Manage Garden Pests
Once you’ve identified the harmful insects in your garden, the next step is to find ways to eliminate them. It’s essential to understand the life cycle of pests so that you decide if you should remove them now, at a later point in their lives, or if you just let them be. For instance, the tomato hornworm mentioned earlier turns into a large sphinx moth in its adult life, an essential nocturnal pollinator for night-blooming plants. If you own many plants that bloom in the night, keeping the tomato hornworms alive until they mature can prove to be more beneficial to your garden.
Some pests are only harmful for a short portion of their lives. Caterpillars, for example, eat through leaves and damage your plants, but they don’t consume enough to kill the entire plant. They also only stay as caterpillars for less than thirty days, after which they turn into beautiful butterflies that can help your plants reproduce while serving as additional visuals for your garden.
Prevent Pest Problems by Keeping Your Plants Healthy
You can avoid having pest problems entirely by keeping your plants healthy. Healthy plants can tolerate low-level bug infestations, and they can also attract more beneficial insects like ladybugs if they’re growing strong. These helpful insects can further keep the plants in good condition by eating the pests.
Regularly picking the pests you see can be time-consuming, but at least you don’t allow them to reproduce and present a bigger problem in the future. Always spray your plants with water to wash off harmful insects and consider organic pesticides if necessary. However, keep in mind that organic pesticides will also kill butterflies, bees, and other helpful bugs, so make sure you’re prepared for the consequences if ever you choose to go that route.
A Final Word on Helpful and Harmful Bugs
It’s good to know which insects are helping your plants thrive and which ones are harming it so that you can protect your garden better. It will take time and effort to manage pests, but it should be worth it to see your plants grow and bloom in good health.
If you need professional help in getting rid of the pests in your plants, don’t hesitate to call Pest Be Gone Pest Management. Pest Be Gone can get rid of any pests in your home while only using environmentally-friendly solutions and techniques to ensure that you and your family will be safe from harm.