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Plant Insect Problems
Plant insect problems are all but unavoidable. Ridding your garden of insects is a constant, ongoing battle. But, you will prevail!
There are good insects, and there are bad insects. Good insects, are also called "beneficial" insects. Others may not be beneficial, but they are also harmless to your plants. Then, there's the bad insects that chew, suck, and munch on your favorite plants. To new gardeners, and even many experienced ones, it's sometimes hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys. There's just so many of them out there. Your mission therefore, is to rid your garden of the harmful insects, and keep the "good guys" around.
In your effort to eliminate harmful insects, remember that insects are needed for pollination. If you eliminate insects during the pollination period of your plants, they will likely suffer from poor pollination. Many experienced gardeners have learned from the school of hard knocks to avoid spraying insecticides and repellents during this time.
Insect Control Methods:
There are a variety of ways to control insects in your garden.........
Chemical Sprays- They are the fastest, and to many the easiest. Ready mixed spray bottles are available for small jobs. On the downside, they are not good for the environment. They may also pose a health hazard for you, your children, and your pets. They cost more, too.
Insect Repellents- Environmentally friendly, and works well on some insects. Repellents can be expensive.
Companion Plants- Some plants actually repel insects. Try planting onion amidst your tomatoes to repel a variety of pests. Nasturtium planted in the pumpkin patch will repel squash bugs. Marigolds will keep the aphids away. The list goes on.
Beneficial Insects- Some insects eat other harmful insects. The most well known beneficial insects are preying mantis and lady bugs. Lady bugs consume lots of aphids. They are worth their weight in aphids, err gold.
Organic Controls- Any non-chemical, natural control method is considered organic Beneficial insects, companion planting, and organic repellents are all organic insect controls.
Pest Netting- Some insects are very large and can be kept out of a small garden protected by 1/4" netting. The best examples of these are Locusts and Cicadas. Other fine mesh netting will keep even small insects out of your plants.
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