Pesky Pests

Catron Courier - - News -

The grow­ing sea­son is upon us once again. By now you have planted your gar­dens and are wait­ing for the plants to ap­pear. Un­doubt­edly, some of you early birds have al­ready har­vested some veggies, while oth­ers have some beau­ti­ful flow­ers. Soon it will be time for the re­turn of the pesky pests. Hope­fully not, but you need to be ready for them.

In deal­ing with pests, I try to stay away from chem­i­cals. The best thing to do is to have your plants be as strong and healthy as pos­si­ble in or­der to sur­vive the in­va­sion of the pests, which varies from year to year. The over­all best rem­edy against pests is plain wa­ter. Also, re­mem­ber it isn't nec­es­sary to kill all of the pests, only those caus­ing you to be un­able to be un­able to en­joy your plant­ings.

I find that I can get rid of some pests by pick­ing them off with my hands, but my so­lu­tion is still main­tain­ing healthy plants and us­ing lots of plain wa­ter.

Stud­ies have shown that cit­rus peel­ings de­ter in­sects. It ap­pears the fumes are strong enough to kill or scare off flies, fire ants, fleas and wasps. Some gar­den­ers put or­ange peel­ings in flower pots to elim­i­nate fun­gus gnats. Crushed gar­lic and chili can be made into a spray to be used against veg­gie eaters.

When you are check­ing your plants to see what prob­lems they may have, take along your mag­ni­fy­ing glass. This way you'll know for sure to know what may be wrong.

Since I con­tinue to em­pha­size that plain wa­ter is best, a strong jet with a pres­sure noz­zle will wash aphids off shrubs and clear spi­der mites off evergreens. This is a good way to get rid of pests when you first spot them.

Sticky sub­stances can be used to trap in­sects. Even mask­ing tape, or duct tape, can be used with the sticky side up. The tape can be wrapped around a board and placed where the in­sects con­gre­gate. Pests can win­ter over, so be sure to rake un­der shrubs so mildew does not form. Alu­minum foil un­der squash plants seems to re­pel in­sects. Hold the foil down with a rock.

There are plants that seem to in­vite in­sects and some that re­pel them. Among the plants that re­pel are: marigolds, rose­mary, tansy, gar­lic, onions, chives, cat­nip, mint, hys­sop and other strong-scented plants.

Pages could be writ­ten about the dif­fer­ent pests, but for this ar­ti­cle I will pick only two: aphids and grasshop­pers.

APHIDS: There are many dif­fer­ent colors of aphids. If you could see them with a mag­ni­fy­ing glass, they have six legs and a pair of an­tenna. Aphids are mostly fe­male and start pro­duc­ing ba­bies af­ter about three days. They emit a sticky sub­stance called hon­ey­dew as they work over your plants.

Wash your plants to get rid of aphids and re­mem­ber that lady­bugs eat aphids, so they are al­ways good to have around.

GRASSHOP­PERS: Th­ese are prob­a­bly the best known gar­den pest. We have heard about them since Bi­b­li­cal times. Grasshop­pers lay eggs on bare dirt. If pos­si­ble, turn the bare dirt you have sev­eral times, even in win­ter.

Two years ago, we had huge grasshop­pers where I live and this past year we had loads of very tiny grasshop­pers. Both sizes were ex­tremely de­struc­tive. I re­cently vis­ited with our County Agent, Tracy Drum­mond, to see if some mir­a­cle had hap­pened to help us get rid of grasshop-

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