No doubt that you love your garden. You know who else loves your garden? Insects.
The one difference is that theirs could sometimes be a dangerous love.
Whereas there are insects that are good for your garden, some of these tiny critters are merely out to hollow out your garden.
Better not to let them. Here are some of them that are especially dangerous for your tropical garden. We’ve also spelt out how you can take the fight to them.
Also known as Aleyrodidae, whiteflies chew up plant juices and produce a gooey substance known as honeydew that covers up your plants.
The honeydew left on the plant causes fungal diseases that can leave your plants weak. It may also prevent plants from being able to carry out photosynthesis. What happens to a plant that can not do what green growing this do? (You guessed it) Long slow death.
Whiteflies reside in the undersides of leaves, so they could be hard to spot. But if you are seeing those white critters, a spray of insecticidal soap will help control and deter them.
Caterpillars grow into beautiful butterflies, but to do that, they need to eat up large amounts of green growing things. That’s where your garden comes in.
A caterpillar can strip all the leaves off a plant in a single night, and they can also decimate an entire lawn in about three days. You don’t want them around your garden. To control them, handpick the marauding caterpillars from your garden as you find them and dispose of them as you see fit.
Although we’ll recommend you drop them in a soapy water and bring them to a quick and painless death, you could put them in a weed field, where they can have as much food as they want and grow into those beautiful butterflies.
Also, consider spraying the foliage of your plants with neem oil. This is safer than pesticides which are also known to harm plants.
For lawn infestation, you will have to be more aggressive and spray a pesticide directly on the lawn. Early morning is best.
3. Snail and Slugs
Snail and slugs may seem slow, sluggish and harmless at first blush, but they can wreak untold havoc in your garden if allowed to hang around.
These slow-moving succulent gastropods are the scourge of every moist garden. Because they survive only on plants, they can strip a plant off its entire foliage in one night.
Slugs may be a menace, but they are relatively easier to handle. To manage snails and slugs, consider placing copper barriers around succulent foliage that are easy targets. Copper doesn’t mix well with the slime that snails and slugs secrete, producing an electric shock and shooing them away.
You can place slugs traps (such as leaving boards or inverted flower pots with a portion about an inch off the ground for the slugs to enter) overnight in moist areas of your garden. Remove the unfortunate snails and slugs from the boards or pots daily and kill them.
One more great way to keep slugs and snails off your foliage is to crush and sprinkle eggshells in the dirt around your garden. Slugs hate those, and will stay away.
Earthworms are good for your garden. Until they are not.
They do good things for your garden just by moving around and munching on decaying matters (they don’t eat plants). Their movement through the soil loosens and mixes the soil.
But they become bad for the garden when they begin to attract other predators like small mammals that tunnel just under the surface of the ground to eat earthworms. These mammals themselves don’t eat plants, but their activities leave a lot of castings in the garden that are not only ugly but disturbs the roots on your plants.
Like we said, earthworms are good for your garden so we don’t want them to move out. What you want is to control their population. The only tip is to simply control the watering in your garden.
When soil is too wet, earthworms are forced to crawl to the surface for air, but when the soil is only damp, they are able to remain underground where they are not able to attract predators.
Termites are generally harmless to non-woody plants. That is; plants that don’t have persistent woody stems also called herbaceous plants. But in the dry season, termites look to these sorts of plants for moisture and nutrient. They may also feed on the plant root.
Many chemical treatments will kill termites. But one that is more widely used is the treatment of the soil with imidacloprid.
Having bad bugs trouble? We can help. We help people design and plant gardens. We also help them whack pesky bad bugs off their garden. Get started, contact us.