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Pests

How To Avoid Your Plant From Sun Injury And Pests

Protect Trees from Rodents and Sun Injury

Sunscald is an injury prevalent in the prairie sections of the country. It appears as dead sunken areas of bark on the trunks of trees particularly on the south and southwest sides.

Exposed trunks of fruit trees, especially apple and pear, and some ornamental trees such as the mountain ash, suffer from this condition. Apparently the injury occurs in late winter.

Day temperatures above the freezing point followed by below-freezing nights cause damage to the wood on the exposed side of the tree. Most damage occurs on the southwest side of the trunk.

This kind of damage can be lessened if young trees are trained so they branch low to the ground. Growing mountain ash in a clump form instead of to a single trunk aids in lessening sunscald injury.

Growing shrubs near the base of susceptible trees assists in protecting tender bark.

Painting trunks with white paint is another “old-timers” method followed.

Rodents can do considerable harm to ornamental trees and shrubs during winter months. Lawns are also scarred by the burrowing activities of these animals. Field mice migrate into a cultivated area especially if their regular feeding areas become covered with heavy snows.

As their regular source of food is cut off, they build runways to favorite trees and shrubs and feed on the soft bark of these plants near ground level.

Protect from Animals Rabbits often completely girdle trees and shrubs and in that way, kill them. Rabbits feed at snow level, so if the snow is drifted high, the feeding will occur above the ground level of the plants. Just like having fungicides to control pests, a number of repellents on the market are effective in the control of this pest or used as a part of a disease control program.

Maybe you prefer the old fashioned cure -the shotgun. In a deer area these animals may become troublesome because they feed on young tender growth of many kinds of deciduous shrubs and trees. One of the plants especially relished by deer is the native Red Osier Dogwood.

Adequate fencing provides the best solution for preventing such damage. It is an expensive method, but is effective. Wrapping trunks of valuable fruit trees with coarse screening is another way to prevent girdling by rodents.

These coverings must reach high enough to take care of changes in snow level during the winter. If the snow drifts above the protective covering, better get out the shotgun (just kidding)!

Snow is one of nature’s important mulches, since it protects tender perennial plants over the cold winter months of the north. The snow acts as an insulation, protecting plants from extreme changes in temperature which happen so often in this section of the country.

The greatest danger is ice formation at ground level. If this happens, much of the insulating value of the snow is lost. Providing good sub-surface, and especially good surface drainage, is one way of reducing ice formation at the base of perennial plants.

Keep from Losing Snow

How To Avoid Your Plant From Sun Injury And Pests

When we witness a cold, blizzardy day in January, we can realize the importance of not cutting down the stalks and tops of perennial plants such as peony or delphinium. A perennial border cleaned bare of its plant growth in the fall, often loses its protective snow cover when the first blizzard of winter strikes.

A good shrub border, hedge or fence placed adjacent to the perennials serves much the same purpose, to keep the snow from blowing off.

Long winter months in this area make us appreciate plant materials that give color to our landscape setting at this time of year. Evergreens are especially suitable for this purpose. We should be reminded not to plant all our small evergreens around the foundation of the house.

Some evergreens placed elsewhere in the yard aid in brightening the winter scene as viewed from our windows.

The colorful bark of red and yellow twigged native dogwoods and willows will brighten the winter landscape picture. Think, too, of using berried shrubs and trees such as viburnums, flowering crabapples, mountain ash and haws. Many such plants offer food for our visiting winter birds.

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Pests

Choosing The Right Pest Control Services

DIY or company?- Being informed is key. Before you can tackle the pest problem in your home you will first have to get information on what is the pest type, nature, and extent of the problem.

Now you can identify the method to use to rid your home of the pest. Integrated Pest Management must be the basis of any pest control process. What this means is that a combination of mechanisms, chemicals, and environmental methods are employed to combat your problem.

Pest control services are always recommended instead of trying to handle the problem yourself, due to the time, effort, and costs you will incur that will be significantly more than that of a professional.

Some pests are also of such a nature that it can be deadly for you to tamper and anger the creatures for example bees.

Specialist know-how is also required for some pests such as termites.

How To Avoid Your Plant From Sun Injury And Pests

Treatment intervals

Treatment intervals depend on the type of pest infestation. Regular applications are a common recommendation.

Prevention

Prevention is always better than cure. Guarding your home against invasions need not be a costly mess and fuss. The solution is to make your home as unattractive as possible to the creatures.

Wood is the greatest pest magnet on the face of the earth, so avoid wood to ground contact, wood timbers for landscape purposes as well as wood piling near your home.

Replace your outside white light bulbs with yellow ones.

Chemical treatment

Chemical treatment is often the only solution for getting rid of pests, although not always preferred. This is often the case with huge, uncontrollable infestations. Luckily, less toxic chemical alternatives are now on the market with a limited effect on the environment and your health.

However great caution must still be exercised as it remains a chemical and chemicals are dangerous.

Chemical alternatives

Mechanical pest control is a very popular alternative to chemical treatments. Hormone, snap, light and sticky traps can be used to catch the irritating pest without the risk of poisoning yourself, family or pets.

However, these mechanisms can also hurt uninformed persons so take the time to tell them what the mechanism’s purpose is.

Be cautious

You should be very careful with pest control chemicals. Make sure you read the directions thoroughly and that you wear protective gear such as boots and long sleeve shirts. Although some less toxic alternative is available it does not mean that they are non-toxic and entirely safe.

Contact or inhalation of the chemicals by humans or pets can cause serious illness or even death. After-use storage is also a very important responsibility. Make sure that the chemicals are stored in a manner and place not easily accessible, preferably locked away.

Food containers or cool drink bottle usage for poison storage purposes can be fatal, so avoid this practice, please.

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Pests

10 Preventative Steps to Get Rid of Termites

According to the National Pest Management Association, termites alone cause $5 billion worth of damage to homes and offices in the United States every year.

To prevent a termite infestation, it is important to understand how termites get into your home and why. Termites breed in warm and moist wood building materials in and around your home, near the foundation, HVAC units, basement, crawl spaces, attics, and other areas that offer adequate moisture for termite colonies to breed and thrive.

They are sneaky creatures who can easily find their way into your homes through downpipes, porches, roof tiles, vents, ramps and utility boxes.

Scheduling a pest inspection periodically is the best way to identify the warning signs of an underlying termite infestation in time and keep termites from inviting extensive repairs and restorations.

6 Signs Your Home is Infested with Termites

Termites can be classified into two main categories – dry wood and subterranean. Both the species look very similar and you will need to hire professional pest control services for accurate identification and timely action. While dry wood termites are active above the ground level and breed in wooden structures, subterranean termites can be found below the ground level from where they travel to structures by building mud tubes.

Both the species need moisture to survive and thrive on wood in and around your home which can eventually cause significant damage to structural integrity.

If you come across any of these 6 signs, there is a good chance that your house is infested with termites:

Severely Damaged Wood

This is the most obvious sign that a termite infestation is gradually eating away at your house. If you accidentally find a broken piece of wood that is carved out, you can bet your house is infested. Termite damaged wood will sound hollow on being tapped and if you suspect that you are dealing with termites, try prodding wood with a flathead screwdriver and check if it has turned hollow.

Coarse Grains of Sand

If you come across mysterious piles of sand, it is likely that you have found the fecal pellets of dry wood termites.

Mud Tubes

Mud tubes along the walls of your house, baseboards, or in cracks and crevices indicate the presence of subterranean termites.

Cracks

Any unexplained cracks whether in the interior or exterior walls, beams, columns, rafters, fence, cladding, decking, or the ceiling are signs that your house is infested by subterranean termites.

Distorted Flooring

A blistered, sagging, or soft flooring could be a sign that a termite infestation is working on the floorboards.

Sticking Windows and Misshaped Doors

If the doors and windows of your house are deformed, it is likely that termites are tunneling their way into the frames, causing them to distort and warp.

Get Rid of Termites in Garden
Get Rid of Termites in Garden

5 Ways to Save Your Home from a Termite Infestation

Termites are highly destructive and if not controlled in time are capable of causing significant structural damage to your home. One failsafe way to keep these pesky creatures from damaging the structure of your home and destroying your garden is scheduling a pest inspection annually. A termite inspection specialist can identify the early signs of a termite infestation and implement effective control measures to help you save thousands of dollars in structural repairs.

However, below are 5 essential things you can implement in your home to protect it from termite damage:

Baiting Termites

Termite baiting is a very simple and easy-to-implement concept. All you need to do is strategically place unobtrusive bait stations in the surroundings of your home. Bait stations attract the foraging worker termites that are responsible for providing food for the entire colony of termites. When they carry poisoned food to the colonies and share it with other termites, the colonies reduce in number and size. This is to be done till the colonies no longer survive.

Using Barriers at Entry Points

Termites find their way into homes through cracks and crevices in concrete foundations, HVAC pipes, and conduits. Physical barriers are designed to target these access points in and around your home and greatly reduce the risk of infestation.

Keep the Humidity Levels Low and Reduce Excess Moisture

Avoid the accumulation of moisture around the foundation, keep all downspouts, and gutters clear of dirt and debris, and keep foundation air vents exposed to keep the moisture levels in control.

Fix any broken and waterlogged tiles on the roof and ensure that no wooden structure of your home comes in direct contact with the soil. You can consider working with professional pest control services to address problem areas around your home like excess humidity and wood-to-soil contact as both these factors are conducive to termite infestation.

Seal all the Gaps, Leaks, Cracks and Crevices

Fix all leaky plumbing parts, HVAC condensation lines, dripping pipes, and faulty gutters. Fill all the cracks in the foundation, masonry work, concrete, and roof.

Use Chemicals to Prevent Foundation Damage

Chemical barriers help create a soil zone that keeps the termite from passing through and prevents a termite infestation. The treatment involves the application of chemicals to the soil either around the periphery of the foundation or under the flooring. Chemicals are highly effective in getting rid of termites but you need to hire trained pest control technicians to take care of a termite infestation when chemicals are being used.

5 Tips to Prevent Termites in Your Garden
5 Tips to Prevent Termites in Your Garden

5 Tips to Prevent Termites in Your Garden

Keep Your Garden Area Tidy

The easiest and most effective way to decrease the possibility of a termite infestation is to keep the garden area as tidy as possible. Make sure the garden does not flush against your walls and maintain a safe distance of at least 75 mm between garden beds and mulches. Keep firewood and rubbish far away from your home.

Make Use of the Right Mulch

While mulch is great for gardens, certain mulches like pine bark act like an open invitation to a termite infestation. Cypress mulch is naturally resistant to termites and this quality makes it a more sensible choice for mulching gardens and keeping weeds at bay.

Check for Dripping Taps and Dampness

Tap timers are great for today’s busy lifestyle but if they are not fitted properly, dripping taps can easily invite a termite infestation. Dampness in the garden area needs to be dealt with swiftly including a washer that needs to be changed or a chemical reticulation system that needs to be installed.

Use the Right Materials When Building Garden Structures

When renovating your garden, purchase termite-treated materials only, whether it is for a gazebo space or a new garden bed. Building garden structures to code will prevent a termite infestation so make sure you are using treated pine beams or cypress timber teams. You can also consider other safe alternatives like concrete beams or galvanized raised garden solutions.

Schedule a Pest Inspection Annually

Taking precautions early on pays off in the long term by protecting your home from termites. Making regular checks to monitor any activity in and around your property will help prevent termite damage; however, the best protection against a termite infestation is hiring professional pest control services.

Professional pest control services are fully equipped with the knowledge of the best techniques, have the latest technology, and employ extensively trained technicians for termite inspections. Most importantly, they have the local knowledge of termites, their risks, control measures, and effective preventive tips that are specifically tailored to the unique construction of your home.

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Pests

Garden Bug Killers Are Other Bugs

No one really likes bugs. Upon finding a creepy crawly while working in your garden. Your first reaction will probably be to kill it. Unless it’s a spider. In which case, it’s probably to run. But really, how much do you know about these little guys? Big and small, good and bad, let’s look at some of the most common ones in North America.

Pests. Every garden has them. In a lot of ways, without them, gardening would be something everyone would do. There is nothing more discouraging than walking to the garden you’ve been working hard on all summer, to find your stems striped. Plants wilted for no apparent reason. You’ve got a bug problem.

Aphids

Aphids
Aphids

There is more than one type of aphid out there. Some specific to certain plants. They are tiny green, brown, or black insects, that puncture the tissue of the plant and feed on the sap. They usually sit on the underside of the leaves out of the sun, or along the stems. Aphids can carry viruses and transmit them into the plants.

A plant with an aphid infestation maybe has deformed, wilting, or browning leaves. When feeding on the sap, they will produce a sweet secretion known as “honeydew” that can attract ants or other sweet-seeking bugs.

Ants

Ants
Ants

Garden ants can be good or bad depending on where they are and what plants you have. Much like earthworms, ants tunnel down into the earth allowing water and air to get to the roots. While gathering and storing food they also disperse and plant seeds unknowingly.

Grasshoppers

Grasshoppers 
Grasshoppers

Grasshoppers are one of the most destructive pest insects, partly because they have a “swarm” stage in they’re life. If they swarm in your garden, you can bet there won’t be much left when they’re done. Grasshoppers are a bigger insects up four inches long. Like a cicada, they shed their exoskeleton. Grasshoppers eat all different kinds of leave, and sixty to one hundred mg of dry weight a day.

Despite their swarm, grasshoppers are rather solitary, and lone grasshoppers tend to be smaller. When a grasshopper brushes another grasshopper’s legs. it causes a chemical release. Which in turn causes them to grow faster, and lay more eggs.

They usually live for about one year. Once grasshoppers infest your garden it can be hard to get rid of them, short of spraying a chemical deterrent. Try and keep the surrounding areas clear of weeds, and keep your garden as controlled as possible. The less foliage, the less likely you are to get overrun with these little herbivores.

Japanese beetles

Japanese beetles
Japanese beetles

If you love roses as much as I do, and are fortunate enough to have some in your backyard, I’m sure you’ll be somewhat familiar with Japanese beetles.

Large metallic green bugs, tend to feed on ornamental plants as well as common weeds. They love lush green leaves, and, of course, roses. Japanese beetles live about 60 days, appearing around July, and dying off by October. If you’ve noticed holes in the leaves of your roses, or no leaves at all, these guys might be your problem. The only luck I’ve had at getting rid of them is with a powdered deterrent sprinkled on the leaves and blooms of the rose.


Good bugs against bad bugs

Now that you know a few of the bad ones. What do you do about it? Well, you can use chemicals, but really the answer could be much simpler than that. God gave us the solution to the problem. Other bugs.

Praying mantis

Praying mantis
Praying mantis

The Praying Mantis is one of my favorite garden insects. They are the only bug known to be able to turn its head a full 180 degrees. The females can grow up to 6 inches and fly. They’ll vary from a leaf green color to an earthy brown.

Mantises eat crickets, different types of beetles, grasshoppers, flies, and other annoying critters. But they don’t come without their downsides. They also eat beneficial insects like butterflies and honey bees.

Lady Bugs

Lady beetles bugs
Lady beetles bugs

Ladybugs are known as one of the most beneficial garden insects. They can eat up to 60 aphids a day. Among other soft-bodied insects. Keeping ladybugs in your aphid-infested garden is fairly easy. Just lightly water the leaves and keep them from getting too dry, especially in the heat of the summer.

Spiders

Argiope Spider
Argiope Spider

There are a few different types of typical garden spiders, and what you have will vary depending on where you live. One of the more common ones in North America is the Argiope Spider. Or more commonly the “Writing Spider” or “ “Zipper Spider”, due to the zig-zag pattern in its web. These spiders are black with a yellow to the orange pattern on their back and legs. They can get up to 28mm in body size, and eat insects up to twice their size. But lucky for us, their venom is harmless to humans.

Wolf spiders are another common spider in our gardens. They are over 125 different kinds in the U.S. and can be over one and a half inches long. They are hunting spiders and don’t spin a web at all. Wolf spiders can swim and can run up to two feet per second. Although their venom is relatively harmless, they can be aggressive and their bite is painful.

The best way to attract and keep spiders in your garden is to put down some mulch or grass clippings between your plants. This will provide protection from the sun and rain and create a nice environment for our eight-legged friends.

Conclusion

Despite these nasty pests, there are good bugs as well. I lot of you avid gardeners know that some insects are beneficial, if not a necessity to plants. Bugs like honey bees, butterflies, wasps, and moths, are needed to pollinate. Earthworms create tunnels allowing air and water to get to the roots. Peonies wouldn’t even be able to bloom properly without ants.

So don’t underestimate they’re rolling in the thriving of your garden, and be careful when using chemicals to get rid of other bugs.

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Gardening Pests

5 Common Insects Found in Your Garden

In a healthy garden, all animals and plants are interconnected. For example, the feeding relationships in a habitat are, in reality, much more complex than just a simple chain. All the plants, insects, and animals found in your garden play an important overlapping role to form your garden’s web of life.

Insects are important as both predators and prey in this intricate chain. They can be classified as beneficial, also known as good insects that help your garden bloom, or as pests that can destroy your crops and plants one way or another.

There will always be insects in anyone’s garden. That’s just how it is. Even the healthiest gardens come across bugs at some time or another.

So if you encounter an insect or two whenever you’re out playing with your best electric skateboard at your grandmother’s backyard, better leave them alone and appreciate how they balance the ecosystem of the plants surrounding you.


#1 Lady Beetles

Lady beetles bugs
Lady beetles bugs

Adult ladybugs eat mites, mealybugs, fleas, whiteflies, and aphids. Even their larvae will help attack garden pests to help your garden flourish. Although adults don’t eat a lot, their larvae are the real predators that do a lot of damage to garden pests.

Growing a lot of nectar and pollen-producing plants will help attract these bugs. These tiny critters love a little sugar rush every now and then your garden’s pollen and nectar are their food.


#2 Rove Beetles

Rove Beetles
Rove Beetle (Staphylinus caesareus)

These are predatory insects that help you control pests in the garden. These insects feed on rotting vegetation and other types of small mites and insects that infest your plants.

These beetles grow about one-eighth of an inch to an inch and are members of the family “Staphylinidae”. There are more than 40,000 species worldwide. Both larvae and adult beetles prey on other bugs. They usually emerge from hiding after sunset. They make their way to moist areas crawling with mites, maggots and springtails. These beetles have wings and can definitely fly but prefer to stay and crawl on the ground.


#3 Butterflies

butterfly in garden
butterfly in garden

These beautiful fluttering mosaics can bring color and grace to your garden. They are major pollinators of a variety of plants and trees. The presence of these beautiful creatures in your garden signifies a healthy environment.

Butterflies require a semi-liquid or liquid diet. They are mostly happy with sweet nectar in your flowers but others prefer tree sap, manure or rotten fruit.

If you are planning to attract butterflies, you can start by leaving gooey fruits out in your garden. You can start by bringing out overripe bananas and mushy apples to your butterfly feeding station. It doesn’t need to be expensive or fancy, all it needs to be is accessible and in a shady area close to flowers rich in nectar.


#4 Lacewings  

Lacewings  
Lacewings

Lacewings are beneficial insects. They offer a healthy alternative in pest control compared to using chemical-induced pesticides.  They measure about one-half to one-third inch long. They have very delicate, finely veined, and transparent-looking wings that have given them their names.

In their adulthood, they usually take to the air in the evening. They follow the scents produced by caterpillar frass and aphid honeydew. Adult lacewings like to eat nectar, pollen, and honeydew made by aphids. Some even eat other insects.

Their larvae usually prey on small cabbage worms, caterpillar eggs, caterpillars, aphids, whiteflies, mealybugs, and more.


#5 Bees

Bees in your garden
Bees in your garden

Bees also play an important role in a productive and healthy garden. These invaluable creatures not only pollinate flowers but also are responsible for more or less one-third of our daily nutrition. That’s because a huge part of our edible crops needs bees to visit them in order to form vegetables and fruits.

When bees visit a flower searching for nectar and pollen, some of the pollen from the flower will cling onto its body. When it visits another flower the pollen gets transferred. When pollen is transferred from one flower to another of the same species, it will be fertilized and start the process of seed and fruit production.

There are about 20,000 species of bees on earth but only seven actually make honey.

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Pests

16 Gardening Hacks to Keep Pest Away

For everyone’s well-being and health, fresh and green vegetables are necessary. Unfortunately, a lot of plants you buy from the supermarket grow and thrive with the help of pesticides, harmful chemicals, hormones, and a variety of other unnatural ways. Thus, eating these kinds of vegetables can cause more harm than good to your body.

The majority of people believe that the leading cause of today’s diseases is the harmful substances and chemicals present in food and ingredients. To reduce this problem, start by growing your vegetable garden. Spending a few hours to maintain and look after the garden is enough. You can also try these homemade organic pesticides. If your garden suffers from fungus, check this article. 

Pest Problems

Pests are one of the leading problems when it comes to growing a fruit and vegetable garden. To help you, we have outlined 16 gardening hacks to keep pests away.

Choose pest-resistant seeds

These work great to keep harmful insects away from your plants. Research on which seeds are the best. Some heirlooms are robust against particular diseases and bugs. You can also ask a nearby research farm facility which seeds are the best suitable to keep pests away.

Be systemized

Systematically prepare your garden and plan landscape maintenance for removing pests. Opt for solarization. This method is done by clearing the yard of every plant in summer and till up to a maximum of 2 inches. Afterward, cover it with two layers of plastic sheets. By doing so, you increase the ground’s temperature to about 120 degrees. The heat will kill all the pests and their eggs.

Check potential pests

What are the typical pests around your area? Research on these and learn how to tackle them head-on. You can go around and ask the farmers, government agencies handling the agricultural sector, or the local websites dealing with the issue. Be prepared and tackle these pests in the season when they are at their worst.

Clear plant debris

Compost for leaves and grass
Compost for leaves and grass

Make sure to clear your garden of any plant debris as it is essential in keeping pests away. The waste can be a hiding place for pests. Some even consume these and thrive on them. One thing you can do is to improve your garden’s fertility by creating compost out of the debris.

Rotate vegetable items

When growing the same crops, again and again, causes pests to wreak havoc and multiply. Changing your crops after every season, will not only provide a better yield, but also helps in fighting pests. Take, for example; you can plant watermelon this season then a cabbage on the next season.

Grow multiple plant types

Having different types of plants will help in getting rid of pests. If you plant the same kind all around your garden, pests that love that plant will come and attack in groups. You reduce the risks of pests when you have multiple crops.

Learn about your enemy

When you know the type of pests that will attack your produce, you can plan and get ready when they come to destroy your garden. If you have plants that can grow at any season, you can plant them at times that are not preferred by pests. There are types of pests that love the summer while others like spring. You can grow your plants accordingly when you know the kind of pests that can attack your plants.

Plants get attracted to food

How to make compost and how to do it right
How to make compost and how to do it right

The smell of food also attracts pests. Animal waste and even kitchen waste are some examples. In a lot of situations, people use kitchen waste as a fertilizer for the garden. But doing so can attract a lot of pests. Make sure to check which food waste will not likely attract pests. Or you can let the waste food appropriately decomposed and mixed with soil to boosts its efficiency as a fertilizer. Let the decomposition matured before you use it on your plants.

Grow insect-repelling flowers

Certain types of flowers can repel pests. By planting these flowers, you can decrease the number of pests in your garden and also act as T100% natural pests control. Among the many plants, some examples are celery and broccoli. For herbs, we have cloves and garlic. Marigolds are the most popular bug repellent flowering plants, lavender, rosemary, petunia, and catnip are also common.

Spray

Soap can help get rid of pests, especially dishwashing soaps. Create a soapy solution and spray it on the pests. It is best to do this on a regular basis to reduce the infestation of pests significantly. Just make sure to use soap that is environment-friendly to avoid harmful effects on the plants. To help you do the job, you can get landscape maintenance to make the job easier, especially when it comes to designing your garden.

Go Physical

The most active hours of pests are during the morning and evening. Try to spend some time to remove or kill the pests on the leaves physically. Doing so will help you harvest a good crop. After this, let your lawn sprinkler do its job by rinsing off the residues of pests.

Remove the weeds

controlling weeds
controlling weeds

At regular intervals, remove the weeds from your garden. Aside from stealing nutrients and fertilizers for your plants, they provide a hiding place for pests. Observe which plants or soil have the most weed, you might need to replace its habitat to avoid incurring weeds.

Prune

When you do your daily check, see to it that you prune and remove any signs of pest infestation on any of your plants’ leaves and branches. Applying pesticides to the affected area may be necessary. As much as possible, it is best to use organic pesticides to avoid any harm that chemical-based pesticides can cause.

Always go organic

Instead of using chemical-based fertilizers, you can use compost from your kitchen waste as a source of your plant’s nutrition. Avoid using insecticides and practice an organic planting system especially when you and your family are eating the fruits and vegetables that grow in your garden. It is also a great practice to keep away from toxic chemicals. You can also help lessen the bio print and conserve the environmental resources by using organic and natural products.

Bring in the coffee

One of the most recommended garden hacks on the internet is adding some used coffee grounds to your garden. It increases the acidity of the soil for acid-loving plants, adds nitrogen to the land and works as a pesticide as a lot of creatures cannot stand coffee grounds. Slugs hate coffee. So, the next time you brew your coffee, do not put the used coffee grounds in the trash.

Boil citrus

For ant infestations, boil citrus peels in water and pour some on susceptible areas to dissuade the colonies. You can also try the water from a pot of cooked sweet potato leftovers.


Conclusion

In summary, gardening can be hard when there are a lot of pests attacking your crops. You lose harvesting delicious fruits and vegetables. Applying insecticides and harmful chemicals can even do more harm than good. It is best to implement the above gardening hacks and going organic to ensure your plants’ high quality during harvest season. What about you? What procedures have you done that worked and entirely removed the pests?

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Pests

Natural Ways to Control Fire Ants

Fire ants aren’t just annoying. Anybody who has stepped on a fire ant mount by mistake will tell you that there is nothing more painful than a fire ant’s sting. If you have ever tried to get rid of fire ants, you will know that this is no easy feat. But does that mean you should use toxic chemicals? Well, no.

There are plenty of natural ways to control pests like fire ants. Let’s take a look at some of the most effective ways of getting rid of fire ants as well as some of the methods you should never try or that don’t work. Here you can read 3 DIY Tips to Keep Pests at Bay When Temperatures Drop. Also, I think you should read this article about 6 Gardening Hacks to Keep Pest Away.

Hot Water

Pouring scalding water on fire ant mounts is an environmentally friendly and effective way to kill fire ants, but you may need to repeat the process a few times for the entire colony to be eradicated. Ensure that the water is scalding hot if not boiling. You should use at least 3 gallons of water each time for this method to be effective. Take note that the hot water will kill your plants and grass, so avoid contact as much as possible.

Bucketing

This process is one of the simplest ways of controlling smaller colonies. The process is to quickly dig up the mound and roughly a foot of soil from under the mound and throw it into a large bucket. Sprinkle the shovel and bucket with cornstarch or baby powder before starting means the fire ants can’t climb out.

Remember to tuck your pants into your socks so the ants can’t climb up your legs. Also, keep the ant bucket where you can see it.
Make sure that you dig up the mound when most of the ants are with the colony. In summer, early morning is ideal, and in spring, late morning is the best time to strike.

Once you have placed the mound in the bucket, you can either drown the fire ants or release them somewhere that they won’t be a problem. If you drown them, add dish soap to the bucket, then fill the bucket with water and stir the solution throughout the bucket.

Be sure not to fill the bucket too high with the mound and ants so you can add water soap and water solution. Use extra buckets if needed. The soap helps to drown the ants faster, and they are usually all dead within 12 – 24 hours. If you are doing this process in summer, the ants will drown more quickly. In the spring, it may take longer.

Diatomaceous Earth

These little silica crystals are said to scratch the cuticles of fire ants so that they dehydrate and die. This natural method is typically ineffective if you only place it on the mound, as the ants will find ways to avoid it. However, if you take an ant colony and shake them in a bag of diatomaceous earth, around half die, making it a relatively useful and natural way of killing pests. You can read more information and get a good overview here.

Steam Injectors

Comforday Multi-Purpose Handheld Pressurized Steam Cleaner with 9-Piece Accessories for Stain Removal, Steamer, Carpets, Curtains, Car Seats, Kitchen Surface & Much More (Yellow Black)

These machines work very efficiently against fire ants and other pests. However, bear in mind that they use hot water which kills plants and grass so you will need to be extra cautious.

This will Get You Mixed Results

Natural Ways to Control Pests L
Natural Ways to Control Pests L

Straw Itch Mites

Studies show that there are benefits to releasing straw itch mites into pest colonies, but others have found that they do not affect the colonies at all. They do have an impact on people though, causing big rashes on those who came in contact with the mites.

Mechanical Devices

Any mechanical device that chops, cuts, mixes, pounds, or grinds fire ants are efficient at the times when the majority of the colony is inside the mound. These devices are beneficial as they do not use any chemicals. The problem with them is that they are costly to buy, labor-intensive to use, and can’t be used on colonies with mounds under roads, rocks, shrubbery, or sidewalks.

Wooden Blocks

This method works well if you have older kids who want to get involved. It is quite simple – place an ant on a block and smash with another block. It is a useful method as it kills 100% of the ants you squash, but it is very time-consuming.

These Things Won’t Work on Fire Ants

Corn Grits

The thought with this one is that the pest will eat the corn grits then drink some water causing the grits to expand and kill them. This is an excellent solution, except that most pests, including fire ants, don’t eat solid foods, only drinking liquids. Fire ant larvae can eat solids, but they chew it before swallowing, just like humans, so corn grits do not work.

Dry Rice

This works (or doesn’t work) very similar to the corn grits theory.

Giant Anteaters

Despite what their name says, giant anteaters from South America don’t eat ants, but they love termites. Plus, who wants a large 200 pound wild animal with arms and claws like a bear just strolling around their neighborhood. North America’s native anteater – the armadillo – is already a big enough problem.

Sonic Vibrators

The idea with this one is smart but very flawed. Typically, the fire ants will build a mound around the sonic vibrator as it emits heat – the perfect solution for cold winters in the mound.

Electric Bug Zapping Grids

These machines kill all ants and mosquitoes that come into contact with them, but fire ants are no common insects. Most of the colony retreat from the zapper while just a few remain to fight the grid.

Mixing Colonies

The concept is that the ants from the two colonies will fight and kill each other. While the works from two colonies with single queens will fight when put together, it rarely results in either colony being killed. In fact, you may just be creating a bigger problem than what you had in the first place. The idea of mixing colonies has been widely debunked.

House Cleaning Products

Most of these products don’t work at all. Some may act as a repellant, forcing the colony to move and build a new mound, but this is usually just a few feet from the old one. Any cleaning products that do work will likely be costly and bad for your health, your garden, and the environment.

Exhaust Fumes

You can pump the exhaust fumes from a lawnmower or car into a fire ant mound and after around 15 minutes, you’ll find that most of the ants are dead… but not really. About 30 minutes later they all wake up and return to their tasks. To kill the ants, you would need about 40 minutes of pumping the fumes into the mount, but that is a long time to run a motor with those fumes near your home.

Methods You Should Never EVER Use

Gasoline

Definitely, do not use gasoline on pests. It is harmful to your health and the environment to use gasoline for killing pests. Using it can also affect the purity and quality of your groundwater. Igniting gasoline, whether intentional or accidental does not make it more efficient, but can be a severe threat to your wellbeing and the safety of your property.

If you have considered any of the above to get rid of pests or fire ants, ensure that the method you choose is on the effective list; otherwise you may just end up dealing with the problem over and over again. And remember – never EVER use gasoline on a fire ant mound.