7 Things That Attract Pests to Your Garden

7 Things That Attract Pests to Your Garden

What are things that attract pests to your garden?

  1. Stagnant Water
  2. Birdseed and Pet Food
  3. Trash Bins
  4. Dirty Grills
  5. Open Compost
  6. Outdoor Lights
  7. Overripe Fruits

 

Are you having a pest problem in your garden? Though this is a common problem among gardeners, there are ways to fight this. The best method is to avoid making your garden attractive to pests. That means you need to avoid all the things that attract pests to your garden. You may not know it, but some of these are most likely present in your garden.

Getting rid of these pest attractors will quickly lessen the number of pests that come to your garden, but it shouldn’t stop there. If you want to avoid garden pests, read on to learn what things you should keep an eye out for in your garden!

 

Stagnant Water

Stagnant Water

You’ve probably heard this before, and you’ll hear it here again. Stagnant water will attract pests. Standing water is a prime breeding spot for mosquitoes and other insects attracted to water. Try to eliminate stagnant water from buckets, birdbaths, bowls, or other places in your garden where water can gather. Make sure to also check if you have a clogged gutter, which is a common spot for standing water.

 

Birdseed and Pet Food

A bird feeder in your garden might attract beautiful birds, but it can also attract pests. Birdseed would be an easy meal for any pests that might be attracted to grains such as rodents. Even the birdseed bags themselves, if not properly sealed, might attract moths and other bugs. If you wish to avoid attracting pests into your garden, then consider removing the birdseed from out in the open.

Another thing to watch out for is pet food in your garden. Sometimes, our pets don’t finish the food we give them and some are left in their bowls. These would also get the attention of insects and rodents alike.

 

Trash Bins

Trash Bins

There are plenty of trash-loving pests out there, and if your garden is near any area with buildups of trash, then it is likely that pests will get attracted to your garden too. Of course, food scraps in the trash are also attractors for many pests, but even the odor itself could get some insects coming. That’s why aside from taking out the trash and not letting it build up, you should keep the trash bins as clean and odor-free as possible.

 

Dirty Grills

Having a garden party with a grill is something that most people enjoy. If you recently had an outdoor cooking thing in your garden, make sure to properly clean your grills after the party. The smell of food itself from the cooking would have already attracted some pests. Leaving the grills uncleaned in your garden is not good because the residue of food and oils in your grill will attract all kinds of bugs and rats.

Also, don’t spill soda on your garden because the sugar will attract ants for sure.

 

Open Compost

Open Compost

Many gardeners do compost to improve their soil’s health. While this is a good way to dispose of organic wastes, this is also a huge neon sign for free meals for bugs and other pests. An open compost pile will almost certainly catch the attention of hungry pests, so switching to a more enclosed system of composting would be better. You could also mix garden wastes, such as leaves and grass, to undercut the smell of the food scraps in there. Avoiding fats, meats, and dairy products in your compost pile would make it less attractive to pests.

 

Outdoor Lights

Having some lights in our garden can give it an ambient feel, or even just illuminate the lovely flowers and plants there. But many species of insects are attracted to light sources, especially at night. This means that although it makes your garden look better, outdoor lighting can actually increase the pest population in the area. You might want to consider taking them down or use light bulbs with less attractive rays if you really need the light.

 

Overripe Fruits

Overripe Fruits

If your garden produces fruit, then you already know that they are prime pest attractors. Fruit flies love fruits, and other insects get attracted by their aroma as well. If you don’t pick those fruits and store them properly though, they might just turn overripe. Overripe fruits produce that yummy ethylene gas, which is what gives off that overripe smell we all know, that will make them bigger targets for fruit-loving pests.

 

Key Takeaway

Keeping your garden pest-free is definitely a challenge that can have many different solutions. But simply avoiding these things that attract pests to your garden would already lower the local pest population significantly. By making your garden less attractive to possible pests, they would see no reason to visit your garden.

Avoiding attractors can help with pest control, but it is not enough to eliminate the pest problem entirely. If you want to get rid of the pest problem, then getting professional pest control services is the way to go. We at Topbest ofter the best pest control services in the country. Simply contact us here for a free consultation and we can talk about eliminating your pest problems!

Tips for Stopping Garden Pests in Their Tracks Completely

Tips for Stopping Garden Pests in Their Tracks Completely

A garden is a wonderful sanctuary of a diverse selection of plants that you are taking care of and helping grow every day. This is why it is best to keep those unwanted garden pests away. These pests would damage your garden, and hurt the plants that you have been growing for months.

You would be prompted to call pest control should things get really awry, which would immediately tackle the issue. However, should pest control services be unavailable, it is best to look for effective natural and practical solutions that would stop those pests in their tracks. Here are some essential tips that you can use to protect your garden.

Experts Say: Natural Garden Pest Control Works

Experts Say: Natural Garden Pest Control Works

The current trend with pest control companies is using more green and eco-friendly methods of managing pests. Although many doubt the efficiency of these methods, experts such as Kevin Espiritu, Ben Probert, Melinda Myers and Michael Perry, stand by it. All of these specialists say that all you need is the right tools and the right mindset.

The Fruits of More Work

The key to using natural pest control is to understand and accept that it will never be as effective as chemical pesticides. In order to help the environment become healthy, we must trade our convenience for it. Ben Probert, a horticultural consultant from Pen and Trowel, who has studied gardening for 15 years, stated the following:

“There are several ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ options for controlling insect pests, but none are quite as ruthlessly efficient as the chemicals. Once gardeners come to terms with this fact it becomes a lot easier to work with other products and methods of insect controls. The key to controlling insect pests is to be vigilant and to act swiftly.

“We’ve lived in a privileged time of being able to reach for a quick and effective response to any pest or disease we see in our gardens, but as the environmental impact of the overuse of chemicals is being understood so many of these chemicals are no longer being made available.”

Experts Say: Natural Garden Pest Control Works

Find Ben Probert on:
Twitter: @penandtrowel

From these statements, it is clear that chemical products were engineered to kill pests. Unfortunately, it is at the expense of the overall health of the environment. Today, the pest control industry has started adapting greener and more eco-friendly products. But as stated by Probert, it is vital that people should prevent pest infestation by predicting it, even before they reach out for chemical products available in the market.

Prevention from the Get Go

The most effective way to keep deadly bugs from entering your garden is to make it unattractive to them. As discussed above, natural gardening requires more work from you. This means practicing the following to avoid making your garden a pest breeding ground:

  • Regularly remove weak plants
  • Use natural fertilizers or seaweed fertilizers
  • Do consistent weeding
  • Clear the garden of debris
  • Interplant and rotate crops
  • Keep the foliage dry
  • Always clean your tools

Doing these will either stop or slow down pests from calling your garden their home. But if these fail and pests arrive, then it’s time to call in the good guys.

Calling in the Good Guys

The most natural method to be able to combat unwanted pests is to rely on your ecosystem. In other words, encourage the natural predators of these pests to live in your garden. These are the “good guys” of your garden.

These beneficial predators are the ones that can devour pests, even during their larvae form. A number of them can directly eat pests, while others may use them as hosts. Naturally, it might take some time for them to be fully effective. However, you must think of them as a long term investment for the health and wellness of your garden.

For example, the braconid wasp lays their eggs on caterpillars. They do this so that, when the larvae emerge, they can feed on the host. This is needed for the larvae to move forward in their life cycle, which means that the host will surely be eaten. By encouraging the presence of these wasps, you can reduce the damage that caterpillars do to your plant’s leaves. You can attract these good guys by planting carrots, celery, parsley, caraway and Queen Anne’s lace – all of which are members of the Umbelliferae family.

Other good bugs include:

  • Ladybugs

    • These eat aphids, mites, whiteflies, and scale insects.
    • They love gardens with daisies, tansies, and yarrows.
  • Lacewings and hoverflies

    • Adult and larva lacewings and hoverflies feed on aphids and other pests.
    • These are similar to ladybugs because of their love for daisies and yarrows.
    • They also love goldenrods, blackeyed Susans, and asters.
  • Praying mantis

    • These eat most garden pests, which make them an essential good guy in your garden
    • Mantis eggs are hatched in the garden and the larvae quickly grow to adults.
  • Nematodes

    • These can kill underground cutworms that are responsible for killing sprouts before they grow into seedlings.
    • Probert states that these are “tiny parasitic worms that will eat the young grubs before they do (any) damage”
    • They are also effective against beetles and root weevils.
    • Nematodes can be bought online. If you order one, you will get a single sponge, which contains a million of these good guys.
      • This is applied by mixing the sponge in water and applying it onto the soil, where they get to hatch and grow. Once they’re old enough, they will kill your pests.
      • In case they get onto your leaves, then you can simply wash them to fall into the soil.
    • Probert also said that “Nematodes are fairly easily available online and are posted straight to you – (just) be sure to use them straight away or they will die.”

The greatest part of this pest control method is that you get a bunch of helping hands in your garden. Melinda Myers, an award-winning TV/radio host and author of over 20 horticultural books, says that this has allowed her to procrastinate:

“I tolerate some damage (sometimes procrastination pays) from aphids while I wait for birds, lady beetles, and other predators to eat them.”

The tricky part of this is that these beneficial bugs arrive in your garden because of the presence of their food source – the harmful pests. Thus, if you kill all of them, then the good guys will also disappear because they need to look for other sources of food. If you haven’t done your proper gardening practices, then you will be open to pest infestation for a period of time. In order to always have a healthy garden, the key to managing your bugs is to have a good balance of harmful and beneficial bugs. You must have enough bad guys to attract the good guys but not too much that your garden will suffer. In order to make sure that you do not reach a dangerous level of harmful pests, you can (finally) reach out for some products to aid you.

Keeping it Natural

There are organic and natural tools, recipes, and methods that you can practice in order to “implement a layered approach” as stated by Kevin Espiritu – founder of Epic Gardening, a website that has and continues to teach millions of people how to do do-it-yourself (DIY) gardening and farming. Espiritu says that he practices this layered approach by doing the following:

Experts Say: Natural Garden Pest Control Works

 

This is what the preventive measures and good guys are for. But when the pests still persist, then you must follow the next measures:

 

Experts Say: Natural Garden Pest Control Works

Find Kevin Espiritu on:
Facebook: Epic Gardening
Twitter: @epicgardening

 

Millions of his students have followed this approach and have become well-trained gardeners.

The second step in this layered approach is using organic and home-made products to not only save you a lot of money, but also give you the peace of mind because you know exactly what is entering your soil. One of the top 20 horticulturalists in the UK, Michael Perry (aka Mr Plant Geek) also uses natural methods – a spray of soapy water in particular. He states that:

Experts Say: Natural Garden Pest Control Works

Find Michael Perry on:
Facebook: Mr. Plantgeek

 

Melinda Myers agrees with the use of natural products and mentioned that “I will use insecticidal soap, BT (bacillus thuringiensis), and other organic products if I feel intervention is truly needed.”

 

Experts Say: Natural Garden Pest Control Works

Find Melinda Myers on:
Facebook: MelindaMyersLLC
Twitter: @melindagardens

 

Clearly, even the experts are big fans of keeping their garden and themselves healthy without resorting to chemicals.

Listed below are common garden pests and what natural remedies you can use to combat them:

  • Mites and Other Soft Bodied Insects

    • Mix one tablespoon of canola oil along with a few drops of Ivory soap into a quart of water.
    • Place it into a spray bottle and shake it well before using.
    • Start spraying it onto your plant from above while going down its height and from below going up; doing this will get all mites, aphids, and mealybugs on all side of the leaves.
    • The mixture smothers the insects; Proberts states that this and similar mixtures “coat the aphids so that they suffocate, rather than killing them by affecting their nervous system.”
  • Grubs and Beetles

    • Use milky spores, which are granules that cause disease in grubs; this doesn’t affect beneficial bugs.
    • Apply this by spreading it on the soil.
    • These multiply over time and will sit in wait for a grub to infect; it can last for as long as 40 years.
    • Grubs are actually young beetles, so killing them will also mean less beetles in your garden.
  • Mites

    • Mix hot pepper sauce, Ivory soap, and water. Let it stand overnight.
    • Place it in a water spray. Shake well before use.
    • Most pests cannot handle the intensity of the pepper onto their senses; it kills them.
  • Earwigs, Snails, and Slugs

    • Diatomaceous earth has small diatom particles that are sharp.
    • Sprinkle this on and around plants.
    • The soft exoskeleton of insects, earwigs, snails, and slugs cannot handle the sharp particles and drive them away from your plants

These are only a few examples of natural pest remedies. You may look here for the complete list. However, there are more straightforward ways to deal with pests. Espiritu states in his second and third steps that he resorts to cutting leaves and picking off the insects by hand. This and other physical interferences are a good last resort to minimize infection damage.

It’s a Trap!

When infection starts to become bad, you will need to use traps and barriers to save some of your plants. These will prevent physical contact between these plants and pests. Using these will lessen the infestation and allow you to have breathing room to be able to think of ways to exterminate them yourself or for a professional to do it.

Here are a few examples of traps and barriers.

  • Flypaper

    • The good old fashioned fly paper will attract insects to fly into the sticky trap with pheromones.
    • The critters caught in this trap will die from hunger.
  • Apple Maggot traps

    • These are traps hung in apple trees so that apple maggots lay their eggs here instead of in the apples.
  • Floating row covers

    • This is basically a material that is draped over plants to prevent physical contact from pests while still allowing water and sunlight to come in.
    • Myers states that she uses these to “prevent cabbage worm damage.”
  • Cloche

    • This is just like floating row covers, but for seed beds and young plants.
    • It created a greenhouse effect for the young plants.
    • These need to be opened for watering.

Key Takeaway

Clearly, there are multiple methods in which a gardener can practice natural pest control. Natural products, beneficial pests, preventive gardening, traps, and barriers are all available to use for one to garden without damaging the environment. It may require more work than using chemical pesticides, but you will be repaid with a beautiful and healthy garden free from annoying and destructive critters.

Ways to Keep Your Garden Healthy

Ways- to-Keep-Your-Garden-Healthy

Here’s the thing about pest control professionals: they are not just good at extinguishing pests from your home, they are also efficient in eliminating pesky insects from your garden and, basically, all around your property.

Aside from your house, your garden is also likely to attract insects, including termites. More often than not, you’ll probably spot a few bugs crawling around your lovely flower plants or the sturdy trees that stand proudly in your garden. Learn which of these insects are beneficial for your garden, as well as the numerous ways to avoid attracting pests!

Not ALL Insects are Bad for Your Garden

Contrary to what most people think, not all insects are bad for your garden. Some of them are actually helpful, especially when you are trying to eliminate different types of garden pests. Here are some of the insects that will actually help you combat those pesky garden pests:

  • Brachonids, Chalcids, and Ichneumon Wasps – These small insects are helpful in eliminating leaf-eating caterpillars, which will eat away the leaves and flowers of your plants. You can attract such insects into your garden by planting crops like carrot and celery; these plants are easy to grow and they attract brachonids, chalcids, and ichneumon wasps easily.

1280px-megarhyssa_macrurus_female-1

  • Ladybugs – Ladybugs and their larvae are known to consume different pests such as aphids, mites, whiteflies, and other soft-bodied insects. Attract this helpful insect by planting members of the daisy family, tansy, or yarrow in your garden.
  • Lacewings – Lacewings and their larvae often feed on bad bugs including aphids, caterpillars, leafhoppers, whiteflies, and insect eggs. Composite flowers – such as black-eyed susan’s, goldenrod, and yarrow – are some of the plants you need to grow in your garden in order to attract lacewings.
  • Hoverflies – Like ladybugs and lacewings, hoverflies also consume aphids and other garden pests. You also need to plant composite flowers in your garden to attract this type of insect.
  • Praying Mantis – Like most insects in this list, you can also use the presence of praying mantises in your garden to eliminate garden pests. Providing water and ground cover, as well as planting fragrant and colorful plants in your yard, will surely encourage praying mantises to stay in your garden.
  • Spiders – This insect is one of your most important allies. Just like praying mantises, spiders consume all types of garden pests.

Tips to Prevent Garden Pests

Apart from trying to attract the insects mentioned above, there are ways to prevent pests from invading your beautiful garden. Here are some of them:

  • Build organic and healthy soil – One of the most efficient ways to prevent garden pests from bugging your garden is to use healthy and organic soil. Natural composting methods and utilizing compost fertilizers are very effective in growing healthy and strong plants.

soil-766281_1280

  • Keep foliage dry – Wet foliage may attract and lead to the growth of different insects and fungal damage to your plants. Make sure to water the plants early in the morning to keep their foliage dry throughout the day.
  • Minimize the potential insect habitat – Consistently cleaning your garden will help minimize the appearance of debris and weeds in your yard. This is necessary because scattered weeds are potential nests for various garden pests.
  • Rotate your crops – Some insects are attracted to specific plants only. So when growing your plants, mix different types. Through this, you can avoid the spread and re-infestation of pests.

Try attracting the right insects and following the tips mentioned above. When every mentioned technique fails, then it’s time to contact your trusted pest control provider.

5 Common Garden Pests

garden pests termite control

Termite control is not the only thing you should be concerned about when it comes to house maintenance. If you are an avid gardener, then you also have to watch out for pests that can wreck your well-cared for plants. You can’t have those creatures munching away on the leaves and boring holes in them, right? Here is a list of the most common pests that are most likely lurking in your garden right now:

 

Snails and slugs

Snails and slugs are considered to be among the most annoying garden pests anyone could encounter. These creatures are active in the night and they love to eat the leaves on the plants. The damage on the plants can either be unsightly, and it could even kill the plant.

Caterpillars

Many gardeners have a love-hate relationship with caterpillars. These little critters transform into beautiful butterflies, which always look great in a garden. However, as caterpillars, they have to consume the leaves of your plants. In fact, some species are so greedy they can strip your plants of its leaves in a few days. This can cause your plant to die—and your heart to break after the hard-work you poured in caring for your plant.

Aphids

These tiny, pear-shaped insects love to suck the plant sap, causing a great deal of damage to the plant. Aphids, or plant lice, are often noticed feeding in clusters on new plant growth. The honeydew they excrete while eating attracts ants and encourages black, sooty mold to grow on the plants.

Flea bugs

These are small, dark-colored beetles that jump like fleas when they are disturbed. The adults chew numerous small, round holes on leaves while the larvae feed on the plant’s roots. They prefer to feast on young plants.

Grasshoppers

Grasshoppers are known to be voracious eaters, consuming about one-half of their body weight per day. Adults and nymphs cause damage by chewing on the leaves and stems of the plants and if there is a severe infestation, they can defoliate an entire field. They are unpredictable and can eat anything. There are even species (we know them as locusts) that gather in large numbers and migrate to find food, which can spell doom for farmers.

 

There are a lot of ways to deal with these pests. Some invite the natural predators of these pests into their garden like toads, lady bugs, decollate snails and even the garter snake. These creatures will happily eat the slugs, snails, aphids, and bugs without causing much casualty in your plants. If you are up for it, you can set up baits especially for slugs and snails. It is proven that these crawling critters are attracted to beer and if you set up a shallow pan of beer, it is guaranteed that they will go to the pan and drown themselves in it.

You can also handpick these pests out but that will take a lot of time and patience. Don’t reach for that pesticide just yet since it contains chemicals that can harm your plant as well. A better option is to contact Sentricon Philippines and they will do an excellent job of removing the pests from your garden for good.