Insects and Bugs you Want to Repel
Bring the good bugs to the garden and get rid of the bad ones
Insects are an important part of any garden ecosystem, and while some insects provide important benefits, others can cause damage to plants.
It's important to control and eliminate insect pests in the garden for several reasons:
Damage to plants: Insect pests can cause significant damage to plants, including yellowing or wilting of leaves, defoliation, and even plant death in severe cases.
Reduced yields: Insect pests can also impact crop yields, resulting in smaller or fewer fruits, vegetables, or flowers.
Disease transmission: Some insect pests, such as aphids and whiteflies, can spread plant diseases from one plant to another.
Attraction of other pests: A garden with a high population of insect pests can attract other pests, such as rodents, that feed on the insects and may cause additional damage to plants.
Aesthetic value: A garden with significant insect pest damage may not be as visually appealing, detracting from the overall beauty of the garden.
Controlling insect pests in the garden can be challenging, but it's important to take action to protect your plants and maintain a healthy garden ecosystem. Using natural pest control methods, such as companion planting, physical barriers, and beneficial insects, can help to control pest populations while also minimizing damage to plants and the environment.
Insects and Bugs you Want to Repel
Ants in the garden can serve a beneficial role by aerating the soil and helping to control pest populations. However, they can also be a nuisance if they begin to damage plants or infest the home.
Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects that feed on the sap of plants. They can be green, yellow, brown, or black in color and have pear-shaped bodies with long antennae. Aphids reproduce quickly and can cause significant damage to many plants by feeding on the leaves, stems, and flowers.
Colorado Potato Beetle
The Colorado potato beetle is a small, yellow, and black-striped beetle that feeds on the leaves of potato plants, as well as eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes. The larvae are red or orange and also feed on the leaves. They can cause significant damage to potato crops if left unchecked.
Cutworms are the larval stage of various moth species that are notorious for their ability to sever the stems of young plants at or near the soil line. They are gray or brown in color and can be up to 2 inches long (5 cm). Cutworms can cause significant damage to vegetables, flowers, and ornamental plants.
Earwigs are omnivores, meaning they’ll eat almost anything in the garden. Nocturnal by nature, earwigs generally feed on decaying plant and animal matter; however, if their numbers are allowed to get out of control, they will turn to feeding on a wide range of flowering and other plants, particularly young foliage of vegetables and flowers.
Flea beetles are small, shiny beetles that are named for their ability to jump like fleas. They feed on the leaves of plants, leaving small, round holes. They can cause significant damage to radishes, broccoli, cabbage, turnips, eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, spinach, and melons and can be challenging to control due to their jumping behavior.
The imported cabbageworm is a small, green caterpillar that feeds on the leaves of plants in the cabbage family, including cabbage, broccoli, kale, collard greens, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, mustard greens, and turnip greens. It can be identified by its pale green color and velvety appearance. The caterpillars can cause significant damage to plants if left unchecked.
Japanese beetles are considered a serious pest because they can cause significant damage to a wide range of plants, including flowers, trees, shrubs, and vegetables. Adult Japanese beetles feed on the leaves, flowers, and fruit of plants, while their larvae feed on the roots of grasses and other plants. This feeding can result in skeletonized leaves, defoliation, and even plant death in severe cases.
Mexican Bean Beetle
The Mexican bean beetle is a small, yellow beetle with black spots that feeds on the leaves, flowers, and pods of bean plants. The larvae are yellow and spiny and also feed on the leaves. They can cause significant damage to bean crops and other plants in the legume family such as peas and soybeans.
Spider mites are tiny arachnids that feed on the sap of plants. They are typically found on the undersides of leaves and can cause damage to plants by sucking out their juices. They are especially problematic in warm, dry environments and can cause significant damage to both indoor and outdoor plants. They can be difficult to control once they become established.
The squash bug is a grayish-brown insect that feeds on the leaves and stems of squash, pumpkin, and other plants in the cucurbit family. They can be identified by their shield-shaped bodies and the strong odor they emit when disturbed. Squash bugs can cause significant damage to plants, including wilting and death.
Thrips are tiny, slender insects with fringed wings that feed on the sap of plants. They can be yellow, brown, or black in color and are difficult to see with the naked eye. Thrips can cause significant damage to plants, including leaf distortion, discoloration, and stunted growth. They can be difficult to control, as they reproduce quickly and can resist many types of insecticides.
How to Repel Insect Pest and Bugs?
There are several natural ways to repel insect pests and bugs in the garden, including:
1 - Companion planting
Companion planting is a natural way to repel insect pests in the garden by using plants that are known to deter or repel certain insects. Here are some examples of companion plants that can help to repel insect pests:
Marigolds: Marigolds are known to repel aphids, cabbage maggots, colorado potato beetles, and other pests. They can be planted around potatoes, cabbage, and other vegetables to help protect them from these pests.
Nasturtiums: Nasturtiums are a natural repellent for aphids, whiteflies, and squash bugs. They can be planted around beans, cucumbers, and other vegetables to help control these pests.
Chives: Chives are a natural repellent for aphids and Japanese beetles. They can be planted around roses, tomatoes, and other plants to help repel these pests.
Basil: Basil is a natural repellent for flies, mosquitoes, and asparagus beetles. It can be planted around asparagus and other vegetables to help repel these pests.
Catnip: Catnip is a natural repellent for flea beetles, aphids, and squash bugs. It can be planted around eggplant, peppers, and other vegetables to help control these pests.
Tansy: Tansy is a natural repellent for asparagus beetles, cabbage butterflies, carrot flies, and Colorado potato beetles. It can be planted around asparagus, potatoes, and other vegetables to help control these pests.
By incorporating companion plants into your garden, you can help to naturally control insect pest populations and protect your plants from damage. It's important to research which plants work best to repel specific pests and to plant them in the appropriate location in the garden.
2 - Trap Cropping
Trap cropping is a pest control method that involves planting a crop that is particularly attractive to a specific insect pest. The idea is to lure the pest away from the main crop and onto the trap crop, which can be harvested or destroyed once the pest has been attracted to it. Here are some examples of how trap cropping can be used to get rid of pests:
Cabbage loopers: Cabbage loopers are a common pest of brassica plants like broccoli and cabbage. Trap cropping can be used by planting a border of collard greens or other brassica plants around the main crop to attract the cabbage loopers away from the main crop.
Squash bugs: Squash bugs are a common pest of squash and pumpkins. Trap cropping can be used by planting a border of butternut squash or other winter squash around the main crop to attract the squash bugs away from the main crop.
Colorado potato beetles: Colorado potato beetles are a common pest of potatoes. Trap cropping can be used by planting a border of eggplants or other solanaceous plants around the main crop to attract the Colorado potato beetles away from the main crop.
Aphids: Aphids are a common pest of many garden plants. Trap cropping can be used by planting a border of nasturtiums or other plants that are particularly attractive to aphids around the main crop to attract the aphids away from the main crop.
By using trap cropping, gardeners can effectively control pest populations by luring them away from the main crop and onto a trap crop. This method can be particularly effective for organic gardeners who want to avoid using chemical pesticides. However, it's important to monitor both the main crop and the trap crop to ensure that the pest population is being effectively controlled.
3 - Physical barriers to repel insect pests
Physical barriers can be an effective way to repel insect pests in the garden by creating a physical barrier between the plants and the pests. Here are some examples of physical barriers that can be used:
Row covers: Row covers are lightweight, breathable fabrics that can be placed over plants to create a physical barrier between plants and insects. They are particularly effective for protecting plants from flying insects like aphids, whiteflies, and moths.
Netting: Netting can be used to protect plants from larger pests like birds and rodents. It can also be used to protect plants from insects like flea beetles and Japanese beetles.
Floating row covers: Floating row covers are similar to traditional row covers but are placed directly on the soil around the plants. They can be used to protect young plants from cutworms and other soil-dwelling pests.
Sticky traps: Sticky traps are small pieces of paper or plastic coated with a sticky substance that attracts and traps insects. They can be used to control pests like thrips, whiteflies, and fungus gnats.
Using physical barriers can be a highly effective way to repel insect pests in the garden, but it's important to use the right barrier for the specific pest you are trying to control. It's also important to monitor the barriers regularly to make sure they are working effectively and to remove them once the pest problem has been resolved.
4 - Beneficial insects and natural predators
Beneficial insects provide ecological benefits, such as controlling pest populations, pollinating plants, and serving as food for other animals. These insects play important roles in maintaining the balance of ecosystems and supporting the health of the environment.
Beneficial insects are important predators of pests, such as aphids and mites, and help to control their populations without the use of harmful chemicals.
Beneficial insects also play important roles as pollinators, helping to fertilize plants and support the growth of crops and other vegetation.
The beneficial insects you should attract to your garden depend on several factors, including the types of pests you have, the plants in your garden, and the climate in your area. Some of the most common beneficial insects that can be attracted to gardens include:
Ladybugs: Ladybugs are predators of aphids and other soft-bodied pests and are a great way to control pest populations without using harmful chemicals.
Lacewings: Lacewings are also predators of aphids and other soft-bodied pests and are an effective way to control pest populations.
Parasitic wasps: Parasitic wasps feed on caterpillars and other bugs and are an important part of many ecosystems.
Bumblebees: Bumblebees are important pollinators and can help to support the growth of crops and other plants in your garden.
Hoverflies: Hoverflies are also important pollinators and are attracted to gardens with various flowering plants.
Praying mantises: Praying mantises feed on a variety of insects, including flies, moths, and beetles, and can help to control pest populations in your garden.
Soldier beetles: Soldier beetles feed on aphids, mites, and caterpillars and are also important pollinators.
To attract beneficial insects to your garden: plant various native plants, provide a water source and suitable habitat, and offer shelter.
5 - Cultural practices
Cultural practices can be an effective way to repel insect pests in the garden by making the environment less favorable to pests. Here are some examples of cultural practices that can help to repel insect pests:
Proper watering: Proper watering can help to keep plants healthy and less susceptible to insect pest damage. Watering at the base of the plant can also help to prevent foliage from becoming wet, which can attract pests like aphids and whiteflies.
Pruning: Pruning can help to promote healthy plant growth and make it easier to identify and remove damaged or diseased plant parts that may attract insect pests.
Crop rotation: Crop rotation can help to prevent pest problems by reducing the buildup of pests in the soil. It's important to rotate crops to different garden areas each year to prevent the buildup of pests and diseases in the soil.
Soil health: Maintaining healthy soil can help to promote healthy plant growth and make plants less susceptible to insect pest damage. Adding organic matter to the soil, such as compost or manure, can help to improve soil health.
Plant diversity: Planting a diverse mix of plants can help to prevent pest problems by making it less likely that pests will establish themselves in the garden. It's also important to avoid planting the same type of plant in the same area of the garden year after year.
6 - Natural insecticides
Using natural insecticides can be an effective way to repel insect pests in the garden without the use of harmful chemicals. Here are some examples of natural insecticides that can help to repel insect pests:
Neem oil: Neem oil is a natural insecticide that is effective against many insect pests, including aphids, whiteflies, and spider mites. It works by disrupting the feeding and reproductive cycles of the insects and is safe for most plants.
Pyrethrum: Pyrethrum is a natural insecticide that is derived from chrysanthemum flowers. It is effective against many insect pests, including aphids, whiteflies, and thrips. It targets the nervous system of insects and is safe for most plants.
Insecticidal soap: Insecticidal soap is a natural insecticide that works by disrupting the cell membranes of insect pests. It is effective against many insect pests, including aphids, whiteflies, and spider mites, and is safe for most plants.
Diatomaceous earth: Diatomaceous earth is a natural insecticide that is made from the fossilized remains of diatoms. It works by dehydrating the exoskeletons of insect pests and is effective against a wide range of pests, including ants, fleas, and beetles.
Garlic spray: Garlic spray is a natural insecticide that can be made by blending garlic cloves with water and straining the mixture. It can be effective against a wide range of insect pests, including aphids, whiteflies, and spider mites.
By using natural insecticides, you can help to control insect pest populations in the garden without the use of harmful chemicals. It's important to follow the instructions on the product label and to test any new insecticides on a small area of the plant before applying them to the entire plant.
Afanasiev Andrii, Shutterstock
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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