Hey, it’s your favorite lady, Jillian. Today we are going to be talking about summer time pests and how you can get rid of them from your garden. As the summer heat arrives, so do the pests that threaten to wreak havoc on our gardens. From pesky insects to bothersome critters, these unwanted visitors can undermine your hard work and diminish the beauty of your outdoor space. I regularly deal with rats and squirrels and they love to devour my plums. ARGH!!! Is it weird if I borrow my mom’s rat terrier to do a little exterminating?
With all that to say, with the right strategies and a proactive approach, you can reclaim your garden and enjoy a pest-free summer. Read on to discover effective methods to get rid of common summer pests and protect your plants.
- Know Your Enemies
The first step in combating summer pests is understanding the specific nuisances you're dealing with. Some people deal with little bug pests like aphids, slugs, snails, and mosquitoes. Others have creatures (like myself) like squirrels, rats, mice, rabbits, and moles. Some people even have larger pests like deer! Each has its own unique behavior and vulnerabilities. Whatever applies to you, research these pests to learn about their life cycles, preferred habitats, and the plants they are attracted to. Armed with this knowledge, you can develop targeted strategies to deter or eliminate them.
- Maintain a Clean and Tidy Garden
A well-maintained garden is less appealing to pests. If you are not sure what I mean, start by removing weeds, fallen leaves, and debris that provide hiding spots and breeding grounds. Removing this kind of natural debris gives little critters less places to hide, so they won’t feel as secure to move about your own garden. Regularly prune your plants to maintain good airflow and minimize places for pests to hide. Additionally, clear away any overripe or rotting fruits and vegetables, as they can attract insects and rodents.
- Natural Predators and Beneficial Insects
Encourage the presence of natural predators and beneficial insects in your garden. Ladybugs, lacewings, praying mantises, and birds feed on garden pests, providing natural pest control. As much as I hate them, having a couple lizards crawling around isn’t such a bad idea either. GROSS. Remind me to write in a future blog why I hate lizards so much.
Planting nectar-rich flowers and installing bird feeders can attract these helpful creatures. Consider introducing nematodes or beneficial nematode species to combat soil-dwelling pests. Avoid using broad-spectrum pesticides, as they may harm beneficial insects and disrupt the natural balance of your garden.
Also, try to rely on certain animals you may already have: cats, dogs, and dare I say, CHICKENS and DUCKS. Cats love to catch anything that crawls, and certain dog breeds like Jack Russell Terriers and Weiner Dogs all more than eager to find a new chew toy in the form of a dead rat. Your pets will get to enjoy the trill of the chase, and you get to have your furry family members do the dirty work for you. It’s a win-win! I know not every family has chickens and ducks, but BOY they are seriously the most reliable bug pest control I have ever seen. Chickens and ducks and absolutely vicious towards all bugs. They will go through your garden and clean it out like nobody’s business!
- Physical Barriers and Traps
Employ physical barriers to deter pests. For instance, use row covers to protect vulnerable plants from insects or erect fences to keep larger pests like deer out. Applying copper tape around pots or garden beds can prevent slugs and snails from reaching your plants. You can also set up traps, such as sticky traps for flying insects or beer traps for slugs. These simple yet effective methods can significantly reduce pest populations.
- Organic Pest Control Methods
When natural deterrents are not enough, explore organic pest control options. Homemade remedies like garlic or chili pepper sprays, soap solutions, or neem oil can repel many common pests. Introduce companion planting, which involves growing pest-repellent plants alongside vulnerable crops. For example, planting marigolds near tomatoes can deter aphids. Use organic insecticides sparingly and as a last resort, ensuring they are labeled safe for edible plants.
If you do need to go the route of toxic pest control, PLEASE be very careful and read each product’s directions thoroughly. I am not personally against toxic pest control, but I am all about safety first. Where ever you use toxic chemicals, remember to remove beloved pets and keep your kids away from the danger zones. I don’t want to see any family have to go through anything scary. Safety, safety, safety!!!
By employing a combination of knowledge, prevention, and targeted pest control strategies, you can create a garden that thrives throughout the summer while remaining free from common pests. Embrace natural solutions, maintain cleanliness, and monitor your garden regularly to promptly address any signs of infestation. With these proactive measures, you can enjoy the fruits of your labor in a thriving and pest-free garden all summer long.