Jul 12, 2017
Summer Pest , How to identify and combat these critters and bugs? SLIDE: Pets Breakdown: Aphids Easy-to-grow vegetables can sometimes acquire disease through aphid infestation, which can cause your cucumbers to become mottled and stunted. Aphids are not difficult to control if you spot them early enough, so monitor your cucumber plants for signs of these tiny insects. Aphids are tiny insects with long, slender mouth parts used to pierce stems and leaves of plants to suck out the plant’s fluids. Aphids range in size from 1/16 to 1/8 inch long. These insects can be almost any color, including green, black, brown, red or pink. Aphids have two tubes near the end of the abdomen, and slender antennae that protrude from the head. They can be winged or wingless. Aphids tend to collect along the side of your garden that is most exposed to wind, so check these areas carefully. Also check the undersides of leaves. Indirect evidence of aphids includes the presence of natural enemies such as ladybugs and lacewing flies. Ants feed on the excreted sap generated by aphids, so if you see ants near your cucumber plants it could indicate an aphid infestation. While small populations of aphids will not directly damage your cucumbers, aphids transmit several forms of mosaic virus that can destroy the plants. If mosaic virus is present, your cucumbers will be mottled with yellow or light green spots, the leaves will curl, the vines will weaken, and the plants will be stunted. Cucumbers will also be small, misshapen and develop knobs and warts. They will not be edible. Additionally, transmission does not require a large aphid population, so identifying the disease quickly is key to controlling it. Introduce natural enemies of aphids in your garden. Certain species of wasps, ladybugs and lacewings feed on aphids. Never use more nitrogen fertilizer than necessary; high levels of nitrogen fertilizer promote aphid reproduction. When we were dealing with our Aphid issues on our Tomato plants we used an solution of half water half rubbing alcohol and sprayed it directly on both sides of the leaves. This worked wonders and we have not had another infestation this season. Reference http://homeguides.sfgate.com/aphids-cucumber-plants-25851.html White Cabbage Butterfly Anyone who has ever grown cabbage, broccoli or cauliflower knows the damage cabbage worms and cabbage moths can do! One day your plants are healthy and vibrant, and then suddenly it looks like they have become riddled with holes. Cabbage worms and moths can be controlled and nearly eliminated. With a little effort, there are a few simple ways to help defend your garden against these unwanted creatures. Cabbage worms are the result of the larvae from the cabbage moth. If you see white butterfly like creatures floating around your garden with black spots – you have cabbage moths. And the cabbage moth will lay larvae on the undersides of your and cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower. That larvae then turns into the cabbage worm, a greenish worm with barely visible yellow stripes. They start out by eating holes in the foliage of your vegetable plants. From there, and as they become larger, they can bore directly into the vegetables, completely ruining a crop. Cabbage loopers on the other hand are more of a caterpillar. Unlike cabbage worm, they do not have a middle set of legs, so they move up and down on plants like inch worms to move about. They can cause a lot of damage quickly, and will attack all garden plants. How To Control Cabbage Worms, Moths and Loopers There are several ways to protect your crop naturally. The first key, as with controlling all garden pests and issues, is to walk through your garden on a daily basis to notice and head off attacks before they have become a major problem. With that said, here are some great natural remedies to controlling these destructive pests: Herbs and Flowers Planting repelling herbs in your cabbage and cauliflower rows can be a big help in keeping cabbage pests at bay. Thyme is well-known as a natural repellent to cabbage worms. In addition, Dill and the Mint family of herbs are known repellents as well. Be careful with mint, it can be extremely invasive, so it’s best to have it in pots placed throughout your cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower rows. How do the flowers come into play? Planting a few blooming annuals like marigolds and nasturtiums in rows or throughout your garden helps to repel many harmful insects, like aphids and mosquitoes. But more importantly, it brings in beneficial paper wasps and insects looking for nectar. Those wasps love to lay attacking parasitic eggs on the backs of worms – killing them naturally. Hand Picking Yes, the good old-fashioned hand method of walking rows daily and removing worms / loopers really does work! And if you see those dreaded white moths floating around, take them out as well – that is of course if you can catch them! It only takes a few minutes, but walking rows and removing the pests that are present can keep a small problem from quickly becoming an epidemic. Reference https://oldworldgardenfarms.com/2017/05/18/controlling-cabbage-worms-naturally/ Potato Bugs Both the adult and larval forms chew leaves and can completely defoliate an entire crop if potato beetle control methods are not implemented. Their feeding can greatly reduce yield and in some cases, may even kill plants. Alternate host plants include tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. Beneficial insects, such as ladybugs, spined soldier bugs and lacewing, feed on eggs and the young larval stages. Diatomaceous Earth contains no toxic poisons and works on contact. Dust lightly and evenly over vegetable crops wherever pest insects are found. In early morning, shake adults beetles from plants onto ground cloth and dump captured pests into soapy water. I’ve always found hand picking of adults and larva and the removal of the leaves with eggs to be one of the best methods to controlling this pest. Reference https://www.planetnatural.com/pest-problem-solver/garden-pests/colorado-potato-beetle-control/ Ants Place ant deterring smells around the base of the plant – There are a few things that ants do not seem to like the smell of. Some of these things are mint or cinnamon. Try laying some mint or cinnamon flavored gum around the base of the affected plant. Or just sprinkle some cinnamon around the base of the plant. Plants like geranium, garlic, aster, calendula, chrysanthemum and mint are known to deter ants and other garden pests. Planting these plants around the affected plant will help to keep ants away. Reference https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/plant-problems/pests/insects/keeping-ants-off-flowers.htm Let us know if you have any questions about the material provided.