Ladybug on a plant.

Not all bugs are a menace within the garden

3 minutes, 36 seconds Read

Friday, March 4, 2022

Media Contact:
Trisha Gedon | Communications Specialist | 405-744-3625 |

When gardeners see bugs within the garden, they typically worry these multi-legged creatures
will chew and chomp their means via the panorama and go away a path of destruction
of their wake.

Whereas there are some bugs able to such injury in a garden — together with aphids,
cutworms and caterpillars — many bugs are literally helpful and are discovered wherever
from beneath the soil floor to the tree cover, mentioned David Hillock, Oklahoma State College Extension client horticulturist.

“Gardeners clearly don’t need to supply bugs a scrumptious salad bar, however earlier than
making use of pesticides on the first signal of bugs or arthropods, take the time to
discover out precisely what bugs are calling your garden and panorama residence,” Hillock
mentioned. “Many of the bugs discovered within the panorama aren’t going to hurt your crops.
The truth is, most of them are predators and serve a wide range of essential capabilities in
the garden, reminiscent of pollinating crops or consuming the bugs that trigger injury.”

Species reminiscent of flies, bees, butterflies and moths assist gardens develop by pollinating
crops. Different helpful bugs are predators, together with the simply recognizable girl
beetle, often known as a ladybug. Each grownup and larval girl beetles feed on small,
soft-bodied bugs. The well-known purple and orange species feed totally on aphids.

Different predatory bugs embody the inexperienced lacewing, damsel bug, praying mantis, syrphid
fly, big-eyed bug, murderer bug, spined soldier bug, paper wasp, cicada killer, minute
pirate bug and even some species of spiders.

Parasitic bugs are organisms that reside and feed in or on a bigger host insect and
are good to have within the garden. A few of these species embody trichogrammatid wasp,
tachinid fly and braconid wasp.

“A profitable garden and panorama rely on the insect world. Attracting helpful
bugs to the garden may help cut back pest stress, assist construct wholesome soil and enhance
yields,” Hillock mentioned.

Some nice plant choices for attracting helpful bugs embody carrots, celery,
fennel, parsnips, legumes, broccoli and mustard greens. Additionally think about alternatives from
the aster household, together with goldenrod, signet marigold, sunflower, coneflower and
zinnias; and alternatives from the verbena household, together with garden favorites, such
as verbena and lantana.

What can a gardener do to attempt to eradicate the bugs that trigger injury to their
crops however nonetheless shield the helpful bugs within the garden?

Kevin Shelton, OSU Extension affiliate specialist and coordinator of OSU’s Pesticide Security Schooling Program, mentioned one method to take away these pests from the garden is to choose them off by hand and
squash them.

“Hand selecting is a viable choice to assist management detrimental bugs,” Shelton mentioned.
“Whereas it could be time consuming, it’s a secure method to eliminate the pests whereas defending
the bugs which are good to have round. It actually may be satisfying squishing these

Direct spray or focused purposes is another choice as is wrapping the stem of
the plant in foil to chop down on bugs chewing on the plant. A high quality mesh draped
across the crops can maintain away the pests but in addition retains the helpful bugs at
bay. Shelton additionally beneficial in search of pests, such because the tomato worm, simply as
quickly as chewed leaves are seen. Treating these pests as quickly as doable will cut back
plant injury sooner or later.

When choosing the chemical management route, choose merchandise which have little or no
residual exercise. Though the helpful bugs current on the time of software
might be killed, the brand new ones coming into the garden later gained’t be affected.

“If gardeners have the area, various is to plant a small lure garden.
It is a garden the place gardeners hope the pests will migrate,” he mentioned. “This hopefully
will maintain the vast majority of the unhealthy bugs away out of your primary garden areas. It additionally
makes it simpler to deal with for these pests in the primary garden area.”

Casey Hentges, host of OSU Agriculture’s Oklahoma Gardening, demonstrates how you can construct an insect resort on this episode. An insect resort gives an incredible place for these helpful bugs
to name residence.

OSU Extension presents further gardening and bug/pest info on-line.


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