STILLWATER – When gardeners see bugs within the garden, they typically concern these multi-legged creatures will chew and chomp their method 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 anyplace from beneath the soil floor to the tree cover, mentioned David Hillock, Oklahoma State College Extension shopper 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 seek out out precisely what bugs are calling your garden and panorama residence,” Hillock mentioned. “A lot of the bugs discovered within the panorama aren’t going to hurt your vegetation. The truth is, most of them are predators and serve quite a lot of necessary capabilities within the garden, akin to pollinating vegetation or consuming the bugs that trigger injury.”
Species akin to flies, bees, butterflies and moths assist gardens develop by pollinating crops. Different helpful bugs are predators, together with the simply recognizable girl beetle, also called a ladybug. Each grownup and larval girl beetles feed on small, soft-bodied bugs. The well-known crimson and orange species feed totally on aphids.
Different predatory bugs embrace 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 dwell and feed in or on a bigger host insect and are good to have within the garden. A few of these species embrace 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 scale back pest strain, assist construct wholesome soil and enhance yields,” Hillock mentioned.
Some nice plant choices for attracting helpful bugs embrace carrots, celery, fennel, parsnips, legumes, broccoli and mustard greens. Additionally take into account choices from the aster household, together with goldenrod, signet marigold, sunflower, coneflower and zinnias; and choices from the verbena household, together with garden favorites, akin to verbena and lantana.
What can a gardener do to attempt to get rid of the bugs that trigger injury to their vegetation however nonetheless defend the helpful bugs within the garden?
Kevin Shelton, OSU Extension affiliate specialist and coordinator of OSU’s Pesticide Security Training Program, mentioned one approach to take away these pests from the garden is to choose them off by hand and squash them.
“Hand choosing is a viable possibility to assist management detrimental bugs,” Shelton mentioned. “Whereas it might be time consuming, it’s a secure approach to do away with the pests whereas defending the bugs which might be good to have round. It actually will be satisfying squishing these pests.”
Direct spray or focused functions 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 vegetation can maintain away the pests but additionally retains the helpful bugs at bay. Shelton additionally really helpful on the lookout for pests, such because the tomato worm, simply as quickly as chewed leaves are seen. Treating these pests as quickly as potential will scale 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, an excellent different is to plant a small entice garden. This can be a garden the place gardeners hope the pests will migrate,” he mentioned. “This hopefully will maintain the vast majority of the dangerous bugs away out of your essential garden areas. It additionally makes it simpler to deal with for these pests in the principle garden area.”