As the snow and ice melts and temperatures begin to climb, it’s time to begin planting your spring garden and flowerbeds.
As you’re deciding what to plant, you need to consider the garden insects and pests that may accompany them. There are many beneficial and harmful pests that could invade your garden. If left untreated, your freshly planted garden and flowers may not survive very long.
Spider mites and slugs can destroy a plant in days while ladybugs and ground beetles are trying to protect your fruits, vegetables, plants, and flowers.
Spider mites are a tiny garden pest that sucks the sap from your plants’ leaves. These mites cluster together on the underside of a plant leaf leaving behind a discolored or dead leaf as they move on to the next leaf.
Measuring in at no larger than a pinhead, these reddish-brown minute vampires can quickly destroy a plant or garden if left untreated. Spider mites are an 8-legged web weaving pest that puts them in the same category as arachnids. Female spider mites produce over 250 eggs over 14 days after becoming fertilized and then proceeds to lay her eggs on the underside of leaves. These mites quickly hatch and molt into adults in less than a week.
Damage is often mistaken for drought stress as it is difficult to spot spider mites on the underside of leaves and because of how small they are. A spider mite infested plant may need to be removed and thrown away as spider mites can be difficult to get rid of. Spider mites can grow a tolerance to certain pesticides, making them a destructive and harmful garden pest.
Slugs are a slimy, legless garden eating pest. Often referred to as a shell-less snail or homeless snail, slugs are related to the oyster and clam family called mollusk. Slugs are active in the evening/night time when temperatures are cooler from spring to fall. During the daytime hours, slugs can be found below the soil, where it’s cool, eating away at your garden plant roots. Night time when they emerge, they are often found feasting on garden vegetables and fruits. Unlike a worm eating on a piece of fruit where the bite mark is almost perfectly circular, the slugs bite marks are rather sloppy. They leave irregular shaped bite marks in flowers, fruits, vegetables, and leaves.
Slugs overwinter as eggs and emerge in spring. A layer of slime covers their body so they don’t dry out. This slime helps them glide around since they have no legs. This often helps locate slugs in a garden as the slime dries up and leaves a trail behind. Too much water in a garden attracts slugs. Proper watering and regular inspections can help keep your garden slug-free.
There are many species of ladybugs, all of which are beneficial to crops, gardens, and flowerbeds. Ladybugs are known to eat harmful garden insects, such as spider mites, caterpillars, and aphids; all insects that can damage your fruits, vegetables, plants, flowers, and crops. Birds, wasps, spiders, and frogs prey on ladybugs but don’t find them a tasty snack. When ladybugs are threatened they secrete a foul tasting oil from their legs that most predators turn away from.
Ladybugs are a colorful 6-legged insect with red or orange bodies and black spots or stripes. Most people find ladybugs to be a sign of good luck or fortune. Ladybugs act as a natural pest control from spring to fall after overwintering in secluded areas. During the winter you can find ladybugs in rotting trees or logs, inside homes, or under lawn debris or rocks.
Ground beetle is a generic name given to carabids, which is one of the largest insect species. With over 38,000 worldwide and over 2,000 in the United States, these beetles are a beneficial asset. Ground beetles spend their egg, larvae, and pupae stages of life within the soil eating on other insects and organisms. They eat earwigs, aphids, snails, mites, and slugs to name a few. They are also known to eat on weed seeds. This helps reduce the weed population throughout your lawn. Adult ground beetles are found on top of the soil consuming harmful insects that can be damaging to gardens, flowerbeds, lawns, and crops. Ground beetles have strong mandibles that allow them to be fierce predators.
Most active from spring to fall, these black beetles can produce over 500 eggs and lay them in or on top of soil, mulch, and leaves. The eggs hatch in approximately 1 week. The larvae eat until it can’t eat anymore then enters the pupa stage before emerging from the ground as an adult. Ground beetles are considered a natural pest control.
No matter what time of year, if you’re looking for extra protection against pests inside or outside your home, contact Safe Earth Pest Control. We have plans to fit all your home and lawn needs. 214-321-2847