April is National Pest Management Month and National Lawn and Garden Month, so what better time to go through the most invasive garden pests that are going to bug you this spring and summer and let you know how to safely get rid of them without hurting your plants or beneficial insects like ladybugs, bees, butterflies and more! There are a few easy things you can do to encourage beneficial insects and eliminate detrimental insects in your garden.
These are the damaging bugs you want to get rid of:
- Leafhopper: these tiny hoppers derive their nutrition from plant sap. Unlike other sap-sucking insects, they can feed on a variety of plants—from grass and shrub to flowering bushes and trees. They carry a variety of plant viruses that they can transmit to plants during feeding. You can spray your plants with natural pest formulas to deter these pests. Ladybugs also like to prey on them.
- Aphids: these soft-bodied insects come in a variety of colors and feed on the sap of plants. They attach themselves to the undersides of leaves and suck nutrients out of the plant as they feed. They can also often transmit plant viruses, which can kill even the heartiest of plants. Many beneficial insects, including ladybugs, lacewings, and wasps pretty on aphids.
- Japanese Beetle: in its native Japan, this bug is kept under control by natural predators. However, in the U.S., this invasive species is a menace to rose bushes, birch trees, linden trees, hops, grapevines and many other residential and commercial plants.
- Snails and Slugs: these two garden pests can cause a lot of damage as they particularly love young, tender plants. They often leave ragged holes in the leaves of plants on which they have been feeding. You can trap both snails and slugs with beer traps. Toads, frogs lizards, ducks, and garden snakes also prey on these pests.
- Cabbage Looper: every vegetable gardener needs to be wary of this pest. The cabbage looper feeds on cabbage, kale, broccoli, radishes, turnips, lettuces, peppers, potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, peas, and many other plants. They are voracious feeders and eat the leaves and flowers, often burring down into the heads of plants like cabbage. Birds and praying mantises will eat these damaging pests right up.
These are the helpful insects that eat the bad ones and pollinate the plants that you want to keep around:
- Bees and Wasps: while wasps might not be your favorite, they’re great predators who eat worms, caterpillars, aphids and other insects that will ruin all manner of vegetables. And we all know why honey bees and bumblebees are good for gardens—they’re great pollinators! Whether you have a full vegetable garden or just a few flower pots, they’ll be more lively and vibrant if bees are there to help cross-pollinate.
- Praying Mantis: praying mantises will eat almost any insect they come across, but they do not eat any plants, so they’re great for eliminating garden pests. Also, unlike wasps, they pose no danger to people or pets.
- Green Lacewing: these little guys prey on mites and aphids, which happen to be two of the peskiest pests for gardeners and the two that are often most difficult to get rid of. Another bonus? These insects are generally only active at night. So you’ll probably never see them.
- Ladybug: on top of ladybugs being cute and fun for your kids to play with, they’re also great pest predators. Like the Green Lacewing, they also eat aphids and mites, as well as scale, a deadly parasite for many fruits, vegetables, and flowers.
- Butterfly: like bees, butterflies are wonderful pollinators. Many plant species rely on the cross-pollination provided by these insects for their reproduction each year.
If you have any other questions about any of the pests listed above, contact your Oklahoma pest control experts at Emtec Pest Control by calling us or by filling out our online contact form. Our service areas in Northeast Oklahoma include Bixby, Broken Arrow, Catoosa, Owasso, Jenks, Sand Springs, Sapulpa, Skiatook, Stillwater, Tulsa, and the surrounding areas. In Central Oklahoma, we service Edmond, Moore, Oklahoma City, Yukon, and the surrounding areas. You can also connect with us on social media for more helpful pest control tips, tricks, and information. We are on Facebook and Google+.
At Emtec Pest Control, we are committed to safe and responsible pest control. We understand that your family’s safety is your number one priority, so we make it our priority, too. If you have any other questions about any of these pests or pest control for your home or business, contact your Oklahoma pest control experts at Emtec Pest Control by calling us or by filling out our online contact form. Our service areas in Northeast Oklahoma include Bixby, Broken Arrow, Catoosa, Owasso, Jenks, Sand Springs, Sapulpa, Skiatook, Stillwater, Tulsa and the surrounding areas. In Central Oklahoma, we service Edmond, Moore, Oklahoma City, Yukon and the surrounding areas. You can also connect with us on social media for more helpful pest control tips and information. We are on Facebook.