Organic Pest Control for the Garden

Slug garden pestBefore busting out the bug spray, it’s always better to use organic pest control for the container garden. Here are organic pest control methods for four common garden pests: aphids, slugs, tomato hornworms and whiteflies.


Organic Pest Control for the Garden Pest #1: Aphids. Aphids are small bugs that blend in well with your plants. They’re usually green, but they can be any color. You will be able to spot these pests on new plant growth and by their movement. Prune off the affected area of the plant, spray aphids off with soapy water and attract beneficial insects (such as ladybugs) to the garden.

Organic Pest Control for the Garden Pest #2: Slugs. Slugs are mollusks that can eat more than their body weight each day, which means that your container plants won’t stand a chance if you don’t fight back against these garden pests right away. Pick slugs off your plants by hand, put out iron phosphate baits, diatomaceous earth, beer traps or crushed eggshells sprinkled around plants.

Organic Pest Control for the Garden Pest #3: Tomato hornworms. These caterpillars can ravage your container garden, and you wouldn't believe how fast they will consume the leaves off your tomato and potato plants. The tomato hornworm caterpillar (Manduca quinquemaculata) will turn into the five-spotted hawkmoth. These caterpillars can be found on tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, moon flowers and tobacco plants. Use Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) and pick tomato hornworms off plants, and attract braconid wasps to the garden (the wasp eggs parasitize tomato hornworms). Plant zinnias and borage next to plants that are typically attacked by tomato hornworms.

Organic Pest Control for the Garden Pest #4: Whiteflies. Whiteflies are so tiny that they’re hard to see, but look for many of them together on the undersides of your container plant leaves. They suck the sap from the leaves and deposit honeydew on the leaves, which can cause fungal diseases. The best way to get rid of a whitefly infestation is to spray soapy water on the infected plants.

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