Warmer weather brings garden nibblers.
You may be finding holes in the leaves of your garden plants and are concerned that this damage will end up destroying your flowers or killing your plants. You may want to know how to eliminate these worms, bugs and beetles that appear to be causing harm. Many times it is not an easy task to identify what is causing the problem. One reason is that we cannot find any critters. Some bugs are not seen as they are active at night and only for a very short time. Others are tiny and hard to see. It is very important to identify what is causing the problem so control measures will be effective.
There are caterpillars that nibble on our plants and only cause cosmetic damage which will not weaken or kill our desirables. Some of these caterpillars may even develop into butterflies so we don’t necessarily want to eliminate them. In general most insects will not cause serious damage to our plants if they only make a few holes in the leaves. There is no need to panic and try to kill them and risk killing our pollinators. On the other hand, there are insects that cause a great deal of damage. We can normally see these bugs if we know what we are looking for and when to look for them.
A few of the insects that can be a serious threat to our plants are spider mites, bagworms, scales, borers and aphids. If you google these pests before they cause damage you will know what to look for and it will be easier to find a pesticide that will help you control them. Another option is to wait until you see the damage and then take a plant sample to your local nursery to have the bug identified so the correct control measure can be prescribed. If the damage is from a disease the control method will be different than if an insect is causing the problem. Sucking insect control will be different than that for chewing insects. You can see how important it is to properly identify what is causing the damage so the correct measures can be used for control.
Remember, it is not necessary to control every little nibble on our plants. This will help us avoid using too many chemicals that can cause problems to our pollinators and damage our environment.
Our pollinators are important for our food supply so let’s be sure to protect them and only apply pesticides when it is necessary. When and if we do, use these plant protectors according to the label and handle them safely.