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ugs are a part of any gardener’s life, some are beneficial and welcome additions that help

develop a healthy garden ecosystem; others, well, we curse their very exis- tence. While pesticides and herbicides are a sure-fire way to kill those nasty creepy crawlies that are destroying your plants, they can also kill all of the good insects in your garden. To help keep you and your garden happy this spring, we thought we’d share some tips on how to control bugs naturally. Eye-spy

the bugs hanging around your garden. Are they alone? Did they start to invite friends? What do they look like? Are they beneficial or detrimental to your plants? Look up any unfamiliar char- acters online. The odd pest, depend- ing on who they are, provides food for other living things and can be fended off by a healthy garden. But if they start to multiply, or are just plain unwanted guests, you will need to step in and provide them with eviction notices. An ounce of prevention

Ensuring your plants are placed in

their ideal locations will help to reduce their stress and increase their resistance to disease and opportunistic insects. Plant them in their preferred climatic zones, favoured soil and appropriate exposure to sunlight. If you are having insect trouble with a specific plant, buy them as plants not seeds and they will have a better chance of surviving. Also, keep insect breeding grounds to a minimum by making sure your garden is clear of leaf litter and dying plants. Just squish ‘em

Sometimes the best way to rid your-

self of bad bugs is to just pick them off and squish them. This can be especially satisfying when the bugs you are kill- ing are lily leaf beetles. If you’re dealing with a bunch of these bad boys you may need to trim the plant and dispose of the whole leaf or branch. After remov- ing the infested part immerse it in soapy water or carefully stomp on all the bugs. If you do see a nest or gall of insects, remove and destroy it before they hatch. Gloves are recommended. Use plants as bouncers

tion that

Treat your garden like the VIP loca- it

is by providing security

and plant bouncers to keep unwanted guests out. Plants such as peppermint, spearmint and pennyroyal are incred-

28 • Early Spring 2015

Early spring insect control Repel insects with these pretty plants

Keep an eye on your plants. Notice

Dahlias. Basil - Oils from this plant repel

thrips, flies and mosquitoes. Borage - Great for the vegetable

garden it repels tomato hornworms, cabbage worms and attracts benefi- cial bees and wasps. Catnip - Keeps away flea beetles,

aphids, Japanese beetles, ants, weevils and squash bugs, unfortu- nately it may also start attracting four-legged furballs to roll around in your garden.

ibly effective in deterring ants and aphids while bringing their own charm to

their surroundings. Plant them

throughout your garden or in problem areas. Another option is to incorporate actual physical barriers. Covers, collars, tarps and tree banding are just some of the ways to prevent insect damage. They do detract from the look of the garden but they are highly effective. Good old-fashioned home remedies

Sometimes grandma and grandpa did

know best. Old standbys such as pour- ing cooled water that was previously boiled with cedar twigs over plants to deter cutworms, or placing a line of lime to deter snails, or cayenne pepper, to deter ants around your plants will create natural repellents for insects. Sprays and showers

While some pests such as aphids can

be controlled by blasting them with streams of cool water ever couple of

Marigolds. Dahlias - Great for repelling

nematodes. Garlic - Root maggots, snails,

Japanese beetles, aphids, and codling moths beware of this wonderful plant. Marigolds - Besides repelling

insects such as whiteflies and nema- todes they also deter rabbits and are not favoured by deer. Petunias - Repel aphids and several other garden pests.

days, other insects may require the use of insecticidal soaps or oils. Insecticidal soaps have low toxicity and therefore work only on soft-sided insects; the insects must also be sprayed directly in order for the sprays to kill them. Biological pest control items and natu- ral pesticides made from plants can also be used; these products emit fewer toxins than chemical pesticides and break down more quickly. Natural predators green

Ladybugs, lacewings and

praying mantis are popular predator insects. Larva can be purchased but it is better to lure them naturally by grow- ing plants such as echinacea purpurea, which attracts praying mantis, bees, parasitic wasps and birds; garlic chives attract beneficial insects and repel aphids; and goldenrod is a favourite of assassin bugs, bees, ladybugs, lace- wings, hoverflies, praying mantis and parasitic wasps. x

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