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Posts Tagged ‘Insect’

Managing Voles and Other Garden Pests

Thursday, July 1st, 2010
Insect

Image by always13 via Flickr

In fact insects are the pests most people link with gardens, but voles and other animals can as well do considerable damage to plants, flowers and crops. Animal garden pests can be even harder to control than insects. Even though they may learn their lesson when stopped by electric fencing, these intelligent animals can try other ways to get into a garden or even discover a varyent plant to feast upon. Gardeners need to know what type of pest is disturbing their gardens before they can effectively solve the predicament.

Voles as Garden Pests

Voles are small rodents that resemble pocket gophers. These moutilize-like creatures have a heavy, compact body, a short furry tail, short legs, small eyes and ears that are partially hidden. Their coarse long fur is blackish-brown or gray. A full-grown vole preparations 5 to 8 inches long, which contains the tail, notes the University of California.

Even though voles can breed at any time of the year, they mostly breed in spring. Voles are butionally productive, as they can have as many as five to ten litters each year. A litter size can range from three to six baby voles. Moles rarely live past 12 months old.

Voles are active throughout the year, during both day and nighttime hours. They’re typically found where there is thick vegetation. These pests dig shallow, short burrows, making underground nests of stems, grass and leaves. In winter voles can burrow through snow. Limiting the amount of litter lying on the ground of a vegetable garden can help reduce or get rid of a vole predicament.

Mammal Garden Pests

Even though many categories of mammals can cautilize damage to garden plants, some are more prominent than others.

  • Chipmunks are known for invading gardens. They’re rodents living on burrows or tunnels that eat nuts, fruits, seeds and bulbs.
  • Tree squirrels are pests that can be trapped in cages, with lures of peanut butter, sunflower seeds or raisins, and then be released.
  • Rabbits live in thick grassy areas that feed on flowers, vegetables and tree bark.
  • Groundhogs or woodchucks are rodents that feed on tender flowers, vegetables and flowers during timely morning and late afternoon, notes the University of Vermont.
  • Deer are mostly found in wooded areas, thickets and tall grass that mostly eat plants and bark of woody plants.

‘Even though garden pests can cautilize many predicaments to plants, they can be managed. For example, poison bait is frequently utilized to kill rodents such as voles and mice. However, pet owners should comprehend that poison baits can as well attract pets and other animals, so these baits shouldn’t be placed where they can be found by pets. as well, caution should be utilized when trapping large animals to avoid being bitten becautilize many garden pests are carriers of rabies and other communicable ailment. By exercising ordinary sense and managing pest control, gardeners can enjoy their gardens without worrying about losing their flowers and vegetables.

Resources

University of California: Pests in Gardens and Landscapes (date accessed 6/15/2010).

University of Vermont: Controlling Animal Pests in the Garden (date accessed 6/15/2010).

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Organic Grasshopper Control for the Garden

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010
National animals

Image via Wikipedia

Wherever there is a lot of grass and weeds, there are most likely grasshoppers hiding. There are hundreds of varieties of grasshoppers that can be found in North American and several of them will do damage to gardens. It’s illogical for a gardener to go around hand-picking them and it’s not wise to utilize chemicals around the garden, so what can a gardener do for grasshopper control that will not ruin his garden?

Using Birds and Predators for Grasshopper Control

Grasshoppers hatch in spring from eggs that have been hidden in the soil. The baby grasshoppers will hide out in areas that are thick with vegetation. Most of the bugs will be eaten by spiders, frogs, beetles and other larger predators that live in the same vegetation. Maintaining dense mixed herbs, grasses and flowers near the garden can serve as traps for baby grasshoppers so that they never develop into full-blown garden pests.

Gardeners can as well control grasshoppers in the garden by providing perching structures near the garden for insect-eating birds. Insect-eating birds are one the biggest predators that these bugs have. Most of these birds like to hunt their prey by watching for any movements from high on top of on perches. Encourage these birds to eat the grasshoppers in the garden by supplying them with upright structures such as trellises and posts near the garden.

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Plant organic Barriers of the Bugs

There are certain plants that grasshoppers just don’t like. One of those plants include the herb cilantro. Planting this herb in the garden can help keep these bugs completely away from the entire area of the garden. Depending on the size of the garden, one to three plants of cilantro should be sufficient for grasshopper control.

Other plants that are known to be organic barriers include the herbs horehound and calendula. These herbs may be a little harder to discover and grow depending on the region. as well, these insects don’t like pea plants becautilize of the nitrogen, so peas can as well be planted in a garden to help keep the pests away

Grow Tall Grass Away from the Garden

Grasshoppers would rather live in a patch of tall grass and weeds than in a clean garden. By allowing a patch of tall grass or weeds to grow in an area away from the garden, people can practice organic grasshopper control in the real garden. If the garden is kept weeded and clean, like it should be, the bugs will organicly drift toward the patches of tall grass that are set up away from the garden, thus leaving the vegetables and fruits alone.

Row Covers Work Great for Grasshopper Control

One of the best ways to protect plants from these insects it to cover them with an obstacle such as a row cover or a lightweight fabric cloth. The covers should be held on top of the plants with posts or wooden stakes since the bugs are more likely to eat the plants if they can get the leaves that are pushing against the covers.

In some areas where grasshoppers are a real predicament for gardeners, aluminum screening cones are made to keep the plants protected. This may be a drastic measure for some people but in states like Texas, where the bug infestations can ruin whole crops, it may be necessary.

Instead of using harmful pesticides and chemicals, these are effective options that people have for organic grasshopper control in the garden. Gardeners can employ, one, two or even all three of these techniques to make sure their plants stay protected from hungry

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Danger of Sow Bug Pests in Garden

Monday, June 14th, 2010
Sow bug (Oniscus asellus)

Image by Eco Heathen via Flickr

Sow bugs and pill bugs are curious little creatures of the garden. children call them roly-polys and like to poke the pill bugs so that they roll up into tight little balls. Most people discover sow and pill bugs to be harmless. This is true when they are few in numbers, but sometimes they over breed and become true garden pests.

Sow and pill bugs are closely related and at first glance look pretty much the same. The way to tell them apart is that pill bugs can roll up fully into a ball. Sow bugs do not roll up as tightly. The bugs have tight segmented shells and multiple legs that can be seen scurrying along. Both kinds are true crustaceans, related to shrimps. Sow and pill bugs, though they need constant moisture, live solely on land.

Sow Bugs and Garden Mulch

The vegetable garden is probably not the origin of a sow bug infestation. It’s more likely that garden mulch is the bigger nursery. The bugs thrive in old dead leaves and tend to live under garden mulch. Within the mulch, sow bugs eat dead, dying, or decayed vegetation. They need the moisture that the mulch holds.

A vegetable garden may attract sow bugs, especially if it is mulched. The sow bugs like the moist garden surroundings. Let’s face it, insects eat their share of the bounty of gardens. There are some people who feel that sow bugs are not the culprits that really do the damage. They claim that other insects nibble the leaves and sow bugs move in later to clean up. This is not always the case in a vegetable garden.

Damage to the Vegetable Garden

Sow bugs typically eat only dead materials, it’s true. But sometimes they will as well eat tender young shoots. This becomes a predicament in the timely plantings, especially of beans, where the sow bugs crawl into the gap in soil as the sprout emerges and eat the first leaves before they push out. This damages the new sprout so that can never recover. Loss of the first few leaves effectively kills the plant. Here are some plants known to be damaged by sow bugs:

  • lettuce
  • radish and beets
  • green beans
  • starwberries

In the vegetable garden, timely spring crops such as lettuce and radishes are the first targets. Sow bugs are quite frequently found among tender lettuce leaves. They thrive in the shady moist surroundings. A radish patch as well makes a welcoming hang out for sow bugs. The bugs crawl up the leaves and make little round nibbles into the top of the radishes just below the soil line. They are as well known to take a bite or two out of ripening strawberries.

Controlling the Garden Pests

Sow bugs tend to eat only the soft tender parts of plants and generally leave established plants alone. Later in the growing season, sow bugs are not the ones that are eating the plants. Snails, slugs, beetles, and many other insects share in the feast of the garden. Vegetable gardeners can control the sow and pill bugs with organic diatomaceous earth. By keeping their numbers low, sow bugs will not create much damage. The secret is in comprehending these roly-polys and maintaining garden pest control.

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