I was just wondering what kinds of garden pests everyone is getting and what you do about them. I mostly talk with WeeWren and my boyfriend about this. They each only live about 4 miles from me, and about 2 1/2 miles from each other. Yet each of them has some garden invaders that I don’t.
I am gardening in Lawndale, CA. As far as insects/bugs I get the common slugs and snails (but not so much as I used to), caterpillars from checkered white and skipper butterflies, green, grey and black aphids and (though I usually enjoy them) pill bugs eat my pansy petals :/ Also at some point in the last week something ate skin and holes into some of my tomatoes, there were no witnesses to the culprit and no other evidence >:( These past two weeks I have found teeny tiny brown round critters in my worm compost containers. I removed the bedding and food I found them on. They are like the size of a pinhead and I can’t get a good photo of them.
As to other animal pests the Felis catus occasionally causes some damage, napping on beautifully mounded lobelia for example, or hairballs hidden behind pots. She also attempts to fertilize the flower beds for us. So far the very few squirrels, raccoons and possums in my neighborhood and the birds have not discovered the fruit & veggie buffet in my backyard :)
Controls. I mostly hand-pick caterpillars from my veggies and re-locate them to ornamental plants in the front yard.
I squish the grey and green aphids with my fingers because they clump together and make it easy if the infestation isn’t too bad. If is a bad infestation I cut off the affected leaves and either bag them right away or toss them into a bucket of soapy water, this is also what I usually do for black aphids because they tend to be more spread out on leaves and stems. If they’re too many to squish, but on a growing tip I need then I spray a bit of soapy water on them and then spray rinse with water a bit later. I have also tried releasing ladybugs in my container garden, but so far that hasn’t seemed to have led to any self-sustaining population of them :/
I pick off slugs and snails and squish them immediately with the battle cry of “SmashySmashy”, kuddos to my bro for that one. If I find slugs while sifting the compost bin I toss them onto the roof above = sun-dried slug :) Some of the stands I have plants on have copper tape strips around the legs to keep new ones from climbing up. I tried spreading salt in the saucers under some pots to kill any hiding in drain holes that come out – don’t know if that’s actually worked yet. Oh, btw a random experiment proved that rubbing alcohol melts slugs faster than salt… that said I prefer SmashySmashy – it’s more merciful.
Pill bugs – I like them, always have. I sometimes see insecticides that list them as undesirable… but I appreciate them, they eat decaying plant matter (aka my compost…) and the only live plant they ever attack in my gardens are the pansy and viola flower petals. So this fall I will be growing those in containers with fresh potting soil with no pill bugs in it :)
Ah, my Felis catus. I have ceded the pot of lobelia to her, she naps there almost daily. The lobelia is still alive, though it has an 80’s flat top :9 And while she naps there she is not trampling any other potted plants. The only thing to do about the fertilizing is throw a chancla at her in the act and clean up before dad sees it! Now that her summer coat is thinned out the hairballs aren’t a problem anymore.
So what’s bugging you? :9
Argentine Ants, which are horrible. Extremely tough to kill.
We’ve tried everything on them, none of it worked. Finally we’ve decided our best pest control strategy at this point is to abandon this infested area and move someplace else which doesn’t have this type of ant.
Our Argentine ants are also 100% resistant to mint oil… they will farm mealybugs, thrips, scales, and aphids on my mint plants! And on just about every other plant I grow.
They laugh at diatomaceous earth and march right on through it undaunted. I believe even fire ants are easier to remove than these ants.
All the ant traps/baits we have tried- organic and otherwise, which are supposed 2 work by getting the ants to take poison to their nest- are also about 90+% ineffective on these ants.
Our ants have decided to largely avoid eating the bait in the ant traps, because the food they can easily farm in our garden (aphids, mildews, thrips, scales, etc) or gather up from furnishings and carpets (dust mites, tiny dogfood crumbs, etc) tastes much better than poisoned bait! They also avoid consuming anything dosed with Boric Acid.
For more info about me losing the war against them, see this entry-
In addition to the awful ants and the pest bugs (aphids, scales, mealybugs, thrips) the ants farm on our plants, we also have bird and caterpillar problems which usually balance each other out (birds eat seeds, tender young seedlings and some of my fruit but they also eat caterpillars), lizards and pest beetles which usually balance each other out (lizards eat my greens and flowers but they also eat various pest beetles).
Have broad mites and spider mites- and ladybugs which usually help balance the mites out.
We planted a nice big dill plant in early Spring and let it flower and go to seed specifically for the purpose of providing ladybug habitat- worked beautifully, resulting in a ladybug hatchery. Even after the dill plant died of old age because all its seeds were ripe, about half the newly hatched ladybugs decided to stay in my garden and keep on feasting. :)
Theres been visits from a human trespasser and an occasional furry- bunny or something?- both of whom have no predators around to keep them in check, so they steal produce. No Felis catus here since I have a 25 lb dog who loves to be in the garden, and cats steer clear of him. But he’s getting old, so he’s not so effective as he used to be at controlling furries and running off trespassers.
Bird netting and a freshwater birdbath for birds to drink out of really reduced bird damage. Furries stopped visiting when the human trespasser arrived- maybe its a transient who smells dangerous to the bunny. Or maybe if its a transient they caught and ATE the bunny, in which case good for them!
Had significant slug and snail problems during the rainy season. Hundreds of them, and several of them were several inches long.
But at least all the above pests were manageable or tolerable.
These totally unmanageable and intolerable Argentine ants definitely win the prize for nastiest pest, hands down!