How to deal with those pesky pests invading your garden

(Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images) (Sean Gallup, 2018 Getty Images)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – We’ve covered planting, watering and fertilizing your home garden. You’ve worked hard and might be seeing some blooms, possibly the fruits of your labor. Then BAM! Your prized tomato plant starts to wilt, droop or even die.

Armed with your magnifying glass, you become the garden sleuth as you search for the source of the problem. The rotting fruit and drooping blooms lead to a trail of bugs, a sign that pesky pests have invaded your garden and made themselves right at home in your domain.

So, what’s next? Is all your hard work wasted? Not so fast.

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Unless it’s a full infestation, there’s still time to save your plants and salvage that beautiful home garden. To help you deal with these bugs, I’m going to share some natural ways you can remove them or prevent them from getting into your plant beds to begin with.

I have used this method with great success on my sago palms. A steady stream of water with moderate pressure can help remove mites and scale insects. So if you’ve noticed a white or light brown chalky residue under the leaves of your palms, blast away. I use an adjustable water nozzle on my garden hose. Then I send these unwanted invaders packing. Continue to rinse the trunk until most of the residue is gone. Once the plant dries, I recommend using a round of neem oil.

Another suggestion? Add soap.

Water combined with a little bit of soap can go a long way when dealing with pests. Mix a teaspoon of mild liquid soap in with two pints of clean water. I’d recommend putting the mixture into a spray bottle and then using it to wash the leaves of any infested plants. It’s a good idea to test it on a leaf first to make sure your plant isn’t sensitive to the mixture. It might be worth checking out organic insecticidal soaps, which work as a natural insecticide for both indoor and outdoor plants.

You could also give them a rub. Let me explain: dab either a lint-free cloth or cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol to kill and remove these pests from your plants. If you’ve got a very leafy plant, this might take some time. That said, rubbing alcohol works nicely if you’re removing clusters of pests like aphids, scale or mealybugs.

I’d also recommend considering neem oil. This oil works as a natural pesticide for plants. It’s effective for controlling and eliminating common pests. It also has a residual effect, which will help to control regrowth.

Using the steps I’ve shared above, you too can control the bugs that might be trying to take a bite out of your garden.

About the Author:

The Morning Show forecaster, comic foil, culinary expert, home improvement expert and beer connoisseur.