If you’ve got even a slight green thumb you’ll know the joy of growing something in your garden. It doesn’t matter if you have a lovely lush garden full of blooming flowers or a small collection of potted plants, like succulents in pots on your patio, they can be a real joy.
But it’s the natural predators that come in to enjoy your plants too that can be quite frustrating.
Here’s some of the worst offenders.
Mealy bugs: These tiny white soft-bodied wingless insects stick to plants and start feeding off them. They are often found on the underside of leaves, and can look powdery. High numbers of them on your plants will lead to leaf yellowing and weakening. They love warm environments so are often found in greenhouses, warm climates and on indoor plants.
Aphids: These are often referred to as plant lice. They are small, soft bodied sap sucking insects that can be in a variety of colours, from green, yellow, brown, red or black, Some of them have wings, but they all have antennae. that will stunt the growth of the plant.
Scale – #scalebugs go through a few stages of life, during most of which they’re too small to spot easily. You’re more likely to know you have an infestation when you see white to yellow blotches on the tops of #foliage. The #bugs themselves are most visible in their late life stage. Larger #scales are tiny, brown and shaped like an oyster shell. The #scaleinsects may also appear like clusters of rice on #plant #leaves.
Scale: These are black or brown sucking insects that gather on leaves and stems. It may look like there are clumps of rice on your plants. There can build up rapidly and will stunt the growth of the plant.
Ants: Ants are often not far behind mealybugs, aphids or scale, because of the honeydew both the critters produce. While ants can been good for your garden, they also protect those bad critters we don’t want.
Fungus gnats: These small, black or dark coloured flying creatures will feed off rich, damp compost in your pot plants. If you are digging near the base of plants and you see a heap of flying gnats, you will know you’ve got a problem. They are attracted to damp soil.
If you’ve discovered any of these in your garden here’s a few remedies to try.
First mix a tablespoon of liquid soap with two cups of warm water. Put the mix in a spray bottle and spray onto plants. It’s great for getting rid of tough mealy bugs as the solution will penetrate their waxy layer and kill them. It will also dehydrate aphids and scale. Aim for a mild soap to prevent harm to your plants. Once the spray has dried, spray the plants with water.
Try placing small slivers of garlic into the soil of any plant showing signs of aphid, scale or mealy bugs. The smell will actually keep most bugs away.
Cinnamon is known to have anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and drying properties, so it’s also great for the garden. It will prevent fungus that attracts fungus gnats, for starters. If you’ve got scale, aphids or mealy bugs you can create a mix of cinnamon and water and spray over the plants. As a bonus, ants hate the smell of cinnamon and will avoid locations where it is, so sprinkle some cinnamon powder, or even place some cinnamon sticks in problem areas.
Isopropyl alcohol, wiped on to affected areas with a q-tip (cotton bud) are a great solution to getting rid of aphids, scale or mealy bugs. The alcohol will kill them, then all you need is a soft cloth to wipe any extras away.