A garden may provide both food and flowers, and for many is also a source of relaxation. Much of the time things go well and plants grow without too many problems, but sometimes there is an invasion of garden pests that can damage or destroy whatever is growing. There are several different methods of getting rid of these garden pests. The method chosen depends largely on the gardener’s personal preferences, but the particular type of invader also impacts the choice of the control method. In general the garden can be sprayed with pesticide or organic controls can be used.
Frequently, the best control of garden pests is achieved by spraying the garden with a pesticide that targets a wide range of pest types. Certain kinds of caterpillars and beetles must be sprayed while the plants are immature or they may be impossible to control later. This is especially true for species that burrow into fruit, such as the tomato pinworm, since once they are inside it is much harder to kill them.
For those that prefer not to use any type of chemical pesticide sprays, there are other ways to get rid of garden pests. Insecticidal soap is usually a safe, relatively harmless way of killing or repelling bugs such as aphids and others that live on the leaves. A disadvantage of this type of treatment is that it needs to be reapplied frequently since it doesn’t last once the leaves have been sprinkled with water or rained on.
Larger insects, such as tomato hornworms, are best controlled by being plucked from the plants in the early morning and dropped into a bucket of soapy water to drown. If not eradicated these worms can devastate a tomato plant in just a few days, eating the leaves until the plant dies. Other large caterpillars can be controlled in a similar fashion, requiring time but no poisons for control.
Biological controls are typically an excellent way to get rid of garden pests without the need to use chemicals. This method involves releasing insects that are the natural enemies of the harmful species into the garden. These insects are typically either predatory or parasitic in nature, and will work to control the pest types by preying on them in some fashion. A garden plagued with aphids, for example, can benefit by the addition of ladybugs, since their natural food is aphids. By releasing a large number of the predators, the prey species are generally brought under control.