Let’s face it, there’s nothing better than spending long, warm, summer days relaxing in your garden, especially if you’ve spent the majority of spring digging, planting and maintaining your beloved backyard.
But, there is something, or someone lurking in the corners ready to spoil your enjoyment… garden pests!
What are garden pests?
Garden pests refer to any insect or animal in a garden which could cause damage to both your property and, in some cases, your health.
Garden pest damage
Garden pests are known for causing damages to:
- Grass and lawns
- Fruits and Vegetables
- Garden Furniture
The destructive nature of some garden pests leaves your backyard vulnerable to attack. The type of damage inflicted depends on the pest in question, and can range anywhere from eating plants to destroying garden furniture to build nests and harborage sites.
Garden pest health risks
Some garden pests can have the potential to cause a threat to your health due to their stings and bites. This can be particularly worrying if you suffer from allergic reactions to insect stings and bites, plus they can be incredibly itchy!
Although they don’t bite or sting, other garden pests are known for spreading diseases such as salmonella through their urine and feces, affecting areas of your garden which you could come in contact with.
Types of garden pests
There is a range of different species of animals and insects which can invade your garden. They come in all shapes and sizes and each bring their own unique form of risk to your backyard.
Common garden pests
- Cause damage to plants by consuming leaves.
- Spread plant diseases.
- Secrete large amounts of honeydew, which attracts other garden pests.
- More of a nuisance than a pest.
- Different species can have different effects on your garden. Fire ants can cause a nasty sting while carpenter ants can damage wooden structures.
- Can also be responsible for attacking fruit plants to fulfill their sweet tooth craving.
- In some cases they have been known to protect aphids from predators in order to ensure a constant supply of honeydew
- Feed on organic matter made from cellulose
- Will consume wood in the form of trees, mulch, wooden fences and gates, sheds, tree stumps, and decking.
- Can use your garden as a stepping stone to your home
- Use specific areas to feed and breed
- Can spread diseases such as salmonella if they come into contact with human food
- Some species can cause painful bites
- Use standing water, often found in buckets and ponds, to breed
- Bite humans
- Spread diseases such as Malaria and Zika virus
- Build nests underground, in sheds, on trees, and the underside of decking
- Sting if they feel threatened or if you are too close to their nest
- Attracted to flowers and fruit
Slugs and snails
- Most common garden pest
- Thrive in damp conditions
- Feed on a large range of living and decaying plants
- Consume fruits, vegetables and seeds
- Gnaw on garden furniture and the wires to outside lights
- Can damage the lawn by building underground tunnels
- Beneficial garden insects
Beneficial garden insects
Not all insects in your garden are harmful. Some garden insects are actually beneficial. Their impact on your garden can range from being natural predators to garden pests to helping with pollination.
Beneficial insects for gardens
You can attract beneficial garden insects to your backyard by manually introducing them, or by planting specific plants which attract said insects.
How to get rid of garden pests
Insect repelling plants
Companion planting can help keep garden pests away by using plants which are known to repel certain species of insects and rodents.
Plants that repel insects:
There is a range of options to help control pests in your garden. This includes natural garden pest control options, prevention tips and enlisting the help of a pest control professional.
Garden pest prevention
To help get rid of pests in your garden there are a few prevention methods you can try to reduce the appeal of your backyard.
Maintain soil health
Ensuring that all vegetation is watered properly and using organic fertilizers will help keep them, and the soil strong and healthy, helping them to withstand pest damage. Removing weak and damaged plants can also assist in your efforts to maintain healthy soil.
Clear garden of debris
Removing old tree stumps and fallen branches can make your garden less appealing to garden pests. Removing old and rotting fruit and vegetables will limit potential food sources as well as limiting the spread of fungal diseases.
Using barriers made from copper and certain fabrics can be good alternatives to pesticides in some circumstances. Different barriers can be used for different garden pests, by helping to protect plants from pest damage.
Repairing any damages to your shed and greenhouse will help keep pests away from stored items such as seeds as well as plants and flowers.
Regularly inspecting these areas of your garden will help ensure a quick, reactive response to garden pest infestation. Using expanding foam, wire mesh and a door bristle will help keep pests out of your shed or greenhouse.
Store compost in a secure location and ensure it is sealed in a container with a tight lid to help prevent garden pests. Compost can often provide pests with a great place for harborage. Remove easy access to compost to keep certain garden pests away.
Remove standing water
Standing water in buckets, trays and flower pots provide biting insects such as mosquitoes with the perfect nesting environment. Water in birdbaths and pet water bowls should also be changed regularly. Removing this element from your garden can help with your prevention efforts.
Make sure ponds have a sufficient filtering system, or an agitator, and regularly inspect for mosquito eggs to help control their number.
Ensuring garbage cans aren’t overflowing with garbage as well as secured with a tight lid will help eliminate potential food sources for many garden pests. This will help make your garden less appealing, as well as reducing the possibility of obtaining a pest problem in your home.
With these tips and suggestions, it’s quite likely that you will be able to enjoy your garden pest-free this summer. If, however, for any reason you find yourself with a pest issue that you cannot fix, be sure to call in the local pest control experts at Western Exterminator.