The three most dangerous and common indoor garden pests
One of the most frustrating and prevalent problems that face those who grow both indoors and outdoors is having your plants infested by pests. This is true even for those who may have taken earlier precautions in order to guard against them. In any case, those who remain diligent when observing and caring for their crop will have the advantage when dealing with this issue. Here are some ways that you can use to combat this potentially devastating situation.
Spider Mite Infestation
Spider mites may be identified by the fact that they have a characteristic appearance. They are small oval insects that possess six legs. You will also know that they have infested your crop by the fact that they tend to nibble away at the leaves, consuming their chlorophyll. Since chlorophyll gives the leaves their green color, the consuming of that substance will leave small white dots on the leaves. In order to protect their new progeny, they cover them with web material. This shows up as silky strings on your crop’s buds and leaves.
Of course, your plants need their chlorophyll in order to survive and grow. Therefore, having a significant number of spider mites, eating your plant’s chlorophyll, will serious damage the plants. It can even eventually kill your plants. In addition, if you are growing plants in which the leaves are to be used, the sticky webs will render the crop difficult to clean.
The best way to deal with spider mites depends on the way your garden is set up. If you are gardening in an indoor, closed environment, then you’re in luck. In that type of scenario, it’s best to avoid an infestation altogether. This is accomplished by maintaining strict sanitary conditions in the area where you’re growing.
This also means that you will want to use soil that has been obtained from a company that ensures sanitation. Ensuring that your air supply is filtered properly and that your growing equipment is sanitary is also a must. You will also want to wear surgical gloves or at least wash your hands thoroughly prior to touching your plants. You will also want to wear clean clothes and footwear before entering the growing area. And, of course, never allow any pets to enter the growing area, as well. For outdoor gardens, there are a number of pesticides that you can use. You can find them online or consult your local gardening supply store.
With a current infestation, you can try a high-powered spray of water. But you will want to avoid doing this when the plants are flowering. You can also use neem oil. This can be used as a pesticide that is organic and has been certified as safe to use on flowering plants and vegetables. The one thing to remember is that any process that you use in order to clean up an infestation must be done again over the next several days. This is because you will want to get rid of both the pests and their eggs.
You can identify aphids by noting their yellow color and wings. They are tiny insects that prefer to inhabit the leaves of your plants. Unfortunately, they tend to reproduce quickly – as often as 12 times in one day! This means that time is of the essence when it comes to dealing with these pests. The infestation can also be identified by noting wilted and yellowed leaves that occur due to the consumption of plant nutrients.
Aphids can present another problem, since their waste products tend to attract ants, as well. So now you have two infestations to worry about! They can also be the culprits that infect your crop with additional viruses from other plants, which can slow growth and hinder plant flower production.
If you are growing outdoors, it’s possible that a potential aphid infestation can be hindered by wasps, ladybugs and other beneficial insects. However, for both indoor and outdoor gardens, you can employ a solution of tomato lead and garlic water. In order to create the solution, you can soak the garlic and tomato leaves in water. Wait 24 hours and then strain. You should check your solution by applying some on a plant’s leaf. If the leaf should happen to turn yellow, the solution is too strong. Dilute it and try again.
Fungus Gnat Infestation
You can identify fungus gnats by the fact that they are small black insects that inhabit the lower portion of plants as well as the soil. When we say “small”, we’re talking 3-5 millimeters in length. Their larva possesses transparent bodies and black heads. They like to reproduce just above the garden’s moist soil and can also be identified in your run-off water.
These pests won’t consume your plant’s flowers or leaves. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons why adult gnats don’t live long is that, like Mayflies, they don’t take in any nourishment at all. However, these guys can cause damage to your plant’s roots, not to mention reducing your soil’s drainage. When this happens, your plants can become weaker. That will leave them more susceptible to other types of infestations and other problematic issues.
It’s important to know that fungus gnats require soil that is moist in order to reproduce. You can deal with this issue by ensuring that the top layer of your soil is as dry as possible. In addition, you can place a cloth around the plant’s base. This will keep the female fungus gnats from layering their eggs. For indoor gardening always make sure to maintain sanitary conditions, as well.
There are commercial solutions that can be purchased in order to deal with a current infestation. There are also homemade organic solutions that you can also prepare. You might want to check that out online, as well.
These are some suggestions regarding some of the more common insect infestations and how to identify them and deal with them. There is more information to be found online. It’s recommended that you contact experienced growers.