How To Control Pests – Part II

This post is the second in a series of posts on the control of pests.

The second question a gardener has to ask when seeing pests or pest damage in the garden is: “Are the pests still actively damaging the plants or have they long since left or matured?”

Many pests have a brief lifespan. They do their damage and in a few weeks of damage their eating-part of their life cycle is finished. In that brief period when they are eating the plants they may do what seems like a lot of damage because they eat a large number of plants including flowers and herbs. Their damage is ugly. Then when the move on to another phase of their life cycle, they might not need to feed on the plant leaves or stems.

This spring the the four-lined plant bug did a job on my mint and my Russian sage. Almost all the leaves were eaten and affected. But I knew that when it was time for the flowers to emerge, they would not be eating and the flowers would look fine. My flowers and plants recovered. But I am not a farmer, so I can be tolerant. And in my garden the plants they ate were mostly weeds, so I did not have to be concerned.

Get to know the insects in your garden. By knowing about the the four-lined plant bug, I knew that in my garden I did not have to do anything drastic like use any strong pesticides (see here).

If you want to ID the insect and learn about it but cannot find the information online, take the insect in a closed jar to your local Master Gardener office or agriculture extension office. Do NOT squish the insect. To kill it put the closed jar into your freezer overnight.

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