Entomology – Pest Control

Not all insects are created equal. Did you know that ants farm aphids for their honeydew. Those sweet little lady bugs actually eat other insects. We need all insects to make our gardens beautiful and healthy, we shouldn't strive to eliminate them just learn how to control them. We need them for food for certain species who then in turn pollinate our plants. Usually sick plants are often attacked in the first place, so take extra care to make sure your plants get enough light and water, it's their source for healthy growth.

Learn how to control pests naturally using Mother Nature's own ingredients.

Mealybugs

Photo Credit: Xandert

Photo Credit: Xandert

* Special Note: They excrete honeydew that attract ants.

* Appearance: They are covered with white fuzz, Size is varying from 1/6 to 1/4 inch in length. There are two groups: long tailed & short tailed.

* Diet: They suck the juice out of plants, their main meal is African Violets, Gardenia, Coleus, Cactus, Begonia. They will attack other plant types as well.

* Feeding Places: Underside of leaves, leaf veins, leaf axils.

Short tailed: lays 300-600 eggs

* Long tailed: Gives birth to live young

* Control: Weekly spraying of water.

If you have a small amount: Dip a cotton swab in alcohol and wipe the insects off the plants.

* Heavy infestations: Dip entire plant in a solution of soapy water.

Spider Mites

Spider_Mite-Trancelius

Photo Credit: Trancelius

* Special Note: You can tell they are present by their tiny webs on the plants, it makes the plant look dusty. Mites cause leaves to yellow or bronze and fall off.

* Appearance: 1/60 inch long, has 8 legs and is barely visible to the eye. They can be red, green, yellow or black. Most common is red.

* Habits: They strive in warm sunny dry locations.

* Diet: They suck plant juices. Favorite meal: ivy, coffee plants.

* Reproduction: spreads quickly

* Control: keep leaves clean, rinse under the leaves as well. Wash plants regularly with a soapy water solution.

* Serious infestations: dip the plant in Malathion, if it is extremely infested discard plant.

Thrips

thrip-John_hill

Photo Credit: John Hill

* Special Note: Damage on plants looks like streaked areas with black dots of excrement.

* Appearance: Tiny, thin bodies

* Diet: They suck the juice out of plants, feeds on leaves and flowers.

Whiteflies

white-fly

* Special Note: They excrete honeydew which attracts ants.

* Appearance: Looks like miniature moths

* Habits: the nymphs group together on the underside of the leaves.

* Diet: they suck plant juices, main meals are: fushia, Nicotiana and Lantana.

* Reproduction: Multiplies very quickly

* Control: If your soil is deficient in phosphorus or magnesium chances are high you will get whiteflies. An organic way to rid of them is to paint tanglefoot on pieces of cardboard and hang around the house or use a Rotenone spray (repeat weekly until insects are removed.)

Author:

Pioneerthinking.com - Ingredients for a Simple Life

Photo Credit: Jeltovski

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