Just as your garden is boasting a fresh array of leafy vegetables and shiny red tomatoes, you notice black spots on the leaves. Or maybe your leaves start resembling green Swiss cheese, with holes on every surface. Garden pests are no joke! And we’re willing to bet they’re every gardener’s worst nightmare. Some pests can take a beautiful, lush garden, and turn it into a messy, rotten mess.
Before your seeds even go into the ground, you should have a pest control management plan set in place. While it’s a little late in the growing season to develop a proactive plan, you can follow these steps to control the pests in your garden this summer.
Common Garden Pests
If you want to successfully ward off pests from your garden, you should know which common garden pests to look out for. Here are two pests you might find in your garden:
Stink bugs. Everybody can recognize a stink bug. They’re large, oval-shaped insects that closely resemble shields. Adult stink bugs can reach almost 2 cm in length. Stink bugs like to eat peas, tomatoes, beans, sweet corn and peppers. They’ll rarely feed on squash and melons.
There can be several generations of stink bugs each year, so their populations only increase throughout the summer––the highest numbers occurring in the late summer months.
To remove stink bugs, netting may be used for crops like tomatoes and peppers that are very susceptible. You’ll want to make sure you get these in place before the plant starts fruiting, and make sure it’s sealed all around so that bugs cannot get in.
Insecticides are the best control method for stink bugs. Since stink bugs thrive in multiple generations, you’ll likely have to treat them multiple times. We recommend chemical products that contain bifenthrin or permethrin.
Corn earworms. The corn earworm, also known as the tomato fruit worm or cotton bollworm, is a pest of corn, tomato, cotton, beans, alfalfa, and tobacco. Their worm bodies vary considerably in color from light green to brown, pink, maroon, or nearly black, with light and dark stripes running lengthwise on the body.
Corn is the preferred and fitting food choice for corn earworms, tomatoes are also a favorite. Corn earworms also feed on other crops including peas, peppers, spinach, squash, watermelon and okra.
Products containing Bacillus thuringiensis are effective on small caterpillars. It is important to scout for this pest because once the caterpillars get bigger, they feed more and become harder to kill with chemical control.
Protect Your Tomatoes
If a Southerner’s garden was a gem mine, tomatoes would be the rubies. We love our tomatoes––juicy and plump––ready to eat fresh off the vine, fried, or slapped between mayo on a white bread sandwich (sprinkled with salt, of course).
The brown marmorated stink bugs and corn earworms are the pests most likely to cause damage to your tomato plants. Most of the damage caused by the stink bugs will be cosmetic, so the tomato is still consumable. Once flowering begins, check tomato plants regularly for corn earworm eggs. You can spray Bt to kill the eggs and larvae, as well as full-grown adults.
We Can Help Protect Your Garden
As pest control experts, we understand the time and commitment you’ve put into your garden, only to see insects of various kinds destroy all of your hard work. Don’t put up with ruined garden produce! Instead, call Vulcan Termite & Pest Control. We’ll handle the pests for you––all year long.