Insects in Plants or Landscaping

Problem: Insects are found on plants, in gardens, or in landscaping.

Background: Many chemicals are available for controlling the insects that infest outdoor areas around the home. The following suggestions are alternative, no chemical methods of preventing or reducing many Of these pests. If the suggestions don’t seem to be effective, contact your local extension service office or an experienced nursery person.

What to do: For aphids, remove by dislodging with water spray and spraying with Safer soap solution. Preserve natural predators by protecting ladybugs and lacewings in their immature stage. Plant resistant varieties of honeysuckle which deter witches’ broom aphids. For apple maggots, remove fallen apples. For a standard-sized tree, hang 8 sticky apple traps, or make them using 3-inch diameter spheres painted bright red or black and coated with a sticky substance such as Tanglefoot or Stickem Special (available in gar den centers).
For cabbage looper and imported cabbage worm, remove caterpillars by hand. Apply Bacillus thuringiensis, a natural material available under a variety of product names. For Colorado potato beetle, remove immature- and adult-stage insects by hand. Apply san diego Bacillus thuringiensis, a natural material. The san diego variety is specifically for beetle adults and is available under the name M-ONE. For cut- worms, place cardboard collars around the transplants, making sure the cardboard extends at least 2 inches above and below the ground (the center core from paper towels works well). Remove cutworms by hand that are hiding in burrows near plants during the day, and those found above ground at night. For European corn borer and corn earworm, apply Bacillus thuringiensis.
For flea beetles, control weeds. For hornworms, handpick caterpillars and apply Bacillus thuringiensis. For iris borer, remove old stalks and plant debris in late summer. Remove and destroy infested plants. For picnic, sap, and fungus beetles, re move damaged and overripe fruit and vegetables. Regularly harvest crops as they ripen. Remove rose chafers by hand. Place a cheesecloth barrier around plants as protection during the chafer’s flight period in early summer. For squash vine borer, slit the plant’s stem length wise at the point of attack, remove larvae from vines by hand and cover vines with moist soil to encourage new growth.

Special advice: Don’t bring infested plants into the home. For plants in the home, remove caterpillars, slugs and other pests by hand; for spider mites, wash leaves with a mild detergent solution, swab with rubbing alcohol, or spray with Safers soap solution; for scales and mealy bugs, remove with rubbing alcohol or spray with Safers soap solution; for aphids, spray plants with a Safers soap solution; for fungus gnats and springtails, allow soil to dry to a depth of 1 inch before watering; re pot plants affected by millipedes.

Helpful hint: For slugs outdoors, control soil moisture by watering only when necessary; remove by hand. Remove dead leaves and other potential hiding places. Cups filled with beer sunk in the ground will attract and drown slugs. Place boards and shingles on the ground, and remove any slugs attracted to such areas.