It won’t be long before we’re out in our gardens prepping for spring planting. It’s easy to overlook the multitude of bugs that see your garden as an all-you-can-eat buffet until it’s too late. Don’t bend to the will of the bugs. Take your garden back by identifying and fighting the worst garden pests in Rochester, NY.

1. Aphids

These tiny pests are hard to spot without a magnifying glass, but the damage they cause is definitely visible to the naked eye. Almost any plant in your garden can be a meal to these pear-shaped insects so an ignored infestation could mean dire consequences for your garden. Aphids feed by sucking the sap from plants and leaving excrement which can cause mold.

How To Get Rid Of Them

Since they’re so tiny, you can easily blast aphids off plants by spraying water. However, this doesn’t prevent them from coming back. Try using natural repellents made with chili peppers, garlic, and dish soap. You can also release natural aphid predators (such as ladybugs) into your garden.

2. Japanese Beetles

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These shiny blue-green beetles are a scourge to gardens. If there’s enough of them, they can decimate the leaves of your plants leaving them skeletal and defoliated. You don’t need to be a horticulturist to know this is bad for your plants.

How To Get Rid Of Them

Japanese Beetles are active in the morning so shake them off. Be careful, these bugger’s legs are like velcro and can stick onto your clothes. You can also use row covers to protect your plants during the beetle’s 6-8 week feeding period.

3. Ants

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There’s nothing worse than ants in your plants! They’re probably the biggest nuisance to gardeners. Your garden could already contain thousands of colonies. They live underground and like to build their nests around the base of your plants so they can feed on the roots. They will also venture out and chew the stems and leaves off of immature plants. This kills the plant before it’s strong enough to withstand pests. If you’re planting from seeds, then you’re hand-delivering them a meal

How To Get Rid Of Them

The most common methods of getting rid of garden ants include:

  • Locate the entrances and pour boiling water down their tunnels
  • Add equal parts flour and borax to create a natural repellant on and around your plants.
  • Pour 1 liter of white vinegar directly into the nest. This will kill ants on contact but not harm plants.

4. Thrips

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Thrips move in large numbers like a herd of tiny cattle grazing on your garden. These garden pests have a particular taste for beans, carrots, onions, and many more including roses. They choose their targets by identifying light colored blossoms and then proceed to suck out the juices. These pests are also responsible for spreading viruses like tomato spotted wilt and necrotic spot virus.

How To Get Rid Of Them

Start by pulling weeds around your garden. Thrips move about by jumping or flying from one plant to another so by eliminating parameter weeds you can make your garden uninviting. Check all plants for thrip activity before you put them in the ground. You can also release beneficial insects to hunt and eliminate the pests.

Now that we’ve identified the worst garden pests in Rochester, NY, you should have an easier time getting rid of them. For help with pest control or to schedule lawn care service, check out our Rochester lawn care page to get in touch with a professional near you. 

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