Are you planning on getting out in the garden this weekend? It looks like it should be a great time for some lawn and garden work. However, when you get out there, you might notice a few things you’re not so excited about—pests. April is National Lawn and Garden Month and we wanted to give you some our best lawn and garden pest prevention tips. We know how hard you work to keep your grass green and your flowers blooming all spring and summer long and we don’t want a few pests to run that! Here are some tips to prevent damage from pests without killing your plants or hurting beneficial insects.
Moles are one of the most difficult and annoying pests for homeowners, especially if you put a lot of work into your lawn and landscaping. We understand how frustrating it can be to spend months working on your lawn to get it in tip-top shape for spring and summer only to have it ripped-up by a rodent. While moles are carnivores who are more interested in eating insects than your flowers or vegetables, their tunnels can kill grass and plants and create easy pathways for other destructive insects to find their way to your plants. You’ll recognize if you have moles on your property by their distinctive tunnels, which look like raised pathways underground with entry and exit mounds at either ends.
Moles are most active in the mornings and evenings and tend to come out of their tunnels after it rains. There are a few DIY methods you can take to try and discourage moles, like spraying their tunnels with a mixture of castor oil, dish detergent and water or sprinkling red pepper flakes around their tunnel entrances, however these have mixed results. The only surefire way permanently eliminate moles from your property is to call in the pest professionals at Arrow Exterminators. We have over 60 years of experience safely and effectively eliminating moles from all kinds of Oklahoma properties.
Snails and Slugs
If you’re a vegetable gardener, you know how much damage these two little pests can do. They are particularly fond of young, tender plants and shoots and you can tell if slugs or snails have been feeding on your plants by the irregularly shaped holes and slime trails they leave behind. They can be difficult to deter as they are most active late at night and during wet weather—times when gardeners are usually not outside. They are also active breeders, laying up to 500 eggs a year. So just because you get rid of one slug or snail that you see, doesn’t mean there aren’t more waiting to come eat your garden when you aren’t looking.
Luckily, there are a variety of environmentally safe ways to protect your garden against these pests. Dig shallow ditches in the soil near plants that snails and slugs favor and put a container filled with beer in the ditch (any cheap beer with do). They will be attracted to the yeast in the beer and will fall into the container and drown. You can also place iron phosphate baits around your garden. These are lethal to both slugs and snails but will not harm any plants or be damaging to the soil.
Protecting Your Plants and Beneficial Insects
It is good to get rid of harmful pests in the garden, but you want to make sure that you always do so in a way that doesn’t harm your lawn, flowers or other plants and that encourages beneficial insects to stay in your garden as well. Here are a few tips:
- Water early in the day as wet leaves encourage insect habitation and fungal decay.
- Remove weeds and garden debris that provide nesting places for insects and other pests.
- When planting, intermix your plants (especially vegetables) and rotate which part of the garden you plant them in each year. Many pests are plant-specific.
- Encourage beneficial, predatory insects like lacewings, ladybugs, praying mantises and Ichneumon wasps. If these don’t occur naturally in your garden, you can order them online from gardening supply stores to release in your garden and eat bad bugs.
- If possible, try to use only non-toxic pest repellants that will target pests while leaving beneficial insects like bees and butterflies alone.
While most of these pests are happy to stay outside in your lawn and garden, every once in a while they will make their way indoors. If you need any help keeping any of these garden pests—or any others—out of your home, or have any further questions about how you can eliminate harmful garden pests without destroying your lawn or eliminating good bugs, like bees and butterflies, contact the experts at Arrow Exterminators right away. We have trained pest control experts waiting to help you answer any pest control question that comes your way! You can also find us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ for more pest prevention tips and tricks.