Thursday, 25 April 2013 18:02

Bug Watch

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Sooner than you think, gardens will be in full bloom and gardeners should be on the BUG WATCH.  These tiny pests can wreak havoc on your tenderly cared for plantings. 

Some of the common ones include :

Cabbage Looper:

Gardeners should be on the look out for cabbage loopers in their cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and flowering cabbage plants.  They appear first as flying white moths, then hatch to small, light green worms to do their work. Loopers can reach 1 and 1/2 inches in length and have 3 pairs of legs near the head and 3 pairs of larger legs at the rear.  The middle section is legless and is looped when the insect is on the move. Worms feed on the undersides of leaves between the veins and leave ragged holes. Those looking for a chemical solution should spray with insecticide such as Sevin, available at the Market.  It's important to thoroughly cover the underside of the leaves as this is where the loopers feed.


Battle lines are being drawn and gardeners are anxious for a solution.  We suggest you add 2 ml of dish liquid to 1 litre of water and spray your plants and other damp places under pots and rocks. It's best to spray at dusk on mild evenings when earwigs are active.  Another idea you might try is rolling up a newspaper, dampen it, add some wheat bran, and place it where you know earwigs are active.  In the morning dunk it in a bucket of hot, soapy water. For those gardeners with heavy infestations who want to try other means, we have Earwig Bait at the Market. 

Rose Chafers:

Gardeners should be on the look out for rose chafers in their roses.  These tiny beetles feed on roses as well as many other flowering plants.  Leaves are often left looking like skeletons with only veins and small amounts of tissue left behind.  There are several lines of defense against rose chafers. Organic ideas include covering your plants with insect barrier netting such as cheesecloth. Those looking for a chemical solution should spray with insecticide such as Sevin, available at the Market.  It  should be repeated every 3 to 4 days.

Earth Fleas:

Earth fleas, showing up on vegetable transplants.  If  you notice tiny little holes in the leaves of your newly planted transplants, it's most likely earth fleas.  Stop in to the Market for Rotenone, an organic dust that can be applied right up until the time the vegetables are eaten.


Aphids appear in mid June-the first sign is curled up leaves.  Check the tender growing tips and unroll the leaf, the aphids are lurking inside.   Try washing them off with the garden hose.  For heavy infestations you can try organic or chemical means. We offer three different products at the Market. We suggest you get out early with insecticidal soap and siffocate the aphids, You may have to be diligent and do this every couple of days.  The aphids come to suck the juice and they can be lime green, black or brown.

Green Earth Insecticidal Soap should be applied every 3 days. Ppremixed and ready to spray, it comes in a 500 ml bottle. 

Safer's Insecticidal Soap is a concentrate that you mix with water---available in the 250 ml bottle. 

Green Earth's Rotenone Insect Dust is a low toxicity insecticide for use on vegetables up to the day before harvest, available in the 250 ml size. 


Here are several non chemical suggestions for ant control. One suggestion is to mix icing sugar and powdered Borax  (available in laundry section of supermarkets) half and half.  Place in a small container (like a jar lid) in the area where ants are active (be careful pets don't have access to it). The icing sugar attracts the ants and the Borax kills them. Try scattering freshly cut citrus peels where ants tend to enter the house or garden areas. Try pouring boiling hot water on the ant nest. For chemical control try spraying with Sevin--available at the Market.


Slugs-those pests that love to slither around in the night,leaving a slimy trail of destruction are on the prowl now.  Heavier than normal spring rains have multiplied their population. For chemical control, we have Slug and Snail Pellets at the Market.  Here's a popular trick-fill a container with beer, soda pop, fruit juice or plain sugar water and place it in the garden overnight.  The slugs and snails will crawl in and drown.Remember to empty and refill the containers regularly and after each rain.  Gardeners with the stomach for it find picking snails off the ground a great defense-try it if you dare!

Remember natural predators provide great control of pests.  Ladybugs  love to munch on aphids---treat every ladybug in your garden with TLC.  Don't  forget snakes, frogs, toads and bats do their part to control the bug population too.

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