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Bugs Also Love The Summer

As quickly as this summer is going by, we’re not quite done with it yet. That means that we’re not done with bugs either, especially in the garden. Some of those little guys are very beneficial to your gardening efforts, and should be encouraged to remain there. Others can do a great deal of damage to your plantings, spread disease, and use your garden as a staging ground for next year’s crop of pests. The good news is that homeowners have a range of options for evicting undesirable bug tenants. These range from “green” insecticides to using the services of a Boulder landscaping contractor. But first, one must know the enemy.

Cutworms

Technically, a cutworm is no worm. It’s the caterpillar of a moth known as a large yellow underwing (Noctua pronuba). Most gardeners don’t notice cutworm trouble until it’s already happened. This is due to the cutworm’s habit of burrowing under dirt and leaf litter during the day, and emerging to feed at night. Cutworms usually attack the stems of plants. And as their name advertises, cutworms chew through or “cut” the stem and completely remove it from the plant. Sometimes a cutworm will remain with a plant until it has completely devoured it. But more often, these little caterpillars will “sample” stems from separate plants until they are full. And large numbers of damaged plants means large numbers of plants that will not survive.

Cutworms occur throughout North America. Although it’s a common pest, it can vary greatly in color and habits by region, making it tricky to get rid of for the uninitiated. Trapping with bait can be effective. But even better is effective lawn care and yard maintenance. Cutworm larva winters underground, so fall rototillering by experienced professionals can destroy next year’s pests while they hibernate. Landscaping pros can also help by removing succulent early weeds before your garden comes in. And with nothing appealing to eat, hungry cutworms will move on.

White Cabbage Moths

You don’t grow cabbage in your “back 40”, you say. Sorry, you’re still not safe. The caterpillars of this white and brown moth (Mamestra brassicae) also will eat:

  • onions
  • kale
  • beets
  • raddish
  • lettuce
  • apples
  • hyssop
  • carnations

and will probably find other plants in your plot to “make do” with as well. Not only do adult white cabbage moths blend right in with your gardens, their dull green offspring do as well. And there can be lots of offspring. White cabbage moths may be active on your property from May through October. During this time, they can produce three separate clutches of eggs. Hungry caterpillars will turn plant leaves into “doilies”, leading to plant death.

It’s important to note that are several types of butterflies and moths that have “cabbage” in their names. But while the names are similar, treatments can be quite different. So whether it’s finding a “green” insecticide or planting lavender among those raddish rows, professional help can make all the difference.

Aphids

The gardening world’s Public Enemy Number One. There are well over 4,000 species of these insects worldwide, but would you know one of these little insects if you saw one? Many species are bright green. But they can also be brown, black, white, or wooly in appearance. Because of this, aphids are sometimes called “blackflies” or “whiteflies”. But since those are the actual names of other insects, referring to aphids as such can mean ending up with the wrong remedy.

Aphids are often referred to as “plant lice” as they suck sap from plants. This completely destroys a plant, and aphids quickly move on to their next victims. While aphids have many natural insect predators, ants will protect them. Ants “milk” aphids for a substance that aphids produce. Ants not only “herd” adult aphids because of this. They collect and move aphid eggs in the winter and spread these pests even more. Fortunately, yard maintenance experts can help with aphid control as well. Trained technicians can reduce ant populations and introduce aphid predator friendly plants.

Let Don King Landscaping Help

The good news is that there are many environmentally friendly ways to deal with all of the gardening pests out there. The bad news is that there are so many solutions out there that it’s hard to know where to begin. Fortunately, professional lawn care doesn’t have to start and stop with mowing grass. Don King Landscaping is a Boulder landscaping contractor who understands that the battle against bugs doesn’t end with the summer. Many insect pests use the fall to hunker down until the following spring. Don King technicians can prevent this with techniques like raking, mowing, plant litter and debris removal, and rototilling to destroy eggs and larva. In the spring, they can also assist with composting, mulching, and the introduction of plantings that act as natural insecticides. So with the assistance of the right team of landscapers, gardeners need not continue to lose the war against bugs. And that produce will be even tastier knowing that it was won with environmentally friendly methods.

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