At this point in the year, your garden is likely attracting a wide array of birds, butterflies, bees, dragonflies, frogs, and many other friendly local critters. However, it's also likely that your garden's attracting quite a few creepy crawlies that you don't really want hanging around. These pests can wreak havoc on your garden, tarnishing your gorgeous flowers and decimating your home-grown crops. Thankfully, we've got a few solutions for these nuisances we think you'll want to hear!
How to Get Rid of Creepy Crawlers in Your Ontario Garden
When battling the constant invasions of Ontario garden insects, it's hard to know which ones are helping your healthy bloomers and which are simply pissing your plants off. However, before you go pesticide shopping, let's round up some of Ontario's most notorious garden pests and some of the natural ways you can send them packing:
Most Ontario gardeners have unfortunately run into these creepy crawlers, and with over 4000 species worldwide, we're not surprised! While you might notice an infestation right away, it's also possible that you won't see anything obvious until your plants give them away with browning leaves, slower growth, and even curled-up leaves. To rid your plant paradise of these tiny terrors, try introducing ladybugs to your garden, as they love a good aphid buffet! You can also remove aphids from your plants by spraying them off with water, but if a plant is too heavily overrun, you might have to remove it altogether to prevent the infestation from spreading to the rest of your garden.
These little devils have sharp mouthparts, much like aphids, and will eat the underside of leaves. They are very small, of course, and are typically only recognizable thanks to the trademark speckling they leave behind on affected leaves. To get rid of spider mites, make sure your plants are well-watered and fertilized, as a healthy plant is less likely to be victimized. You can also spray affected plants with a strong stream of water, but make sure you're not overdoing the water pressure and causing even more damage!
Sure, they sound fancy, but these creeps will eat straight through your flowers and foliage if they make their way into your garden. Precious plants like marigolds, roses, beans, hibiscus, and grapevines are particular delicacies for the Japanese Beetle. However, this also means that you can use these favourites to bait and catch them before tossing them in soapy water, the best way to rid your garden of these pests.
You can also leave some of the deceased beetles lying around casually so the smell of dead relatives sends them packing (a little gross, but it works!) If this isn't quite your style, you can also mist your plants' leaves with neem oil.
If you're into growing tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers, you've likely waged quite a few wars with the tomato hornworm! Although it eventually turns into the 5-spotted hawk moth, this large caterpillar will absolutely ravage your veggie crops in its larval stage.
Thankfully, their size makes them fairly easy to spot, and picking them off is usually the best way to keep them from spending too long at the buffet table.
Slugs & Snails
You won't find many people speaking positively about these elusive night feeders. Slugs and snails are nocturnal as a way to avoid predators and disgruntled gardeners, typically going about their business when we're fast asleep and causing extensive damage to your garden. These creepy crawlers are best caught and put into a bucket of saltwater to shrivel. However, if you're not into disposing of them yourself, you can trap them with shallow glasses of beer or bring a chicken into your garden to do your dirty work for you.
The plant-sucking thrip is a prevalent garden pest that's so small you likely won't even notice they've arrived until it's too late. They like to suck out plant cells, which can disrupt fruit production and stunt plant growth.
If you do notice their thin, silvery bodies, shake them off your plants and catch them below using sticky traps.
Having a great garden means having to share it, but you can still decide who makes the guest list! If you need help getting rid of creepy crawlers in your Ontario garden, we've got you covered! Come see us today for more helpful tips to keep your garden beautiful and pest-free!