I guess you have ants in your home if you are reading this. A small spill of something sugary or some missed crumbs gave the ants all the reason they needed to search your home for more food. Now there are ants going as they please. How do you get rid of them and get back to normal life?
How to Get Rid of Ants in your Kitchen
Clean and Sanitize
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Aphids can become a problem before you realize what has happened to your once healthy garden. These tiny bugs sneak into your landscape and basically have a party. They eat and breed like crazy and decide they love the place so they stay. Aphids will suck the sap from your plant while also transmitting pathogens that infect your plant. Additionally, they secret honeydew which grows sooty mold all over your plant and will stop it from photosynthesizing.
How to Prevent Aphids
Look At Your Plants
A big part of prevention of any pest is inspection. This should not be a problem since if you are frequently in your garden, you are undoubtedly looking at it. If you notice a little problem, do not let it become a big problem.
Aphids love new growth, so do not over fertilize. Use an appropriate amount of slow release fertilizer. Quick release fertilizer will promote a lot of new growth which generally isn't what you would want in your plants anyhow.
How to Treat for Aphids Naturally
You have aphids on your plants, now what?
Completely prune away heavily infested areas. Discard them into a bag you can seal and throw away.
Spraying your plant with a water from a pressurized nozzle will knock off a good number of the aphids. Aphids usually will not climb back up the plant after this. Be careful when doing this. You do not want to wash an aphid onto a nearby healthy plant.
A tablespoon of dish soap and a gallon of water will affect the aphids breathing and help fix your problem. If you have a lot of plants, there are water hose attachments that will mix a concentrate like dish soap with water for you so you can just attach it and spray your plants. Make sure to spray under the leaves since that is where most of the bugs stay.
What Pest Control Product to Use on Aphids
There are a lot of different products that can treat aphids. These can be found at any hardware store or the internet. I recommend using insecticidal soap or horticulture oil. These products are less risky than other control products. This is important to think about if you have young children or pets that frequent your garden. Another good control product are ones containing pyretherin or pyrethroid. These will work to kill the aphids on contact.
If you have ever seen something like this on a plant, you've encountered whiteflies. They are very small insects that are not actually flies at all. They are relative of aphids and mealy bugs. The problem with whiteflies is they spread easily and damage rapidly. The adults whiteflies drain the sap from your plants and excrete honeydew. The honey dew attracts other insects the both damage the plant and protect the whiteflies. Then to make it worse, the honeydew usually begins to grow sooty mold. Sooty mold is a black coating to the leaves and stops light from reaching the plant.
While the flies are feasting on your plants, they are also laying eggs. They are laying a lot of eggs. Fly eggs all over your plant. These eggs will hatch and the nymphs will begin feeding on the same plant. This is why it is important to target both the adults, nymph and eggs when treating an infested plant. Now you have developed a deep and growing disdain for these pest and you want to know how to get rid of the whiteflies? Well read on.
Get Rid of Whiteflies without Insecticide
First, remove any infested areas completely. Be sure to cut into a healthy part of the plant, just before the dead area. Throw away any infested material into a trash bag and seal it. Dissolve a bar of soap in up to a five gallon bucket of water overnight. Use a sponge or washcloth to soak the soapy water up and white down the leaves and stems of the plant. Make special care to do this on both the top and bottom of the leaves. Spray a soapy solution on the plant for the next one to two weeks to prevent eggs from being attached again. Buy and release natural predators for whiteflies. Delphastus pusillus eat a lot of whiteflies per day and can stop whiteflies in their tracks. Order them on the internet or try a local college. Finally, sticky yellow traps will catch whiteflies much like fly paper does for house flies and gnats. Place a few sticky yellow traps as a sign to know when your whitefly problem is gone.
Get Rid of Whiteflies with Insecticide
First, remove any infested areas completely, just like in the section above. Second, buy an insect control product containing either permethrin or bifenthrin which is also labeled for your target plant. These can be found at a local hardware store, some grocery stores or the internet. This will take care of the adult and nymph whiteflies. Buy and apply a horticultural oil mixture the affected and surrounding plants. Horticultural oil is great at suffocating insects that move very slowly. Be sure to follow all instructions on the label for the insecticides. These steps should solve your whitefly problem.
Butterflies are nature's dancing flowers. No other living creature has as many colors and moves in such great numbers as butterflies. This is all the more reason to have them visit your home. With the addition of a few plants, your number of butterfly visits will swell. Another benefit of a butterfly garden is hummingbirds are attracted to many of the same plants as butterflies, so it is like getting a 2 for 1 deal!
Plants for Butterflies
There are two classifications of butterfly plants you will want, host and nectar. You will want a good mix of both. Nectar plants will allow butterflies to feed while host plants are where butterflies leave their eggs. Important: Since butterflies leave their eggs on the host plant, do not treat it with insecticide. Also be willing to accept the host plant losing most of its foliage when the caterpillars appear.
A few nectar plants are zinnia, marigold, petunia, lantana, rudbeckia, butterlybush, purple coneflowers, butterfly milkweed, and salvia. Host plants include artemisa, nettles, hops, pawpaw, dill, legumes, parsley, fennel, wisteria, tulip poplar and passion vine.
Pick a spot that gets a lot of sun and very little wind. Create a raised landscape bed with some good dark soil. Landscape beds can be any size and shape. An idea is to have two separate landscape beds on both sides of an outdoor sitting area everyone can enjoy them regardless of where they are looking. Another option is to have them border a pathway in your yard so you can see the butterflies every time you walk through. Be creative! Once your beds are built, it is time to select where you want to put the plants in your garden.
There is only one thing to do once your plants are in and your garden is finished. Wait. The butterflies will come, they just have to realize there is a butterfly all you can eat buffet in your backyard. The best time to see butterflies in south Louisiana will be between 10 am to 3 pm during August and October. Butterflies can still be seen in the meantime, but those two months are butterfly prime time. So until then, keep an eye out and enjoy the show.