Because you put a lot of time and effort into your vegetable garden, you don't want any insects or pests to destroy or harm it. There are many types of insects that can quickly destroy much of your vegetable garden as they feast on your plants. Here are two harmful garden insects and how to protect your garden from them.
Fire ants in your garden can be hard to miss, especially when they build a large crumbly mound of earth around the entrance to their ground nest. This mound of earth can be so large it resembles a gopher hole. Then, when you disturb their nest in your garden, fire ants are aggressive and will attack you with their stinging bites. This can make you not want to spend time in your garden for fear of the fire ants.
Besides their mounds of dirt and their painful stings, fire ants are also damaging to your garden plants. Fire ants can damage okra and Irish potatoes growing in your garden, and have also been known to eat newly-sprouted corn, watermelon, and cucumber plants.
Fire ants are known for protecting sucking insects in your garden and allowing them to thrive. Fire ants protect sucking insects because the sucking insects secrete a sweet honeydew substance, which fire ants like to eat. Some of these sucking insects include mealybugs, aphids, scale insects, and whiteflies. When these insects are allowed to thrive, they will suck plant sap from your vegetable plants and damage them.
You don't need to live with fire ants in your garden. You can get rid of them by pouring a pot of boiling water into their nest. Be sure to leave their nest immediately after pouring the water, as the ants will sting you after you disturb their nest. Also, be careful not to let the boiling water get onto any of your garden plants, as it will kill them as well as the colony of fire ants.
You can also sprinkle a granular ant poison around the outside of the nest, pour liquid insecticide inside the nest, or hire a professional pest control service to treat your garden to eliminate the fire ants. Just make sure that any any baits and poisons you use in your garden are labeled as safe for use around vegetable plants.
There are more species of leafhopper than all species of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians combined. The leafhopper is an insect that can cause damage to a large part of your vegetable garden plants as its adult and juvenile both feed on the plants. The leafhopper puncture the underside of garden plant leaves, such as beans, tomatoes, lettuce, and beats, and suck out the juices of your plant.
Then, their saliva is toxic, so it causes damage in the form of leaf spotting, yellowing and curling leaves, stunted growth of your plants, and bland-tasting produce from the plants. The leafhopper can also transmit a virus disease to your plants, killing the entire plant, as it feeds on its juices.
Once your plants have been damaged by the leafhopper's feasting, there is nothing you can do to reverse the damage from its toxic saliva or a viral disease. But, you can treat your garden plants to prevent future problems with the leafhopper. Populate your garden with beneficial insects, such as lacewing and ladybugs, which will help control the leafhopper population. Or, you can install a polyester fabric cover over your plants, which will let in sunshine and rain, but keep out insects.
Then, you can also treat plants favored by the leafhopper with an insecticidal soap mixed with one tablespoon of isopropyl alcohol to one quart of the spray to help penetrate the insects' outer shell. Or, spray an organic insecticide that is safe to use on vegetables.
Use this information to help keep your vegetable garden safe from fire ants and leafhoppers. If you need help combating an insect infestation in your garden, contact a pest control company like Source Pest Control for assistance.