Oh boy. Bugs. No one wants to have to deal with bugs. They’re creepy, they’re crawly and man, oh man are they always right where you don’t want them to be! There are a few ways you can keep bugs away from your landscape and a few important notes you should think about before you start spraying insecticide around your yard:
We need bugs.
It’s true. As much as you don’t want to think about it, bugs are important. They pollinate our trees, help our gardens grow and many bugs keep actual bad bugs away. They’re important, so when you’re trying to get rid of pest bugs you want to ensure that you take a narrow approach, not a broad one.
Wet and dark areas breed bugs.
When in doubt, if the area is wet and dark, it’s going to have bugs. Walk around your yard and find areas of standing water. Tip those over and ensure that they don’t fill again. Is there an area that is perhaps covered by some leaves? Clean that up! It’s a breeding ground for bugs.
Repelling bugs naturally is easy.
Plant mint, garlic, lavender and rosemary. The natural oils that these plants exude keep bugs away. In fact, there are are a lot of ways to naturally repell even the worst bugs.
There is No One-Size-Fits All Solution for the Bugs in Your Yard
So which bugs are good for your yard, and which ones should you deal with? A lot of that depends on where you find them.
Bugs on your Plants
If you come out in the morning to find creepy crawlies on your plants themselves, it’s a good idea to get them off! A plethora of beetles and grubs use your plants for food or nesting, so you’ll also want them to be unappealing. First, head out very early in the morning with a squirt bottle or hose with a strong stream nozzle and use the water to physically remove the bugs. Afterward, you can use an insecticidal soap or horticultural clay on the plant to keep the bugs off in the future. The soap and clay do not harm the plant, but keep the bugs from biting!
Holes in your Leaves or Plants
If you’ve got holes in your leaves or plants you may have beetles or other grubs chomping on your plants. If so, you can take care of them using the above steps. It’s important to figure out, however, if you have a more serious infestation. Termites are prevalent throughout the United States and especially in California. If you notice a tree that seems to come apart and has small pin holes in it, it may be best to call a professional to inspect it. Termites can travel small distances, so if you have a tree that fits this description near your house, get it checked out.
Mosquitoes serve no good purpose in your yard. You can do a few things to minimize them, however. First, make sure you remove any standing water. Planting some flowering shrubs and plants that advertise they are good for birds will help a great deal. Mosquitoes are great appetizers for birds, so attracting them to your yard will keep the mosquitoes away. Finally, if you must, a broad yard sweep insecticide like Cutter will keep the mosquitoes at bay – we don’t advocate its use, but if you must use it, do so before a party or gathering where it will have maximum effectiveness.
Carpenter Bees, Honey Bees, Yellow Jackets, & Wasps
It can be easy to confuse all of these critters, but here’s why you need to learn to tell them apart:
We need honey bees – they’re nearly endangered!
Yellow jackets and wasps look quite similar – they’re cylindrical, sleek bodies are unmistakable. You should feel free to swat them away and get rid of their nests.
Yellow jackets nest underground and wasps make their homes in small tubes in overhangs and cracks.
Carpenter bees drill holes in wood and look very similar to honey bees! Carpenter bees can be killed with a simple, non-toxic powder.
Be sure you know the difference!. If you have any question, look them up before you attempt to get rid of them.