How to Beat Bugs in Your Garden | Almanac.com

How to Beat Bugs in Your Garden

The Editors

While some insects are beneficial, others are an ever-present pest in the vegetable garden—but there’s no reason that they should get the better of you or your crops.

How to Beat Bugs in Your Garden

Beneficial insects, birds and amphibians can do a lot of the pest control work for you but sometimes you’ll still need to protect crops with barriers or other methods to foil those pesky pests.

In this short video, we explain how to enlist natural allies, plan defensive barriers and work strategically to prevent pests eating your hard-won harvests.

A healthy plant is less likely to fall victim to pests, so make sure your crops are as healthy as possible by following good growing practices.

Encourage Natural Allies Insect predators such as ladybugs, birds and toads can destroy pests before they become a problem. Plant flowers such as calendula and fennel to attract predatory insects into your garden. Make sure to grow a range of flowers so there is something blooming in every season. A handy selection of suitable flowers can be found in our Garden Planner.

Other ways to attract insects:

  • Install bought or home-made insect hotels
  • Leaves some areas of grass to grow a little longer
  • Leave dead wood in corners of the garden as breeding areas for predatory beetles
  • One or two clumps of nettles will also draw in beneficial bugs. Install a pond to provide a breeding place for frogs and toads, which will eat slugs and many insects. If you only have space for a small pond, try sinking a watertight container into the ground.

Water is also vital for birds, including insect-eaters. Include trees, shrubs and hedges to your garden to provide nesting sites and food for birds.

Install Barriers Physical barriers such as netting or insect mesh will keep flying pests such as aphids away from your crops. Set them into position before an attack is likely.

Group together crops that require the same type of protection. For example, crops in the cabbage family, such as broccoli and kale, may be grown next to each other in the same bed and easily covered with a single piece of netting to exclude cabbage white butterflies from laying their eggs on the leaves.

You can add barriers such as row covers to a garden plan. Start by selecting Garden Objects in the Garden Planner selection bar, then scroll through to select what you need.

To know when to install barriers, you need to know which pests are heading your way. That’s where the Big Bug Hunt helps as an early-warning system. Please report any pests or beneficial insects in your garden to us at http://BigBugHunt.com

Bobby S. (not verified)

1 year 10 months ago

This year, I noticed, for the first time, some weird acting worms, as I dug in my garden, and after a little research found them too be Asian Jumping Worms. These invasive worms, are a very scary new predator too nature. They are detrimental too our natural environment, eating all nutrients, leaving nothing but raw mineral, devastating soil and forest ecosystems. So far very little, other than treating the ground with high temperature, has been accomplished fighting the ongoing advance of the species. I am very worried, now, about my property, which is absolutely loaded, wherever I dig.

Maria Otero (not verified)

4 years 10 months ago

every year, cause of blight I loose my tomatoes.
Cheshunt area

Carol (not verified)

4 years 10 months ago

I grow an organic garden for home consumption & earwigs are everywhere! Even in my rhubarb! How can I end their living in my food source?

Em Dohv (not verified)

5 years 10 months ago

I have a small flower garden w/ a variety of flowers and lots of little critters on the look out for the plant munchers. I use a gallon jug w/ a small hole in the bottom and fill it w/ water that drips into a shallow container and the toads are delighted and they certainly are little slug slurpers. One does not need a lot of room to set up a naturalized habitat for beneficial critters and insects. It saddens me to not see the pollinators. I believe it is one of the insecticides that is destroying them and until it affects a major corporation nothing will be done.

Kathleen Kahr (not verified)

5 years 10 months ago

I've got ants that come up in my garden after about 3 or months every year, when it gets real hot outside. I live in Las Vegas, NV. Any solutions would be helpful!

It’s nearly impossible to fully get rid of a determined ant colony outside without resorting to harsh chemicals. If they’re not damaging any of the plants or causing you harm, then it’s probably best to leave them be. If they start to invade your home, however, you can try blocking their entry point with a line of baking soda, diatomaceous earth, or a commercial ant poison containing borax.

Tracey (not verified)

6 years 9 months ago

I'm fighting whiteflies and asasin bugs along with slugs and aphids, help from the USA south!

We feel your pain.  Here are some great tips on controlling aphids in the garden: http://www.almanac.com/pest/aphids

See our entire pest library for other problems here: http://www.almanac.com/gardening/pests-and-diseases