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How to keep your garden free of pests

Gardening is a relaxing, fun and rewarding endeavor, but it can also be an exercise in frustration. Gardeners must constantly be vigilant when it comes to pests, lest their hard work be ruined by these destructive vermin. Fortunately, by following a few key rules, you can greatly reduce your chances of dealing with garden pests.

Keep It Clean

Keeping a tidy garden is one of the most important aspects of pest control. One thing to remember is to keep plant debris cleaned up, since it tends to harbor pillbugs, earwigs and other pests that like to munch on your plants. Also, if you notice any diseased or infested plants, be sure to deal with them promptly by removing or spraying them. Failure to do so will allow the problem to spread quickly to neighboring plants.

Fatal Attraction

Many pests are attracted to certain colors or scents, and you can use this to your advantage. For troublesome slugs or snails, sink a small but deep container into the ground and fill it half-way with beer. The yeasty smell will attract these critters. Once inside, they become drunk and unable to crawl out, causing them to drown. For flying insects like squash bugs, white flies and aphids, you can use color. Take a pieces of cardboard and paint one side yellow and the other a light blue. These two colors alone will attract a huge variety of flying pests. Next, cover each piece with plastic wrap and coat the plastic with a spray adhesive. The bugs, being attracted to the colors, will land on the plastic and become stuck. When the plastic is covered with bugs, simply replace it. These can be hung strategically from plants or nearby trees and shrubs.

Encourage Helpful Visitors

Not all bugs are bad. In fact, some will prey on the harmful ones in your garden. Predatory wasps and flies, praying mantises, ladybugs and even carnivorous snails can consume an astounding quantity of pests, and make the best sentries for your garden. You can encourage their presence by growing plants that they like, such as ornamental grasses, dill, fennel, yarrow, sunflowers, mint, oregano and daisies. If they fail to come, fear not. Many of these helpful critters can be purchased online from garden supply shops.

Don’t sit and watch helplessly as pests destroy your hard work. By taking these steps to thwart them, you can put a stop to their reign of terror over your plants and preserve the health and beauty of your garden.