Depending on where you live, it could be a bit challenging to actually know what season we are in right now. It’s not uncommon to go from winter-like temperatures, to balmy and steamy days and evenings. But, this particular year, it seems like our thermostat is getting a thrashing in a game of tug-of-war. And, that makes it difficult to know when to plant. Or, maybe even how to protect what you might have already planted or will someday.
Of course, temperatures aren’t the only potential enemy that could attack your garden. No, there are a few insects and pests that will take full advantage of all your hard work, and could easily ruin your garden. At the very least, it could lead to some unnecessary frustration and disappointment.
I say “unnecessary” because there are options to help control these pests, giving you more time to enjoy the fruits of your labor, or veggies. Perhaps the most rewarding option is a homemade trap. You might already have some of the supplies on hand, making it quicker, cheaper, and more natural than hiring a company to take care of the infestation for you.
So, hopefully the easy homemade traps below will help you in protecting your garden, and preserve all your hard work.
Use a Pit Trap for Earwigs and Slugs
Night dwelling slugs like to dine on leaves. But they also seem to be drawn to beer. Yep, good old fashioned beer. If you have a problem with slugs messing up your garden, pop open a brew.
Place a shallow container on the ground in your garden, right in the midst of your most slug-vulnerable plants, such as strawberries or lettuce. An old pie plate or frisbee would work well for this type of trap. Pour about 1” of beer into the bottom of your new trap, and walk away. It’s really that simple.The slugs will be drawn to the beer, crawl in, and eventually drown. If you don’t want to waste a good beer, sugar water with a small bit of yeast mixed in would also work. They love a good fermented gas and should leave your plants alone as a result. Just replace the mix if it dries up or gets diluted from rain.
Earwigs are another night dweller, lurking at the bottom of pots and containers during the day. They also wreak havoc on leaves and plants.
This time, put some vegetable oil in the bottom of the shallow containers, and add a touch of soy sauce. Same result as the beer method.
Tiny Insects and Sticky Traps
Sticky traps are great for tiny insects that can destroy your garden, such as flea beetles, aphids, flies, whiteflies.
You can easily make a sticky trap by taking an old greeting card or paper cup and coating it with a sticky concoction. Try using something as simple as a thick syrup or petroleum jelly. Then stick it in the garden among the plants.And, some insects are drawn to certain colors, which can vary. Here are a few:
- Yellow – flies, cucumber beetles, flea beetles, and some aphids
- Green – some aphids
- Blue – thrips
So, if you are trying to target any of the above specifically, make the trap in the color they are attracted to, in addition to the sticky mix. If you can’t find the material in the color you want, paint it…before adding the sticky matter, of course.
Yellow Pans for Squash Vine Borers and Aphids
Yellow is probably the most popular color among garden pests. So, with this particular trap, think yellow. This one is extremely easy to do, and might already be in action to a point, if you have a shallow container lying on the ground collecting water. Insects will creep into the water-filled pan, and likely drown.However, 2 additional steps will make it even more effective. First, choose a yellow container to get their attention, such as a frisbee, or a painted pie plate or tin. Second, add a little liquid soap to the water. Just a few drops will do it. That will make it more difficult to swim and they will drown quicker.
If you are looking to target larger pests, such as moths and the squash vine borers they become, you will want a deeper vessel, one that will hold a minimum of 2” of water. Some moths fly during the day, so have these yellow pan traps out around the clock.
Cucumber Beetles and Yellow Traps
The downside to pan traps that are open, is that they could unintentionally also trap beneficial insects, such as bees.
You can diminish that possibility by making a bottle or jug trap. Make tiny holes that are the right size for the insect you are hoping to trap, but too large for a bee to go through.
This is a good option for trapping cucumber beetles, because they are much smaller than bees. To add to the lure, put some cucumber peels at the bottom of the bottle and water.
All of the traps mentioned in this article should be monitored. That can tell you what insects are trying to invade your garden, as well as let you know how well the traps are working and how often you need to refresh them. This should be done every week. Then again, you will be out in the garden more often than that to check on your plants. So, checking on them is easy.
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