Manual Pest Control

For minor to moderate insect problems, there is one pest-control solution that works every time: hand-picking the bugs.

Gardeners still swear by this time-honored method of controlling pests.  Many people patrol their gardens daily, scouring the plants for signs of unwelcome visitors.

With some types of pests, in fact, hand-picking the bugs is the best solution.  Take squash bugs, for example.  With their armorlike shells, they are resistant to most of the control methods that natural gardeners are willing to try.  Even diatomaceous earth doesn’t kill them!  But they cannot withstand a gardener’s vigilance.

Make it a habit to check your plants for pests every day.  If you see signs of damage, look for the culprit.  Then dispose of it promptly.  Either use the heel of your shoe or drop the bugs that you find into a jar of dish-soap solution.

Also check for bug eggs while you’re at it.  While you don’t want to destroy the distinctive egg cases of helpful spiders and praying mantises, you will soon become all too familiar with the eggs of your particular garden archenemy.  When you find them, scrape them off of the leaves of your vegetables.

But keep in mind that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  While you are hand-picking bugs, also take steps to be proactive.  Deter insect pests by keeping your plants healthy and removing attractive hiding places.

The combination of preventative measures and manual pest control is a powerful one.  With diligence, you can keep the bugs in check.

The Family Garden Journal