It seems everywhere I turn I see bugs. Chinch bugs in the grass, worms eating bougainvilleas, scale on irises and lilies, mealy bugs on tropicals. To spray, or not to spray? That is the question. We need to raise our tolerance of what is acceptable in our landscapes. A few bugs here or there or a little plant damage is all o.k. Did you know that only about 5% of insects are bad? Many insects are even beneficial. This fact is the reason you must decide whether or not to spray. Lots of times nature will take care of itself if you wait a few days. Keep your plants as healthy as possible, and you will not have many insect or disease problems.
First, make sure you have the right plant in the right place, proper sun exposure, correct spacing of plants to insure air circulation, regular feeding, mulched beds, watering. All of these things reduce stress and result in perfect growing conditions for your plants keeping them happy and healthy. We call it IPM or Integrated Pest Management. If you do determine you need to treat a problem insect, start with the least toxic approach.
- Insects and disease go for the weak and stressed plants first.
- A few aphids can be controlled with a blast of water.
- A cluster of mealybugs on the tips of plants can be remedied by pruning and discarding the area.
- Using Insecticidal Soap, Neem Oil, or Thuricide sprayed on plants with insects is your next approach.
- Never spray everything just because one plant has a problem.
So look around your yard; see what’s happening. If you’re not sure whether you have a beneficial or a problem insect, just put a sample in a ziplock bag and bring it to us. We will help identify the bug and tell you if you need a control solution.