Gardening is incredibly rewarding but often comes with its fair share of challenges, one of the most significant being pest control. 2023 especially has seen some pests become particularly prevalent, causing damage to crops, flowers, and landscapes. In this blog, we will explore some of Bettendorf's most common garden pests this year and provide some effective strategies to deal with them so you can get back to nurturing your green spaces and their beauty, not the bugs!
What Are The Most Common Pests You'll Find in Your Bettendorf Garden?
While there are plenty of pests out there that might make themselves at home in your backyard oasis, these are the top bug invaders you'll likely find in your garden this year:
Japanese beetles are infamous for their voracious appetite and can quickly devastate a garden. Although their shiny metallic-green bodies certainly look cool, don't get fooled by appearances; it's common for these little guys to feed on a wide range of plants, skeletonizing leaves and leaving behind damaged foliage. Handpicking Japanese beetles off your plants is the best way to manually control smaller infestations, but applying neem oil or insecticidal soap can also help deter them from feeding on your plants.
These small, soft-bodied insects always make the bad garden bugs list, thriving in large colonies and feeding rampantly on plant sap in your garden and on houseplants. Aphids are very common and reproduce rapidly, weakening plants and causing stunted growth and deformities. To keep aphid populations down in your Iowa garden, it's essential to encourage natural predators like ladybugs and lacewings to maintain a balanced ecosystem. Regularly spraying your plants with a strong stream of water can also help dislodge aphids from leaves.
Squash bugs are of significant concern to gardeners, especially if you're growing cucumbers, pumpkins, or squash. These common garden pests inject toxins into your plants when they feed on their sap, causing leaves to wither and turn brown. Luckily, applying organic insecticides made from neem oil or pyrethrin can be effective against squash bugs. We also recommend regularly inspecting the undersides of your plant's leaves for egg clusters and removing them quickly to prevent infestations.
The larvae of white butterflies, these little green monsters are a common pest in gardens across North America. They are especially fond of cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, and kale and will consume much of your plants' leaves, leaving behind unsightly holes and compromising their health. Thankfully, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) is an effective organic solution that targets cabbage worms without harming beneficial insects. We recommend applying it at the first sign of an infestation to keep these pests at bay.
These odd-looking but completely common caterpillars are large, green, and not the pests you want to see this year! Their distinctive horn-like structures on their rear ends make them easy to identify while feeding on your tomato plants' leaves and fruits. Even if you don't see them, you'll still know they're there thanks to the trail of noticeable damage they leave behind. Handpicking hornworms and dropping them into soapy water will help control their numbers in your garden, as will introducing natural predators like lady beetles and lacewings.
Slugs and Snails
These common nocturnal pests feed on a variety of plants and enjoy moist environments and damp gardens. To deter slugs and snails, use barriers like copper tape or diatomaceous earth around vulnerable plants. You can also use simple, homemade beer traps to lure and drown these pests. We recommend all natural Sluggo for slugs, especially around hosta.
Even though we still love rabbits, they can drive even the most patient gardener crazy! These pests love to feed on tender shoots and young plants, causing considerable harm and loads of heartache, too. If you've got an adorable fluffy bunny problem in your landscape, consider using chicken wire fences around your garden's perimeter. Using pest-repellent sprays and planting strong-smelling herbs like mint will also discourage them from nibbling on your plants.
These pests may be a bit bigger than the other critters on our list, but deer are another common garden nuisance, destroying precious blooms and leafy foliage. They can be particularly troublesome if you live in an area close to woodlands or natural habitats. Fencing is the most reliable method to keep deer out of your garden, but planting deer-resistant plants like foxgloves, herbs, and other textured or scented species can also help keep them at bay. You can also try deterrents like motion-activated sprinklers to protect your green space. Wallace’s has several repellent options like Liquid Fence and No-No Deer Soap.
We know these common garden pests are annoying, but it's crucial to remember the importance of using natural and organic solutions in your fight against insect invasion; there are still many critters that are incredibly helpful in your garden, after all! If you're in need of more helpful pest control advice, come see us today at Wallace's Garden Center for expert tips and tricks, along with natural solutions for all of your persistent pest problems.