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garden soil pests

8 Common Garden Soil Pests and How to Get Rid of Them

Garden soil pests can cause havoc in your garden—and some very quickly. If you find infested plants, you need to take quick action to defend the affected plants and your entire garden. 

At A Garden Patch, we’ve identified eight common garden soil pests that feed on plants. We also explain how to find, identify, and eliminate these pests. Fighting plant infestation requires knowledge and know-how. Here, we provide you with both!  

If you want to skip the hassle of battling pest infestations, our Garden Patch’s GrowBox comes with perfect plant spacing, proper and automatic fertilization, and nutrient packs to take all the guesswork out of giving your plants everything they need to grow (including garden dolomite for tomatoes).

1. Aphids

Aphids are one of the most destructive insects you can find in your garden. These pear-shaped insects kill your plants by sucking their sap, destroying their leaves, and infecting them with viruses. When feeding on a plant, aphids excrete honeydew, which gathers on the undersides of leaves. 

The honeydew is the aphids’ calling card and causes sooty mold to grow on the undersides of your plant’s leaves. If left untreated, this can seriously damage the health of your plants.  

One way to fight off aphids from your garden is to introduce their natural predators into the environment, and thankfully you have several options, including:

  • Lady bugs
  • Parasitic wasps
  • Lacewing larvae

Other options to eliminate your aphid infestation include the following methods:

  • Sprinkle neem oil on plants (which also combats cucumber beetles)
  • Spray your plants with a garden hose
  • Spray your affected plants with soapy water (five tablespoons of dish soap per gallon of water)
  • Use insecticidal soaps and horticultural oils

While aphids do not commonly destroy an entire plant, they remain a considerable problem you must control for your garden to thrive. If you have an aphid problem, you likely have an ant problem as well. 

Ants wait for the aphids to suck the sugar out of the plant, and then the ants kill the aphids and take the sugar. Fortunately, neem oil, soap, and water work well on ants and aphids. 

Another solution to an ant problem involves boiling sugar or honey together with borax. Then, you soak cotton balls in the solution and set them throughout your garden. The ants will go after the sugar and poison their entire colony with the borax. 

2. Beetles

Beetles are destructive to gardens and come in numerous varieties, including: 

  • Japanese
  • Cucumber
  • Asparagus
  • Mexican
  • Fig
  • Flea
  • Colorado potato

To combat a beetle infestation, you can cover your fruit in nets preventing the beetles from reaching your crops. Homemade pepper-garlic spray or Neem oil will drive away many types of beetles. You can also pick the beetles off your infested plants and the undersides of the leaves.  

If you have chickens, they will love to feed on the beetles. 

2. Slugs

Slugs are one of the simpler garden soil pests to combat. Slugs will attack just about everything in your garden but are particularly fond of foliage, fruit, and vegetables. The tell-tale sign of a slug infestation is the slime trails they leave behind. 

You can address a slug infestation with relative ease. Bury a few shallow containers around your garden like an in-ground pool. However, instead of filling them with water, fill them with beer. The slugs will dive in and never emerge. 

3. Flies, Mites, and Mosquitoes

A simple spray-bottle mixture of rubbing alcohol and water is effective against flies and mites. You can also try planting marigolds, as they repel flies and mosquitoes. These companion plantings may or may not actually protect your garden, but they look pretty nonetheless.

In addition, make sure you remove all standing water from your garden to eliminate a mosquito infestation. 

4. Cabbage Moth

These garden soil pests are perhaps the most difficult to find. These tiny green worms prey on cruciferous vegetables such as collard greens, broccoli, and brussels sprouts. They work quickly to destroy your plants, so you must act fast if you find them in your garden. 

There are a few suggested methods to rid the cabbage moth from your garden, including the following:

  • Cover your cruciferous vegetables with a shade cloth
  • Plant garlic and mint around your cruciferous vegetables
  • Use an electric fly-swatter to eliminate them yourself

5. Maggots

Maggots burrow underground in soil and mulch to feed on the roots of your plants. They can be challenging to eliminate because they are difficult to find. If you have maggot-infested plants, pouring hot water over the maggots will rid you of the problem.  

To ensure the maggots do not return, make sure not to reuse infested soil. 

6. Worms

Cutworms and hornworms are common garden soil pests. Cutworms are small brown larvae that feed at night, and you can handpick them from your plants. Another option is to apply diatomaceous earth to the base of your stems. 

Tomato hornworms can destroy your plants and any hopes of a fresh tomato salad or homemade tomato sauce. The most effective removal method for hornworms is to pick them off by hand. However, wasps, ladybugs, and lacewings may also help 

7. Mammals and Reptiles

When it comes to larger pests like mammals and reptiles like deer, opossums, mice, and birds, you need more extreme measures to protect your plants. You can place a metal barrier beneath your soil to keep our burrowing intruders. Fencing and netting are good defenses against the other invaders. A dog may also deter these visitors from your garden!  

garden soil

Avoid Common Garden Soil Pests with the GrowBox

Battling garden soil pests can be an uphill battle. Give yourself the advantage of starting with the best soil. At A Garden Patch, we created the simple, all-in-one Garden Patch GrowBox with automatic fertilization, no pesky garden beetles or tomato hornworm damage, and a self-watering reservoir that takes the guesswork out of gardening. Spend less time battling pests in your garden and more time enjoying it! 

Order your GrowBox online or call us at (800) 519-1955 to order by phone.

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