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We all love our gardens, especially when they start to bloom in the spring. Unfortunately, certain pests love them as well. The experts at Royal Pest Solutions have identified seven common threats to your garden and some planet-friendly things you can do to protect your plants and flowers.


1. Aphids

Often referred to as plant lice, show up on new shoots and the undersides of leaves. Aphids suck plant sap, causing foliage to distort and leaves to drop. Aphids produce a sweet, sticky excretion known as honeydew. The honeydew secretion may turn black if it is affected by sooty mold fungus.

How to control them: Options include washing you plants with a strong spray of water, covering your plants with a floating row cover or applying hot pepper or garlic repellent sprays. For severe problems, apply horticultural oil, insecticidal soap, or Neem.


2. Caterpillars

They will chew on leaves or along margins. Their fecal matter soils the produce, while some tunnel into the fruit.

How to control them: Encourage native predators and parasites; spray with Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) or spinosad; hand pick or cover plants.


3. Beetles

Adults like to chew on leaves, and their larvae feeds on roots, defoliating and killing plants.

How to control them: Hand pick; shake from your plants in the early morning; spray plants with Bt or Neem, or spray your plants with either garlic spray or kaolin clay.


4. Snails and slugs

These pests can do extensive damage and are hard to eradicate. Slugs love moist areas where there is abundant decaying organic matter. Slugs feed on decaying and living plant tissue.

How to control them: Remove debris from shaded areas—these pests love to hide under broad-leaved plants. Sprinkle a protective border of fertilizer salts (not table salt which can harm plants) to dehydrate slugs.


5. Grubs

The larvae of Japanese beetles, these pests feed on all types of grass roots and damage lawns. Other possible signs are moles digging in the turf or if flocks of birds are feeding on the grass.

How to control them: It is tempting to treat white grubs in the spring but spring treatments are generally ineffective. It is best to treat between Aug. 1 and Sept. 15 only to those aesthetically important areas of your lawn. Some insecticides must be applied early in the season before eggs are laid in order to be effective against the fall larvae. Be sure and read pesticide labels prior to use or call a lawn care professional.


6. Ants

Ants will attack your garden in a very unique way—they use it to farm aphids! They control their food source by bringing aphids to your garden and they protect them from other predators. While the aphids feed on (and destroy) your plants, they produce a sugary secretion that ants eat.

How to control them: Baking soda, flour and baby powder are an organic way to keep ants from reaching your plants. Ants will not cross the powder, so circle your plants with it. To really eliminate ants, call a pest professional to find and destroy the nest.


7. Moles, groundhogs and rabbits

These critters are often feeding on your garden and usually your lawn. They dig tunnels and ruin root systems.

How to control them: Moles protect your home and garden from many insects so if you can deal with them, you should. You can “control” wildlife (to some extent) with live traps baited with cabbage and apple juice, fences, electronic devices or sensory deterrents, or other vegetative deterrents.


Royal Pest Solutions is full-service pest-control company serving Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia. Royal Pest Solutions uses the most advanced methods and materials in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to provide customers with pest control that is the safest and most effective in the industry today. Royal offers planet-friendly services to protect your family, your home and your lifestyle from annoying, destructive and harmful pests. We’re able to solve practically any pest problem from the most common to those other pesky critters pest companies shy away from. No other pest control company delivers Royal’s combination of customized service, safety and guaranteed results.

53 McCullough Drive
New Castle, Del., 19720
Office: (302) 322-3600
Fax: (302) 322-6887

755A N. Broad St.
Middletown, Del., 19709
Office: (302) 376-8243
Fax: (302) 378-2708