Mealybugs or wooly aphids are probably the most destructive of all the pests. They grow in huge numbers and like aphids, suck out nutrients from the plants, leaving them to die. Surviving plants are often infected by fungus even after the mealybugs are removed or become very weak. Mealybugs have an outer layer of white, waxy and fuzzy substance, which gives them resistance to pesticides and predators. The waxy layer can also be shed to protect eggs when they are laid, causing their numbers to grow very fast as they have not much natural enemies. Mealybugs can either grow on the leaf or the root, both being equally damaging. Soil affected by root mealybugs will need to be removed or else they will infect the next batch of plants in the affected area.
Mealybugs can be controlled the same way as aphids. However since they have a pesticide resistant coating, not all remedies may work. A chili and garlic spray mixture, which can be made by boiling equal parts of garlic and chili together and then diluted with water and some dishwashing liquid, will remove mealybugs from the affected plant. Plants like mint and basil can help repel them when planted nearby.
Aphids are insects that are invade plants and suck the juices of the plant. They come in many colors and can either fly or crawl depending on the stage of its development. They are very tiny but they come in clusters, making them easy to spot. Aphids suck the plant’s juices, denying the plant of its nutrients and causing it to die and wilt. They also multiply and spread very quickly and can overwhelm a garden in a very short time. They also spread diseases between plants as they go along and secrete a sugary substance called honeydew to get ants to protect them against their natural predators.
Aphids can be hosed down with water from infected plants to reduce their population, especially from under the leaf. Garlic juice spray also works perfectly in repelling and eliminating remaining aphids. Putting foil on the base of plants can also repel the aphids. Planting chives, mint and basil helps repel aphids, as they do not like the scent of these plants. Lastly, making mulch from banana peels also repels aphids as well. Do keep the garden beds clear of vegetation as these attracts aphids.
Garden Ants are ants that appear and live in the garden on a regular basis. On their own, they are harmless except invading a fruit or two, but they often brings their cows out for grazing on your plants. And those cows could be aphids or mealybugs which produces sugar for the ants while they destroy your crops. This is the main reason why most gardeners want to get rid of them because if you destroy the aphids, the ants will just bring more up from their nest so they, in other words, are the source.
Good news is that there are a few solutions available to repel the ants. Sprays made of tea, lemon juice or vinegar work very well although they need to be reapplied regularly. Another solution is to line the garden with chalk, talcum powder or flour around the plants as this also repels the ants and must be reapplied when it gets washed off by the rain.
Ants are very persistent in general and can be quite hard to manage, but with constant vigilance they can be avoided.
While they may be slow moving, snails can also damage crops as they feast on the whole plant when they are able to get near them. Like caterpillars, in small numbers the damage is not apparent but in bigger numbers they can wipe out entire garden plots as each snail can eat 2-3 times their bodyweight in foliage. Snails feed on plants and like dark, damp places and feed during the night to escape the heat of the day. Snails breed a lot as well and this could cause a huge infestation of them in a garden.
Once infested with snails, you could pick them out one by one, or use beer traps to lure them by burying saucers of beer in the soil. This somehow attracts the snails and they will fall into the saucer, allowing you to catch them the next day to relocate them.
Preventing them from invading the garden would involve sprinkling the ground with cedar or pine chips, which repels the snails. Another alternative would be to put stakes around the plant or cage them to stop the snails from reaching them.
While they may grow into beautiful butterflies, caterpillars can be devastating to your garden and crops. If caterpillars have invaded your garden, you will see specks of butterfly eggs on leaves initially, and then holes on the leaves when they hatch into caterpillars. They can come in small amounts or huge numbers which will effectively kill the plant as they chew their way through it. They usually come in seasons and are sometimes specific to certain plants.
Caterpillars can be easily prevented by using floating row covers to cover the plants and prevent the butterflies from landing and laying eggs on the plants. Another remedy that works mysteriously, but works is to wrap the base of the plants with cardboard. Another method to repel caterpillars are to spray a mixture of garlic and chilli juice on the plants.
Caterpillars may or may not cause huge amount of damages in general, but if they get out of control they must be stopped.