whiteflies! scale! spidermites! mosquitoes! slugs revisited!
whiteflies are tiny, tiny flies that lay their eggs on the undersides of leaves. you can identify the pests as whiteflies (as opposed to scale, a relative) by yellow, stunted plant growth (similar to the damage caused by aphids, another relative) and by the flurry of activity like that of a tourist’s snow globe when you water or move your plants. action should be taken upon first sighting, as whiteflies can multiply quickly.
yellow sticky traps are commonly used in greenhouses for identification and control, but nicotiana, or flowering tobacco, can be used in the garden as an early warning plant and trap crop. like aphids and scale, whiteflies secrete honeydew which ladybugs will enjoy, along with the pests. another handy option is to spray seaweed fertilizer on the plants, particularly on the undersides of leaves. the benefits are twofold–deterring whiteflies and foliar feeding. another option is brewing a strong tea from eucalyptus or rue to be sprayed on the infested plants. if need be, insecticidal soap is a sure thing, and can be sprayed on as a mixture of 1 quart water, 1 cup rubbing alcohol, and 1 tablespoon insecticidal soap.
scale, which also appears on the undersides of leaves and in the nodes between stems and leaves as white shell-like spots, can be easily scraped of with a fingernail or garden knife. handily, the same precautions and treatments used for whiteflies can be used for scale insects.
even creepier than aphids, spidermites come in just as many colors. they thrive in dry, hot conditions, and feed on thirsty plants, especially evergreens. identify them by the dusty webbing and chlorophyll-robbed leaves. like aphids, a forceful stream of water can significantly reduce spidermites’ population, especially if followed up with garlic-cayenne-dishsoap spray, or even a diluted glue spray (2 quarts water to 4 ounces elmer’s glue.) additional effective sprays include a coriander oil and water mixture, or neem oil if the numbers are up there.
everyone’s favorite summertime pest, mosquitoes, can be easily prevented–or at least reduced in numbers–with a few simple steps. they breed in stagnant water, so…pour out! refill! change that water! for rain barrels (that you obviously don’t want to be dumping out after a rain) apply a tablespoon of olive oil to the water’s surface to prevent new mosquito eggs from hatching there. replace water in birdbaths everyday, as well as pet bowls.
slugs still gotcha down? make sure you’re changing your slug pubs everyday! if you’re not sure which beer to use, here are the hilarious and fascinating results of a 1987 colorado state university study done in regards to slug beverage preferance rates (given of course, in budweiser units.) now i understand why my slugish college roommate drank michelob…
bud light .89
coors light .79
miller lite .57
n/a malt beverage 1.14
gallo pink chablis .09