The battle of the bugs and beasts
The one drawback to outdoor living is the pests who will want to share your beautiful yard with you. From biting bugs to rooting raccoons, your yard can become a popular spot for all kinds of critters.
What to Control and How
Some bugs and furry critters are beneficial to your yard and should be left alone. Bumble bees and honey bees help pollinate your flowers, fruits and vegetables. Dragonflies and bats eat mosquitoes. Worms are essential for healthy soil, and ladybugs help control aphids who are harmful to leaves. But there are some pests you'll want to keep out of your yard to protect yourself and your plants:
Advertiser Links for Pest Control
- Mosquitoes - Aside from the itchy red bumps they leave, mosquitoes can carry harmful West Nile Virus. Citronella candles are one of the most common deterrents, but there are other chemical and non-chemical solutions.
- Mice and rats - These furry critters love seeds and are especially attracted to sunflowers, but they can gnaw into your home causing costly damage and spreading disease. Traps and poisons are the best way to control these fuzzy foe.
- Deer - They look peaceful and gentle, but deer have big appetites and can wipe out entire vegetable gardens in a matter of days. Visual deterrents and non-chemical solutions are the best way to fend off hungry deer.
- Wasps and hornets - Unlike honey bees and bumble bees, wasps and hornets don't play a very big role in pollinating your garden. Their sting can be quite painful and they often build nests in the peaks and corners above doors. Chemical sprays can destroy their nests while non-chemical wasp traps will manage the odd stray.
- Slugs - These slimy visitors can wreak havoc on a garden and chew holes in some of your favorite veggies. Make your garden hospitable to toads and they'll take care of the problem, or pick the slugs off your veggies yourself. You can also sprinkle coarse sand around the stalks of plants. The sand irritates the slugs' bodies, so they'll steer clear.
- Earwigs - Known to eat flowers and herbs and to deliver a fierce pinch, earwigs can be controlled with chemical sprays or trapped in shallow cans with a few ounces of beer, corn oil or dish soap and water in the bottom.
- Raccoons - These furry critters can cause a mess around garbage cans and can be very aggressive. Many pet and home and garden stores sell powders that mimic the smell of raccoons' predators' urine. Sprinkle it around your property to discourage the masked bandits from taking up roost.
Whether you opt for chemical or non-chemical solutions, it's important to control pests in your garden. If you choose a chemical product, be sure to follow the container's instructions carefully and keep the product away from children and pets.