Common Garden Pests

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One Sunday morning, I woke up nicely, got a cup of my latte, and went to my favorite spot in my beautiful garden to stretch out a little and take a sip of my coffee.

This was the best relaxing moment I ever had, but suddenly, I came across some flies wandering around in my garden.

I followed a couple to know where they come from; I was surprised and felt awful when I saw my tomatoes damaged by those fruit flies! What should I do?! 

What are the common Garden Pests you will come across this summer?

Fruit Flies are common pest 6-legged insects, usually brownish yellow or brownish-black in colour, and 2.5-4mm small. The life cycle lasts around 8-14 days for smaller fruit flies while for larger flies, 2-5 weeks only. They feed on fruits and vegetables especially if overripe, sugar, meat, food wastes, faeces, fermenting materials, animal blood, and other organic materials from animals.

You may see fruit flies stay where fruits or vegetables are growing and areas being fermented and processed. Fruits and vegetable gardens are one of their favorite places. Also, you may find them in the places where there are decaying materials such as animal wastes or manure.

Perishable items such as tomatoes, squash, potatoes, etc. from the garden are the cause of infestation inside homes, as mentioned fruit flies are attracted to ripened fruits and vegetables. They also breed in garbage, drains, cans and empty bottles, and some cleaning materials. They only need a moist film of fermenting material to be able to develop and live.

Though fruit flies may annoy humans and animals as the primary concern, they also pose health problems to humans as they have the potential to carry diseases through contamination of food. Life-threatening diseases such as Dysentery, Salmonella food poisoning, Cholera, Typhoid fever, Hepatitis, to name a few, while some fruit flies are becoming pests of fruits and vegetables.

Other garden pests you may encounter are the Cabbage moths (Mamestra brassicas) and Codling moths (Cydia pomonella)

Cabbage moths are serious pests in greenhouses and row crop systems if not controlled immediately. They are responsible for the severe crop damage of some plant species. They feed on many fruits and vegetables, especially under genus Brassica such as cabbage, brussels sprouts, and broccoli.      

The adult female moths usually lay their eggs on the leaves of any plants and eventually they damage the entire leaves by chewing those creating holes on each leaf. On the other hand, codling moths from the family Tortricidae, are considered major pests to some fruit crops like pears and apples. They usually feed on the fruits causing them not to grow, resulting in premature ripening. 

Leaf miner is another garden insect pest that feeds on the leaf tissue of plants. Leaf miners are considered pests by some gardeners and farmers as they can cause severe damages to plants in the garden and also many agricultural crops. They are difficult to control with sprays since they are protected inside the leaves. Some plants employ some patterns of leaf variegation to trick adult leaf miners and as a defensive strategy to avoid the attack. 

Serpentine leaf miner, a new kind was detected in Western Sydney last November and also in South East Queensland. This poses a significant threat to the horticulture and nursery production plant industries in Australia. The pest can fly, eggs, larvae, and pupae can be distributed by plant materials like soil, equipment when used. Larvae feed under the surface of the leaves which caused the damage. The entry of serpentine leaf miners follows the fast arrival of fall Armyworm, which caused major damage to sweet corn crops in Queensland and NSW.

Rats and Field mice or garden mice also love eating seeds and some vegetation especially the newly emerged leafy green vegetables. They are not only destroying the plants in your garden but also may bring infection through the spread of pathogens in your entire garden. Imagine, when an infected rat or mice dropped feces or urine on your plant, the infection can easily be absorbed by the leaves/fruits and when eaten, bacteria or viruses are likely to spread and may infect humans and pets as well. Rodents-borne diseases include Leptospirosis, Rat-bite fever, Salmonella, and Cryptosporidium. 

There are different kinds of rodents based on environment type, such as Field mice in rural gardens, while Common vole stays in agricultural fields and some Wood mice prefer woodland.

 It is easy to determine the presence of rodents in your garden, simply check the following Signs of Rodents for your reference.

  • If you see some visible marks as their pathways, they always pass the same pathway.
  • If you see some droppings either moist or dried.
  • If you see some holes near in food areas and ripped paper as used as a material in building nest.
  • If you see some damages on food packaging, fence in your garden with distinctive rat-bites and gnaw marks on growing fruits or seeds.
  • If you see some nests particularly in sheds, or in timber piles.
  • If you smell some rodents’ urine and droppings and hear some noises (scratches).

Any of these signs can show you the extent of rodent infestation in your garden, and tells you to act immediately before it’s too late!

Another common garden pest that you should check and worry about is Termites. They are attracted to moisture, over digging and over-watering to your plants or sprinkler systems may give them a reason to stay in your backyard. You are likely preparing nests for them by doing those activities. Remember, termites love wet or damp soil, and the infestation will surely your next problem in the long run.

In Sydney, Nasutiternes walkeri is the common species found mostly in natural vegetation areas. The species damage poles, wood on the ground, and some fences. Coptetermes acinaciformes is the most destructive species, building nests in living trees and even underground of the buildings.

When you see small tunnels in your garden, try to break a portion and when you come back the next morning and see the tunnels are fixed, this signifies that termites are present and active in your garden. Be cautious and be prepared to eliminate them as fast as possible, as termites can travel up to 50 metres from their nest, and your home will be next to invade.

How to control and prevent these garden pests?

The proper and fastest way to prevent any pests in your garden is to eliminate the sources of attraction. For instance, fruit flies love ripened fruits, cracked or damaged portions in the fruits in your garden should be removed immediately. Same with rodents, they feed on the fresh fruits or growing seedlings; it is better to take them away when you already see some fruits and transfer the seedlings to the elevated location where they cannot damage them easily. While for termites, since damp soil can make them stay in your garden, it is advisable to ensure your irrigation system has no leak and check regularly.  

On the other hand, the natural way of controlling leaf miners is through planting trap crops near your plants you want to protect. If you do this method, you may somehow prevent the leaf miners to attack your plants. 

By sealing all small gaps or possible access in your backyard, rats and field mice can be easily controlled. Removing garden clippings and keeping your garden clean are also used as rats and mice control. Also, ensure that no bird feeds or food wastes on the ground or near your garden areas. Rats have a very strong sense of smell and they will know if there are some potential foods they can get in the area.

The practical ways in getting rid of garden pests are easy to do but finding completely the sources of pests’ attraction and potential breeding sites can be a great challenge to any homeowners especially if these are inaccessible areas. And with these challenges, a pest control professional is necessary. 

We highly recommend Google’s 5-Star rated pest control company based in Sydney,

Safe Pest Control Pty Ltd., to help you out in your encounter with different pests in your garden 

Safe Pest Control, with almost 2 decades of experience and expertise in dealing with pest problems. Safe Pest Control technicians are experts in searching hiding spots, sources of pests’ attraction, breeding sites, and all entry points of different pests in your vicinity.

Safe Pest Control is also known for conducting pest inspection especially termites. This is done through the careful assessment of the infestation of technicians and after that; they will recommend some tailored-fit solutions with different options.  

Safe Pest Control is also a long-standing member of the Australian Environmental Pest Managers Association (AEPMA) which assures you on safe and effective pest control practices to be implemented. 

For cost-effective pest control services for your garden, call the experts, call Safe Pest Control! 

Dial 1300 119 085 now for immediate consultation and booking!