The word ‘garden’ is often associated with descriptive words such as ‘peaceful’, ‘tranquil’, ‘beautiful’ and ‘inviting’. The problem, however, is that we aren’t the only ones who think so. While many of the living species in your garden are harmless, if not beneficial, there are a few creatures that can do a lot more damage than good. Here are a few examples of such pests, as well as natural methods of controlling them

Aphids
You know what they say- dynamite comes in small packages! These creatures are no exception to that rule. While they may be tiny, they can still cause a lot of damage to your plants.Plant such as Aster, Dahlia, Zinnia, and Cosmos attract aphids so be sure to plant them far away from your commonly used parts of the garden. Increasing the ladybug population in your garden will also help control them. Attract ladybugs by planting mints, fennel, dandelions, and dill. Aphids are known to dislike the fumes of onion and garlic plants too.

Fruit Flies:
These creatures use growing fruit in which to lay their larvae. Once the larvae start developing, they consume the fruit- damaging it. You can control these creatures by making a trap like this one on Garden and Home by using a cut-up 2-litre cola bottle with an apple cider vinegar and canola oil mixture, as well as some over-ripe fruit, in the base.

Lawn Caterpillars:
Often the culprits behind brown patches on your lawn, these insects feed on the roots of the grass. If you want to know whether or not it is this species causing the problem on your lawn, place a damp towel on a patch overnight and if they are lurking underneath the next morning, chances are, your answer is yes. While there are no natural alternatives to killing this problem off, you can use an insecticide that is aimed to kill only the caterpillars and not other beneficial species in your garden.

Lily Borer:
This caterpillar has very distinct markings. Black and yellow stripes form a pattern on its body. They enjoy feeding on plants such as Clivias and Agapanthus, as well as other bulb plants. As with most caterpillar species, the only true way to control them is by using an insecticide that doesn’t harm other species.

Mealybugs:
These tiny insects gather on plants and often look like a growth of cotton on the plant. They suck out the plant’s leaves to feet and when in large groups, can cause quite a bit of damage to the plant. To prevent these bugs from making your plant their home, take an ear bud and dip it in rubbing alcohol and place it on the bug clusters. Once again, ladybugs are natural predators to the mealybug so encouraging their presence will ensure a controlled population of the pests.

Mole Crickets:
These creepy looking pests can be identified by their larger forelimbs- used for digging. They are relatively large insects when compared to other garden pests. The feed on grass and dig tunnels under your lawn. Insecticides can be used to kill the younger ones shortly after being laid but they are, however, very difficult to kill once bigger.

Fleas:
While fleas don’t do too much harm to the plants in your garden, they can be an absolute pain when it comes to humans and pets. To get rid of these flying insects, plant lavender in areas most commonly used by your family and pets. Fleas dislike the scent.

Cabbage Moth Caterpillar:
These green worms are commonly seen chomping at the heads of cabbage leaves and other similar vegetables. They are often difficult to spot due to their colour and can damage the plant permanently if not caught early. To deter these pests, plant thyme and rosemary near your other vegetables. Boiling chilies in water and leaving them to cool down will create a solution you can spray over your plants to prevent the worms from eating them

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