For homeowners, backyard pests can be a relentless problem. Bug infestations, creepy crawlies, and critters setting up home in your home can be hugely problematic, and if you notice an infestation, then swiftly rectifying the issue is of paramount importance for the sake of both your family’s happiness and your home.
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However, pests do not restrict themselves to interior spaces alone. Backyard pests are not as often discussed as those that transgress across a property’s threshold, but they can be just as troublesome and difficult to remove. Below, we’ve detailed the most common types of garden pests, the problems they can cause, and a few suggestions as to how you can reclaim your outdoor space for human occupation only…
Picture the scene: it’s a pleasant summer’s evening, all your chores have been completed, and you just want to sit back and enjoy the heat as you read a book. Then, suddenly, your moment of peace and quiet is disturbed by a distinctive – and distinctly unwelcome – sound: the buzz of a fly, which is almost always followed swiftly by the fly landing on your skin and crawling around as if it had been invited. Even though you can shake the fly away, your peaceful evening has now been completely shattered, and the problem will only multiply if more and more of the fly’s brethren arrive.
Unfortunately, removing flies from your garden can be extremely difficult; they have their place in nature, and you’ll usually expect to see a few here and there when spending time outside. However, if the number of flies is bothering you or ruining your enjoyment of your outdoor space, it’s worth taking action – you don’t have to simply cope if you’re uncomfortable. As a first step, try making your garden – or at least your seating area – less attractive to flies by placing lids on trash cans and compost piles, and consider setting up DIY traps around seating areas. However, if you’re still experiencing consistent issues even after these measures, professional assistance is likely to be required.
Mosquitoes pose similar issues to flies in terms of disrupting your backyard’s peaceful atmosphere, but with the extra risk of experiencing uncomfortable bites. It’s therefore important to take mosquito infestations seriously, which largely means contacting a professional – you can try DIY methods, but these are variable in terms of success, and if you want to be sure of a bite-free outdoor space, a pro will always be your best choice.
The word “pests” often brings to mind creepy crawlies; undesirable creatures that are as tough to look at as they are to eradicate, and which most of us will naturally be glad to not have to confront every time we step into our backyard. Raccoons, on the other hand, don’t quite seem to fit the “pest” bill – they’re outright cute, with their dexterous hands and inquiring faces, and there are countless viral videos and GIFs online that demonstrate their scampish adorability at its very best.
However, as undeniably delightful as raccoons may be on video, their presence in your backyard is far from welcome, and you’ll soon come to understand why they are classified as “pests”. As a result, if you see raccoons setting up home in your backyard, it’s strongly advised to get more information about the issues they are likely to cause, and then seek professional assistance to help overcome the issue in order to protect your outdoor space.
Theoretically, it’s tough not to appreciate ants; they’re clever, resourceful, famously strong, and can even be pretty cute when viewed under magnification. However, when it comes to your backyard, all of the wonders of ants largely fall by the wayside, and they become a problem that needs to be fixed. Their predilection for poring over any food or beverage they find can make any al fresco dining experience extremely unpleasant, and the threat of bites is a constant issue.
In an ideal world, ants could be banished from human-occupied spaces and left to thrive without us having to know they exist. Unfortunately, ants don’t quite seem to be willing to keep to their side of the bargain, which means they will have to be actively removed if their presence becomes bothersome. While spotting the occasional ant here and there in your garden isn’t a cause for concern, if you see a large nest or numerous ants swarming around a particular area, then they’ve got to go – not least because their next target could be the inside of your home. Often, it is tempting to try and destroy the ants that you see, but this only addresses the superficial problem; for long-term results, you’ll need to find, and remove, the nest, which usually requires the assistance of experienced professionals.
5) Slugs and snails
Slugs and snails are the kind of garden pest that are often ignored, as their presence is – unlike many of the pests on this list – not particularly harmful to humans. Sure, there’s no denying that slugs and snails aren’t the most attractive of creates, but they move slowly, tend to keep their distance, and the chances of being bitten by them are incredibly slim, so it’s tempting to just leave them be. However, slugs and snails can pose serious problems for the plants in your garden due to the damage their voracious appetites.
Often, identifying snails and slugs as the perpetrators of any issues your plants are experiencing can be challenging; unless you see these creatures actively chowing down, the exact cause can be tricky to determine. However, there are a few telltale signs to keep an eye out for; if you notice any of these, it’s safe to assume that snails and/or slugs are likely to be the cause. Usually, the best deterrent is some form of barrier that makes plants difficult to access; copper tape is useful for pots and planters, and you can also buy small barriers that you can erect around plants that are growing directly from the ground. If you still experience problems, slug traps are also a relatively inexpensive option worth considering.
Another type of garden pest that is more troublesome for plants than for humans, aphids are often difficult to spot – but the damage they wreak cannot be underestimated. Aphids are small sap-sucking insects that can greatly harm your plants’ ability to thrive and inhibit growth, which is particularly problematic if you are growing vegetables or fruit that you hope to be able to eat in future.
In most cases, you’ll have to presume that you are experiencing problems with aphids based off observations of your plants – aphids are nearly invisible to the naked eye, so don’t expect to see a huge swarm of insects clustering around struggling plants. In particular, check to see if your plants have any sticky spots; this substance is known as honeydew, and is a common sign of aphid issues. Black spots, as shown in the image above, can also be caused by aphid infestations. To remove aphids, try using insecticide, or look to grow plants that attract ladybugs, who – as natural aphid predators – can help to take care of the problem on your behalf.
If nature has a bad boy, it’s the wasp. While wasps do have their uses, they also tend to be incredibly invasive, and will climb over any food or drinks you have outdoors without a second thought. Their stings, meanwhile, can be incredibly painful to experience. Wasps, however, do have their place in nature, and it’s natural to see a few of the beasts flying around when spending time outside; occasional transgressors can be usually deterred using DIY methods, such as repellent or by trap. However, if you’re seeing more wasps than usual, then you’re likely dealing with an infestation rather than a loner who happens to have stumbled into your backyard – which means a more robust approach is required.
There are guides online that can teach you even more about how to rid your backyard of a wasp infestation, but realistically, these are asking for trouble. If you try to identify a wasp nest and then remove it, the wasps who call that nest home will – somewhat understandably – see this as a threat and attack, leaving you with a number of wasp stings to deal with. As a result, it’s always best to call an expert if you fear wasps have setup home in your backyard; removing them yourself is simply not worth the pain and discomfort such an effort will inevitably cause.
When you just want to enjoy the delights of your backyard or garden, pests can be a ruinous complication to your plans. However, it’s important to remember that as worrisome as infestations can be, the vast majority can be resolved with the assistance of a qualified professional. When the removal is complete, you can look forward to many long, pleasant hours spent enjoying your outdoor space, with only the guests you actively invite for company.
This is a contributed post.
- Trash Can with attached lid
- Compost bin with lid
- Bug zapper
- bug trap
- mosquito trap
- flying ant repellent
- ant traps
- aphid insecticide
- plants that attract ladybugs: garlic, geranium, dill, bachelor's button, calendula, sweet alyssum, cilantro, parsley, queen anne's lace, butterfly weed, dandelion, tansy, fennel, butterfly weed, common yarrow, bugle weed, cosmos, maximilian sunflower, caraway, angelica, statice, feverfew, coreopsis, chives, coneflowers, and mint
- wasp repellent
- wasp trap
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