What Are The Most Active Summer Garden Pests?

Summertime is a popular vacation time for many folks, but it certainly is not for insects. It’s also during this time when summer garden pests are most active and pest management goes into full swing.

You can use insecticidal soap, Neem oil and beneficial insects to control the general insect population. However, sorry to say, the spray gun should get lots of use during July if bugs and insect damage is to be kept to a minimum.

Let’s consider, some of the insects and related pests which become active during summer months and against which control measures should be applied in July.

summer garden pests caterpillars chewing on a leaves

Now, some of these pests/insects do not occur in all parts of the country. You’ll need to rely on past experience as well as observation to help select the proper controls or sprays to use.

You will of course encounter the usual insect pest visitors to the vegetable garden and landscape plants ready to extract their damage:

July… Time For Japanese Beetle Control

In July Japanese beetles and the wonderful lawn grubs begin to feed on many kinds of deciduous trees and shrubs, particularly:

  • Apple
  • Elm
  • Linden
  • Peach
  • Willow
  • Horse chestnut

They also like roses, zinnias and the silks on sweet corn. Roses may also see their share of powdery mildew.

When the beetle population is unusually heavy, weekly applications may be necessary.

From the article: “How To Get Rid Of Japanese Beetles

Using biological controls and applying Bacillus popillae and enlisting the assistance of beneficial nematodes should reduce your grub population significantly. A few hardy adult beetles will surely emerge from the soil in the springtime intent upon consuming your flowers, vegetables and trees. To discourage them, apply a natural neem oil product generously.

You can buy natural neem oil intended for garden use quite affordably online or at your local garden center. Make an effective spray easily. Remember that with all-natural spray such as this, you must spray on a regular basis – especially after a rain.

Begin with a stronger concentration of spray (2 %) to kill off as many existing beetles as you can. Follow that up with a weaker mixture for prevention. ALWAYS TEST a small area for any potential reactions to plants before applying on larger spaces.

For a strong 2% solution try this recipe:

  • Four Teaspoons of Pure, Cold Pressed Neem Oil
  • One Third of a Teaspoon of Insecticidal Soap
  • One Quart of Warm Water

Mix the insecticidal soap with the warm water. Add the neem oil slowly and stir well. Fill your sprayer with the mixture and use right away. Shake the solution from time to time throughout the application to make certain the neem oil stays mixed with water.

You can make bigger batches than this; however, remember it’s best for the mixture to remain at a warm room temperature for even disbursal of the oil. Use the entire mixture within 8 hours of preparation.

This pest management solution can also be use to control, aphids, squash bugs, cucumber beetle, caterpillars, colorado potato beetle, and others. It’s a good all-around mixture.

Midsummer Spider Mite Troubles

Spider mites become particularly troublesome during midsummer dry spells and on plants growing under unfavorable conditions.

The different kinds of mites include red spiders, southern red mite and species named after their principal host like the

  • Spruce mite
  • Oak mite
  • Boxwood mite
  • Honey locust mite

The best time to control mites is early June, before they become very numerous.

Unfortunately they are so tiny that they are easily overlooked, and many gardeners don’t know they are abundant until leaves begin to turn yellow.

An easy way to detect mites is to shake some leaves or a small branch vigorously over a sheet of white paper. The pests will be dislodged and can easily be seen against the white background.

Drawing a circle with a lead pencil around each of the tiny “specks” will make their movement even more discernible.

Look for a miticide for home use, or consider essential oils for mite control. Make sure you follow the labeled directions.

Troublesome Plant Scale

By late June and early July, most of the-so-called armored scales, such as oyster-shell scale and euonymous scale on lilac, euonymous and other deciduous trees and shrubs, are no longer in the crawling stage.

They have now settled in their permanent locations along twigs and stems. The ordinary contact insecticides are not very effective against this stationary stage, but a spray like Malathion is usually effective. We also like neem oil to control scale.

The crawler stage of some soft scales like lecaniums and the cottony scales on yew. arborvitae and rhododendron are also controlled with Malathon.

If possible be as environmentally friendly controlling pest as you can. Try going down this pest control path:

Let’s consider insecticides for a moment.

Everyone knows and admits that most insecticides contain toxic materials. Also, these “insecticides” can cause death to humans when they are used under conditions of gross carelessness.

Make sure you read and follow the label and wear the proper clothing when applying any material.