Pals or Pests? Getting to know these 10 common garden visitors
Gardening can be such an adventure at times. While most of us go into it for the reward of growing edible or beautiful foliage, those are the only visitors that we’re welcoming into our gardens lol. If you took this gardening quiz, you may be here just for the answers, if not take the quiz here first. Either way, this article is meant to help you understand some of these common garden visitors you may say. Whether they’re as cute as can be or they look menacing, some of these visitors could be pals, some are pests and some are a bit of both.
10 common garden visitors
1. Ladybugs – Pals
Ladybugs aren’t just cute or for good luck. They are considered a beneficial bug because they help rid your garden of crop-damaging aphids, mealybugs and other destructive insect pests. Adult ladybugs will feed on aphids and other soft-bodied, plant-eating insects. They also lay their eggs among the aphids or other prey so the emerging larvae can feed on the insects, too.
2. Slugs – Pests
Slugs and snails may be cute to look at but they’re leaf eating machines… and that spells PESTS for any garden. While they may be garden terrors, there are quite a few natural ways to rid your garden of these unwanted visitors. Some of these methods include; allowing for their natural predators to thrive, birds love slugs so you could consider adding a bird bath to help attract them and keep your slug population under control, and using coffee grounds is another natural method to consider… plants tend to love it too so it’s a win win.
3. Hummingbirds- Pals
Hummingbirds make for great pollinators. Because of the shapes of their beaks, Hummingbirds can pollinate flowers that can’t be reached by other birds. Consider adding a bird feeder that will attract them.
4. Chickens – Both
Garden chickens can be great for any garden, but they do come with a caveat. First, they are beneficial because they tend to help with pest control, they slugs and other critters and they’re great for nipping those weeds in the bud. Chickens also help improve the quality of your soil when they till the earth and because they create composting materials. But with all those benefits, chickens tend to get into everything so as long as you can figure out a way to keep them out of the plants you don’t want them to prune… you’ll be in good shape. Chickens can wreak havoc on perennials flowers and herbs. To keep them from digging up what you just planted, mulch around the plants with flat stones. Also consider adding bird netting and low arched fences to keep these garden visitors as more os a pal than a pest.
5. Japanese Beetles – Pests
Japanese beetles are another garden terror for sure. The adult beetles feed for about six weeks, destroying all plants in sight. One natural way to get rid of these unwanted guests is by introducing other beneficial predators, such as nematodes.
6. Rabbits – Pests
Rabbits are so cute and fluffy but they are menaces to your garden. They tend to eat plants down to the root. A few ways to try and keep rabbits at bay; motion detected sprinklers, chicken wire or by adding plant cages. Some gardeners plant marigold, which is said to deter rabbits. However, keep in mind that younger bunnies don’t always know what to stay away from yet, so the marigolds may not be effective with them.
7. Chickadees- Both
Chickadees are omnivores, which makes It easy to attract them to your garden during the winter so they’ll munch on insects during the summer. This can be a plus for getting rid of unwanted insects, however they may also get rid of the beneficial insects in your garden.
8. Deer – Pests
Another cute and furry pest, lol. Deer tend to think of your garden as a buffet. They do prefer flowing plants but they can be a pain to deal with in a garden in general. Some ways to deter them are putting up fences, the shiny cd method or planting really fragrant plants. Deer smell their food first so if a scent is pungent to them, they’ll be deterred. Herbs like lavender, chives, mint, and marigold are all great options.
9. Caterpillars- Pests
The main purpose of caterpillars is to eat. They need as much food as possible to get them ready for their next stage of life. While butterflies are pretty and can be a plus for your garden, caterpillars are garden terrors lol. Some ways to take care of these pests are attracting beneficial birds or using the help of beneficial insects like Green Lacewings.
10. Green Lacewings – Pals
Green lacewings are known as beneficial insects and are definitely a gardeners best pal. They’re known to eat many of the pests that you detest. They’re not too picky but they usually target mites, aphids, mealybugs, caterpillars and more.