Prep garden for bug battle

By Gregg Eyestone

The date of July 4 is a great reminder of our country’s birthrights. We have the right to bear arms and defend our property. This includes protecting our landscape from insects that want to injure our plants’ way of life. Now is the time to take up your arms to defend your property.

One pest that we often have to defend our plants from their ravage destruction is bagworms. These caterpillars live in a bag disguised with leaves from whatever plant they are feeding on. They can severely damage their favorite plants — cedar, juniper, spruce and arborvitae. A few found on other plants aren’t a real concern.

Any labeled insecticide for bagworms will bring them under control. Sufficient coverage with the insecticide to plant material is critical. They are small now and that is the best time to reduce their numbers.

Our turf grass is not immune to invasion. Although the signs of damage are not apparent until later, such as September, a strong defense now can fend off a bad situation. Two Grub Preventer products are applied in July to be effective when grubs that feed on grass roots are most active in late August. Products containing imidacloprid or halofenozide are used prior to visual turf injury. Other products are available that help control grubs when they are present on plants that have not been already treated.

Squash bugs are tenacious. You have to be on your guard to have a chance to keep them under control. It is imperative that insecticides be applied thoroughly when they just hatch from eggs laid on the underside of the leaf. Sprays should be applied under high pressure to create a small droplet size and sufficient turbulence to ensure penetration of materials to hiding places.

These bugs damage the plants’ plumbing, causing wilting and death to squash, including pumpkins. Adult bugs are less than or equal to an inch in size and grey and black in color. Eggs are generally laid in clusters in leaf vein angles.

You have the right, if you choose, to take up your sprayers in defense of your plants. The responsibility also falls on you to read and follow pesticide labeling. This is your best defense in warding off problems.

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