Five common Australian garden pests and how to get rid of them

Garden health

While there are lots of bugs that can be beneficial for your garden, others can be super destructive. If you’ve ever had an aphid infestation then you’ll know what I mean.

Fortunately, many garden pests can be controlled using simple, organic solutions.

Here are five common Australian garden pests and what you can do to rid your garden of them:

1. Aphids

There are more than 4,000 species of aphids and they vary in colour, with white, black, green, yellow, brown and even pink varieties existing. The two most widespread species in Australia are the cabbage aphid and cotton aphid.

As simple as it may sound, a great way to efficiently reduce an aphid population is by crushing the insects with your fingers or removing the affected part of the plant. Washing affected areas with cold water also works well.

2. Cabbage Moth

The cabbage moth is a common pest found in vegetable gardens. It lays eggs on the underside of leaves, eggs which spawn larvae that eat said leaves in abundance.

Encourage the predators of cabbage moth larvae into your garden – ladybirds, assassin bugs, lacewings and paper wasps. Also, remove any caterpillars you see and feed them to your chickens (if you’ve got any).

3. Grasshoppers

While you might not associate grasshoppers with garden destruction, in large numbers they can be very detrimental. Both adults and nymphs feed on grasses and broadleaf plants.

The best way to keep grasshoppers under control is by encouraging birds to nest in your garden. They will do a good job of reducing their numbers. Provide sources of water, food and nesting sites.

4. Snails and slugs

These slow-moving molluscs can damage seedlings, leaves, fruit, underground tubers and plant seeds, which can seriously affect your yields.

To reduce snails and slugs, clean up any potential breeding sites Snails and slugs love cool, dark, moist spots under boards, piles of leaves and old nursery pots, so get tidying.

5. Mealybugs

Mealybugs are small, soft bodied and covered in a white wax coating. They are pretty common and tend to affect ferns, orchids, ornamental plants, citrus plants greenhouse plants and trees.

A strong stream of water from a hose is often enough to blast mealybugs off your plants. Doing so daily will make a marked difference. Again, natural predators (see above) will help lower numbers further.

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