When it comes to common garden pests, Arizona is not immune; despite what the desert landscape looks like to outsiders. Arizonans also struggle with many pesky pests that thrive on grazing off our delicious tomatoes and veggies. The seasoned gardener may have a keen eye when it comes to identifying pests, but still have problems getting rid of the pests damaging plants.
For those who have difficulty identifying these pests, we’ve compiled a “mug shot” list of the common garden pests that like to play house in our gardens, and a list of remedies for protecting our plant life from them:
The most popular variety in Arizona is the Tomato Hornworm. As you may have guessed, these large, fat caterpillars enjoy feeding on the leaves and fruits of tomatoes, peppers, potatoes and eggplant. The first and often only step to take in protecting your plant life is hand removal of the caterpillar(s). We suggest waiting until the first damage to the plant is noted before applying a product specific to your plant. We don’t recommend spraying just any insecticide on edible plants.
In Arizona, the monsoon leads to a jump in the number of grasshoppers, particularly from late August to early October. The number of generations varies from year to year and depends on the duration and quantity of monsoon storms. We suggest covering plants with fabric row covers. Grasshoppers have a tendency to eat all plants, often wiping out entire gardens.
Arizona has 318 native species of ants, and they like to nest just about anywhere, but are commonly found in garden lawns forming ant hills. Ants are garden helpers in many ways, and feed on many of the insects that live in our gardens. However, these pests have been known to ruin a lawn picnic or two. Getting rid of ants can be quite the challenge. Bug & Weed Mart has a number of effective treatments to eliminate these pests. We recommend that you keep a supply of granular ant bait in your shed or garage (storing the bait granules away from heat or direct sunlight at all times), and spread it around the exterior of your property at first sight.
If caterpillars, grasshoppers, ants or any other garden pests are bugging you, stop by any of our five valley stores and our friendly, knowledgeable team of experts will be happy to help.