Many people in our area grow their own produce. It’s fresh, affordable, and it tastes great. But did you know that your edible garden may unintentionally invite unwanted pests? It’s true. If your fruit and vegetable gardens are not tended to, you may begin to suffer issues with ants, stinging insects, and fruit flies that are attracted to rotting and fermenting produce.
Which Pests are Attracted to Edible Gardens?
- Ants: Ants are attracted to fruit plants for one of two reasons: the fruit is overripe and they’re feeding on it or the plant is infested with aphids, mealybugs, scale, or another honeydew-producing pest. It depends on the ant species.
- Wasps: In late summer and early fall, wasps become more attracted to sugary substances, including ripe fruit. They’ll swarm around your garden and other populated areas looking for a quick snack and they’ll attack anyone who tries to keep them away from their food source.
- Fruit Flies: It’s no secret fruit flies are attracted to overripe fruits but they’re also attracted to overripe vegetables too. In fact, these tiny nuisance pests favor tomatoes, melons, grapes, and squash. Fruit flies will lay up to 25 eggs a day on your produce and although they’re tiny, these pests can carry harmful bacteria that can grow on your produce.
What Plants Help Keep Pests Away?
Did you know some plants can help ward off pests? Here’s a list of a few plants and the pests they may help repel.
- Basil: Basil may help discourage flies and mosquitoes
- Chrysanthemum: Chrysanthemums have been known to help deter ants, ticks, silverfish, Japanese beetles, spider mites, and more. In fact, some insect repellents have chrysanthemum extract in them because of their effectiveness
- Marigolds: Marigolds give off a scent that’s been known to ward off mosquitoes, plant lice, and rabbits
- Mint: Mint smells refreshing and it may help prevent ants, spiders, and mosquitos from invading your garden
These plants may be helpful but keep in mind pests are clever and will often find ways past your defenses.
Is Your Edible Garden Protected from Pests?
While small insects like aphids are known to damage plants, larger pests like ants, wasps, and fruit flies are also attracted to some plants. But if you’re dealing with a pest infestation, you don’t want to turn to over-the-counter products as these can affect your plants. Instead, contact your local pest control company. They’ll be able to offer safe and eco-friendly methods to your pest control problem.