Insect Pest Control

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  1. Grub Worm Control
  2. Major Problem With Ants
  3. What Is a Non-Toxic Rat Poison for the Garden?
  4. Plant Pests
  5. Vegetable Oil
  6. What Can Be Done About Town Ants?
  7. Scale
Asked by Anonymous on December 19, 2010
Grub Worm Control

I am thinking of using milky spore or nematodes in my yard and garden, but I don’t want to hurt my earthworms. Will either of these affect earthworms?

ANSWERS
Nikki
Certified GKH Gardening Expert

Neither milky spore or nematodes affect earthworms. They are also safe for humans and pets. So go ahead and use them without any worries.

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Asked by ronnie on December 29, 2010
Major Problem With Ants

I live on the Pacific Coast of Mexico, tropical climate, exotic flowers. My garden has been overtaken by ants of all types, first leaf cutters– horendous, but seem to have gotten rid of them, then various non-aggressive types. But for some time now red ones, about 1 cm long, have begun making nests under the centers of plants, digging the dirt up into a hill easily 2 feet above ground level. You can’t hardly see some of the plants! I have used all locally available options; the most favored were granules placed into the nest, but all that happens is they relocate a few feet away. One area has “Luz de Bengal, ” which has several shoots per plant and is so infested that I feel I may have to dig up all the plants. I would REALLY appreciate your help!

ANSWERS
Nikki
Certified GKH Gardening Expert

Ants can become a problem, and it sounds as if you may be dealing with fire ants (the red ones) at this time. There are numerous types but all can usually be dealt with the same way. These articles should help you with your battle: http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/plant-problems/pests/insects/get-rid-of-ants.htm
http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/plant-problems/pests/keeping-ants-of-flowering-vines-vegetables-and-flowers.htm

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Asked by Anonymous on December 30, 2010
What Is a Non-Toxic Rat Poison for the Garden?

Which poison do you normally use / recommend in your gardens? We have had discussions with the leading pest control agencies in our country and every poison they recommend gets turned down on “environmental” grounds. Meanwhile the problem is just exacerbating. I am not sure whether this is, technically, a gardening question, but would greatly appreciate your suggestions. Rat traps would, of course, be used. I don’t think anyone here does an ultrasound method, so that just leaves us with poison used in a very controlled manner under the supervision and control of a responsible company/agency.

ANSWERS
Heather
Certified GKH Gardening Expert

I am not an expert, but I have heard that mixing equal parts of flour, sugar and either baking soda or boric acid (Borax laundry detergent) is an organic, environmentally friendly and effective rat killer. Place it in areas that the rats go and they will eat it. The baking soda one is supposedly also safe for domestic animals as it kills the rats by swelling their stomach, and domestic animals like cats and dogs are able to relieve the swelling by belching and, therefore, are not hurt by the poison.

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Asked by Anonymous on January 3, 2011
Plant Pests

Are spider mites and mealy bugs the same? The same substance comes under the leaf and looks white, sticky and powdery.

ANSWERS
Nikki
Certified GKH Gardening Expert

No, they are not the same. They are two different types of bugs. That being said, their treatment is very similar. Here are some articles to help you with dealing with them:
http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/plant-problems/pests/mealybugs-white-residue-on-plants-leaves.htm
http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/plant-problems/pests/insects/spider-mite-treatment.htm

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Asked by Anonymous on January 28, 2011
Vegetable Oil

Which vegetable oil is the best to use when making spraying oil (for plants)?

ANSWERS
Nikki
Certified GKH Gardening Expert

While basically any type of vegetable or cooking oil may work (by suffocating the bugs), I would recommend the use of neem oil instead. It is very effective and safe for beneficial bugs as well as for humans and pets. Here is some information that may help:
http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/plant-problems/pests/pesticides/neem-oil-uses.htm

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Asked by Dewey Hill on January 30, 2011
What Can Be Done About Town Ants?

They strip all the green from the garden plants and some other plants

ANSWERS
Heather
Certified GKH Gardening Expert

This article has some suggestions:
http://citybugs.tamu.edu/factsheets/landscape/ants/ent-1002/

A systemic solution was recommended by another extension service, but they did not name a product. A systemic product I like is neem oil. It gets into the plants and will kill off anything that eats the plants, so I would add that to the TAMU recommendations.

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Asked by Anonymous on February 9, 2011
Scale

I have a customer that has moderate scale on about 20 shrubs we recently installed. They don’t appear to be active, leading me to believe the nursery I bought them from has done their job by keeping them sprayed. My question is this: Are scale active in winter time? Does cold weather minimize or kill scale?

ANSWERS
Nikki
Certified GKH Gardening Expert

They are less active in cold, but cold is not a guarantee that they will be eliminated. Consider spraying the plants with neem oil. We have found it to be very effective on killing scale. Here is more information: http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/plant-problems/pests/pesticides/neem-oil-uses.htm

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