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Plant Insect Control

Because of the higher altitude and cooler nighttime temperatures, Colorado doesn’t have as many pests as some other parts of the country but it is still essential to stay on top of pest and disease control. Our gardening center can assist you with both organic and conventional methods of disease and pest control.

One of the drawbacks for using chemical insecticides are that they don't always discriminate based on insect species that they eradicate and can kill beneficial insects that you want in your garden. Care must also be used to ensure that chemicals don't run off into water supplies or other growing areas.

Beneficial Bugs

Fighting fire with fire, using beneficial insects to eradicate harmful ones is a very effective and environmentally friendly way to combat pests. Don't let the ladybug's adorable looks fool you, they're ninja warriors in cute polka dots shells. They eat aphids, spider mites, mealybugs, and the eggs of the dreaded Colorado Potato Beetle. We have your own personal army in stock!

Common Indoor Pests

  1. Whiteflies

    Often brought in from box store plants, these nearly invisible flying insects will soon take over your indoor gardens. They create a black sooty looking mold, which is a clear indication of infestation. Check any new plants that you allow in your home. There is no plant that is safe from Whiteflies.
    For Whiteflies, these products work well:

    Natural / Organic Control:
    SNS 203, Sticky Aphid White Fly Traps, Neem oil, or Safer Insect Killing Soap, Pure 3-way, Azamax
    Conventional Control:
    Azasol, Beethoven, Doktor Doom fogger. Avid, Mallet
  2. Scale

    Many people believe that scale is a growth on the plant, when it is actually a living creature with a hard scale type covering, making them not only unsightly but difficult to kill.
    Scale can live year round on your plants, so look for any sign before bringing in new plants from a nursery or gifts from other gardeners.

    Natural / Organic Control:
    insecticidal soaps such as Safer Insect Killing Soap and pyrethrum products such as Pyrethrum total release, and FoxFarm's Don't Bug Me.
    Conventional Control:
    Mallet, Orange Guard
  3. Aphids

    Aphids are probably surprising to find for many gardeners. They often see the results of aphids: black mildew looking marking on their plants. The actual aphids are difficult to see, they hide under the leaves and in the notches of the plant.
    A simple soapy spray is a good control for aphids. A good rule of thumb is to hold your plant upside down and place your open palm over the soil, at the base of the plant and swish the plant through warm, soapy water-soaking the undersides of each leaf well. Aphids will fall into the water and any leftover will be suffocated. Do this for any new plants to keep them from bringing in any unwanted insects to your established indoor garden.

    Natural / Organic control:
    Sticky Aphid White Fly Traps, Azamax, Organocide 3 in 1 Garden Spray, Take Down Garden Spray, Sucrashield, and Neem Oil.
    Conventional Control:
    Avid, Mallet
  4. Fungus Gnats

    Fungus gnats are an almost guaranteed sight in all but the best maintained indoor gardens. The adult fungus gnats are tiny black or grey flying insects that look similar to fruit flies. They can often be seen flying about after watering your plants. They deposit their eggs in the top few inches of moist growing mediums, which then hatch into larvae that are tiny (3-4 mm) translucent/white worms with a black dot on their head. A female fungus gnat may lay up to 300 whitish eggs in clusters of 20 to 30 on the surface or in the crevices of potting media that is rich in organic matter. Although the adults are harmless, feeding mostly on algae and decomposing organic matter, the larval stage feeds on the tender root hairs and feeder roots, slowing plant growth and inviting bacterial infection .
    All of the pests above are best controlled by prevention, early detection, and treatment, as well as sanitary growing practices. Using yellow sticky traps can be an excellent way to monitor pest populations and alert you to increases in pest pressure. This form of early detection can allow you to proactively treat your plants with an appropriate pesticide and closely monitor pest populations before they are capable of causing serious crop damage Keeping your garden clean of debris and dying or dead organic matter such as leaves, and also keeping the floors free of dirt can reduce the likelihood of insect invaders. Lastly, be aware that all of the insects mentioned above either pierce, rasp, scrape, or suck on our plants; because they break the tissue of our plants, they are capable of transmitting viruses for which there is no cure other than to destroy the infected plant(s). So stay vigilant, keep your grow room clean, and take action early; and maybe you can have one of the few pest free indoor gardens.

    Natural / Organic control:
    SNS 203, Fungus Pharm RTU, goGnats Concentrate, Diatomaceous Earth
    Conventional Control:
    Doktor Doom Total Release Fogger, X-Clude Formula 2, and Mallet
  5. Red Spider Mites

    Red spider mites are another pest that takes advantage of the mild temperature in your home, and attack all the plants living there.
    Spider mite damage is usually discovered because the plant starts to die. The mites themselves are tiny specks, and often go unseen. Severe damage will result in the plant being covered with fine, white webbing.

    Natural / Organic control:
    SNS 217 Spider Mite Control, Orange Guard, Zero Tolerance, Ultimate Wash (formerly Mighty Wash), Neem Oil
    Conventional Control:
    Doktor Doom Spider Mite Knock Out, Doktor Doom Fogger, X-Clude Formula, Floramite, Avid, Mallet,

Common Outdoor Pests

  1. Spider Mites

    It's tough to spot these pests — they're only 1/70 to 1/50 inch long. What you'll most likely see are signs of feeding: silvery stipples or spots on leaves. Many spider mites produce webbing, which is frequently visible on leaf undersides or, in severe infestations, drapes between leaves and stems.
    Spider mites suck plant juices and produce sticky honeydew, which attracts ants and may host black sooty mold. Most spider mites flourish in hot, dry weather and reproduce quickly. Drought-stressed or dusty plants tend to be targets for attack and leaves can become web-encased overnight. Spruce spider mites attack in cooler seasons of spring and fall.
    Other signs of spider mites: Leaves appear dull and may bronze or bleach in severe infestations; curled, stunted or puckered leaves; discolored leaves fall from stems
    Target plants include: Vegetables, roses, citrus, fruit trees, ornamentals

    Natural / Organic control:
    SNS 17 Spider Mite Control, Orange Guard, Zero Tolerance, Ultimate Wash (formerly Mighty Wash), Neem Oil
    Conventional Control:
    Doktor Doom Spider Might Knock Out, Doktor Doom Fogger, X-Clude Formula, Floramite, Avid, and Mallet
  2. Scale Insects

    There are two types of scale — armored and soft. Both form colored bumps on plant stems, leaves and fruit.
    • Armored scale: Has a hard outer shell; can kill trees Examples: San Jose scale, euonymus scale, pine needle scale
    Target plants include: Citrus, palms, roses, currants, grapes, shade trees
    • Soft scale: Has a soft body; doesn't typically kill the host Examples: Magnolia scale, tulip tree scale, cottony cushion scale
    Target plants include: Citrus and other fruits, ornamental trees and shrubs
    Scale insects feed by sucking plant juices and produce sticky honeydew that hosts black sooty mold. An infested tree may produce massive amounts of honeydew that coats objects beneath with a sticky film and attracts ants, flies, wasps and bees. Ants actually will help care for soft scale pests; control ants to help reduce scale problems.
    In most cases, spraying isn't recommended because beneficial insects help control these pests.
    Other signs of scale: Plants may appear water-stressed; leaves yellow and drop; tree bark can crack

    Natural / Organic control:
    Safer Insect Killing Soap, Pyrethrum total release, Fox Farm's Don't Bug Me
    Conventional Control:
    Mallet. Orange Guard
  3. Fall Webworms

    These caterpillars congregate at tips of tree branches, spinning silken webs. The gray-haired, black-spotted caterpillars may be yellow-green with a black head or tan with a red head.
    Worms feast inside webbing, increasing nest size as they grow. Feeding doesn't typically cause long-term harm to the tree, but the nest is unsightly and may reach up to 3 feet across by late summer.
    Other signs of fall webworms: Caterpillars gathering at branch tips; webbing surrounding branch tips; also watch for webs on branch tips of garden plants
    Target plants include: Nearly every tree except conifers; favorites are mulberry, elm, sweet gum, willow, oak, linden, apple and other fruit trees

    Natural / Organic control:
    Safer Caterpillar Killer, Zero Tolerance, Tree Tanglefoot
  4. Whiteflies

    Whiteflies swarm up in clouds when infested plants are disturbed. These tiny (1/20 inch long) flying insects are related to aphids and feed by sucking plant juices. Adults fly; immature forms feed on leaf undersides.
    Insects reproduce rapidly once summer heat arrives. Drought stress intensifies infestations.
    Other signs of whiteflies: Curled, stunted, stippled or puckered leaves; feeding produces honeydew, a sticky substance that hosts black sooty mold and attracts ants; leaves of squash-family plants turn silvery
    Target plants include: Ornamental plants; insects frequently attack coleus, fuchsia, sweet potato (edible and ornamental), tomato, grapes, citrus and squash-family plants
    See indoor control

  5. Grasshoppers

    Dressed in shades of green and brown, these well-known jumpers have large, chewing jaws that can make quick work of landscape plants when large numbers are present. These insects aren't picky, eating weeds and ornamental crops.
    Grasshoppers feed during the day, chewing leaves and stems. Natural predators include toads, skunks, coyotes and hornets.
    Other signs of grasshoppers: Ragged edges on leaves; leaf margins may have semicircular holes along margins; chewed areas develop brown edges
    Target plants include: Weeds, grass, clovers; in droughty seasons when weeds are scarce, grasshoppers target garden plants more heavily

    Natural / Organic control:
    Azamax, Safer pyrethrum, Bioneem,

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