Plants and Pests: How Your Garden Invites Pests into Your Home
You want to plant your garden next week. Maybe you’d like to spruce up your home with some new houseplants. But you’ve had pest control problems in the past, and you’re afraid that ants, spiders, mice, and other vermin will destroy any flora you plan to decorate your home with.
Did you know that your gardening may unintentionally invite unwanted pests into your home? It’s true. Certain plants attract irksome bugs and critters while other plants deter and drive these bugs away. You can also grow specific plants to gather helpful insects around your home. These friendly bugs also rid your home of those nasty pests you’d rather forget about.
As you learn how to eliminate bugs and other critters from your property, you can plan your garden with confidence and enjoy the literal fruits of your labor.
Plants that Attract Troublesome Pests
Most people don’t know that the plants they bring into their homes or plant in their gardens attract destructive and annoying critters. Most household bugs and pests pop up because they detect one or more items in or around your home to eat or live in. Common invaders include:
- Boxelder bugs
- Cabbage white caterpillars
- Codling moths
- Gall mites
- Mice and rats
- Slugs and snails
- Tomato moths
- Vine weevils
- Wooly beech aphids
You have tried everything you can think of to rid your home of these pests. No matter how many times you use bug sprays or hire an exterminator, these pests quickly breach your defenses. So, chances are you have one or more plants that these creepy crawlers find delectable.
Common plants that attract pests include:
- Fruit trees and bushes (apple, cherry, raspberry, etc.)
- Tuberous vegetables (carrots, potatoes, turnips, etc.)
Plants that Repel Pests
Now that you’ve read through the lists above, you probably think that you’ll just avoid gardening this year. It looks like almost every plant attracts pests. However, even though it seems like most plants, fruits, and vegetables draw in one insect or another, you don’t have to shun a garden altogether.
Did you know that some plants and herbs repel certain insects and pests? Plant the following to keep your garden pest free:
- Bay leaves
- Lemon thyme
- Venus flytraps
Try some of these herbs and other plants to keep pesky invaders out of your home and away from your garden.
Plants that Invite Beneficial Bugs
You can also create a robust environment for plant-friendly bugs to live in. Even if you don’t like bugs anywhere near you, they pose a huge asset to you and your small plot of land. To invite these essential critters onto your property, you might not want to entirely weed your garden. Weeds and grasses create dark, attractive homes for centipedes, millipedes, and spiders.
You might also consider plants such as foxglove, Echinacea, and violas to bring in butterflies and bees. These insects travel through your garden and pollinate flowers. Your garden will blossom and flourish as these winged insects do their jobs.
Other beneficial bugs include:
- Assassin bugs
- Parasitic mini-wasps
- Pirate bugs
These valuable bugs eat, kill, or prevent harmful pests from destroying the flowers, fruits, and vegetablesthat you cultivate. They also protect you and your family from beetles, mosquitoes, and many other harmful bugs.
If you want to your garden or other plants to thrive this summer, you should consider companion plants. Companion plants are exactly what they sound like-they include herbs, flowers, grasses, and bushes that you plant near your other fruits and vegetables.
These plants entice friendly bugs into a cool little ecosystem that they will then protect from harmful intruders.
Place these companion plants in your garden to welcome helpful insects:
- Grass and weeds
- White clover
- Wild carrot (Queen Anne’s lace)
Grow these flowers and herbs to complement the vegetation you already have around your home. You’ll be surprised at how quickly your garden will flourish.
Other Measures to Take
Despite your best efforts, you might still have a seemingly unmanageable pest problem. When unruly pests devour your peaches, rutabagas, or squashes, they tend to travel towards your home. You then find different varieties of flies, beetles, and other insects scattered everywhere. If your home seems more like a bug hotel than a peaceful oasis, call an exterminator and discuss your options with him or her.
After you hire an exterminator to rid your home from undesirable bugs and other pests, check your home for any plants that attract bad insects and crawlers. Then, beautify your home with foliage and herbs that attract good insects-your home will look and smell amazing, and the good bugs won’t allow bad pests to return.