How to get rid of greenhouse pests. It’s something anyone with a greenhouse needs to know, and we’ve got you covered with this article. Gardening inside a greenhouse can give your plants a certain amount of protection, but pests can still become an issue. In a greenhouse, your plants are all housed together in a contained area. For this reason, it’s important to stop an infestation before it affects your entire garden. If pests still find their way in, be sure to eliminate them before they get out of hand and spread. Here’s how to get rid of greenhouse pests once and for all.
Pests to Watch Out For
There are many different insects, bugs, rodents, and animals you’ll want to keep out of your greenhouse. Aphids, gnats, and whiteflies are some of the most common insects drawn to gardens. But you may also see pill bugs, sow bugs, mealybugs, scale, mites, or thrips. Keep a close eye on the underside of your plant’s leaves and the top layer of their soil. Make sure nothing is taking up residence there. Checking for bugs on a regular basis will ensure you can catch an infestation before it can even get started.
Tiny insects aren’t the only creepy crawlies you need to watch for. Snails, slugs, and caterpillars would love to chow down on your plant’s leaves as well. Even if your greenhouse is sealed, these guys can sneak in under the lips of pots or inside drainage holes. Mice, groundhogs, and other small rodents can become an issue as well. If your greenhouse has any cracks or holes they can slip through, you’ll want to patch those.
By far, the easiest form of pest control is preventing pests from getting into your greenhouse in the first place. Once they’re in, getting rid of them can be a hassle. One of the best means of prevention is to install a screen on every opening, including windows, doors, and vents.
Screens prevent pests from wandering inside, but they won’t stop them from sneaking onto items you bring into your greenhouse. Keep pests out by washing off gardening tools you bring in. Check new plants for any bugs, keep pets out. And if you want to be extra careful, change your shoes before entering your greenhouse. Also make sure you don’t have any insect-ridden plants growing around your greenhouse. This will make it even easier for these pests to find their way inside.
Greenhouses are often warm and moist, which is a great atmosphere to grow your plants in. Unfortunately, it can also be a very attractive environment for insects. Overly moist soil is the perfect breeding ground for gnats and pill bugs. Cover the top layer of soil with small pebbles so gnats can’t lay eggs or hatch in the soil. Also consider using self-watering planters that will water the roots from below so the top layer of soil stays dry.
Some pests have natural enemies that will protect your plants. It’s helpful if you can attract ladybugs and lacewings into your greenhouse. These “good bugs” will feed on the insects that are harmful to your plants, such as aphids and mites. These beneficial bugs consume pollen and nectar. Plant some pollinating flowers, such as daisies, yarrow, or dill to lure them in. You can also purchase ladybugs and lacewings if you’re having trouble attracting them naturally.
Physical Pest Control Methods
If pests have already taken up residence in your greenhouse, manually removing them should be your first step. You can handpick caterpillars, slugs, and snails off your plants or scrape scale off if you see them attached to the underside of leaves.
If pests have already taken up residence in your greenhouse, manually removing them should be your first step. Handpick caterpillars, slugs, and snails off your plants. Also scrape scale off if you see them attached to the underside of leaves.
Aphids, mites, mealybugs, and whiteflies can usually be sprayed or washed off your plants with a hose or spray bottle. This process can be long and tiresome. And it may need to be repeated every 2-3 days, until the pests have disappeared completely. However, it’s totally safe and natural, using no harsh chemicals or pesticides. You can even use a little bit of dish soap to help kill the bugs. With this method, you won’t be harming your plants or putting toxic chemicals into your soil.
Sticky traps are very handy for any flying pests, such as whiteflies, gnats, and winged aphids. Traps will also act as a monitoring system that will indicate the insect’s presence before a full-blown infestation takes hold.
If you have a rodent problem, you could simply set up a few mouse traps. But if you can’t bear to kill mice or other rodents, there are other, more humane, options. You can deter rodents and other pests from coming around with an ultrasonic pest repeller. Or, as another non-fatal option, use live animal catch and release traps.
How to Get Rid of Greenhouse Pests with Insecticidal Soaps & Sprays
How do you get rid of greenhouse pests if an infestation goes beyond the prevention and physical pest control stages? You may need to try an insecticidal soap or spray. Insecticides are more effective at killing pests such as aphids, mealybugs, mites, whiteflies, and thrips. But they are obviously more expensive than simply washing bugs off with water. Also, insecticides may harm fish or other insects. So, if you’re using an aquaponics system or beneficial bugs, be careful about the type of insecticide you use. Also watch how much of it you put on your plants.
How to Get Rid of Greenhouse Pests - The Wrap-up
Being aware of the pests you might find in your greenhouse and following every preventative measure will save you time. It also saves money and the headache of trying to beat back a full-scale infestation. If your pest problem gets bad, you may need to throw a plant or two into the compost bin. And of course, no one wants to see that happen. There is a lot that can be done before you get to the drastic measures stage though. Just be aware of what you’re bringing in to your greenhouse and keep things as sealed up as possible. Also watch your plants closely so you can eliminate insects before they have a chance to really set up shop.