Elm leaf miner…If you have an elm tree you probably know what I’m talking about. Most of the elm trees in the valley have been affected by this insect. A small fly-like insect lays her eggs on the leaf. Once hatched, the larvae tunnel between the leaf tissues to feed. This causes the leaf to develop a puffy brown area. Now, the larvae are at a point in their life cycle where they are dropping from the tree (yikes and yuk!) to the soil where they will continue their life cycle, only to be seen again next year when they emerge from the soil as the adult fly. Unless we get an incredibly cold winter to kill them off. A systemic insecticide will work but must be used in the fall or very early spring. Once you see damage on the leaves, it’s too late to treat. I must remind you with any systemic insecticide to avoid its use on, or near, a food crop and most importantly, keep the pollinators in mind before choosing a chemical treatment. These insects do not kill the tree.
Slugs….I don’t know about you but I’ve got loads of these things. It’s made me put my shoes on when I go out to get the paper in the morning. If you’ve seen holes in your plant leaves and a shiny slug trail, you have slugs, too. Use a bait to treat. Some are very toxic to wildlife, kids and pets but there are products that are safe for everyone except the slugs. Natria is one of those varieties and is also listed as safe to use in vegetable gardens.
Earwigs……holes in leaves and earwigs in every tight, dark place. I hate these insects, even though they are considered beneficial because they are decomposers. Yes, they do decompose old plant material but unfortunately they also eat the good stuff. Baits are effective for this insect but there are some tried and true home remedies, too. Place a dampened rolled up newspaper where you’re seeing damage. Collect them in the morning and throw them out. A short section of hose placed in your garden will collect a bunch, too. In the morning you can tap them into a bucket of soapy water and replace the hose section. Capturing them in a tuna can with a little vegetable oil is said to work, too. Set the tin in the ground so that the lip of the can is level with the ground.
Ants…..I’ve got ants, ants, ants. A few years ago I had ants in my house and managed to get rid of them. Now, I’ve got them again and I’ll be darned if I can get them to go away and leave me alone. Right now I’m using bait by Terro that they seem to love. I put a drop on a small piece of cardboard and they circle round like a wheel. The theory is they take it back and kill the entire colony. Here’s hoping.