How to Identify Common Garden Pests
It’s inevitable — wherever there are gardens, there will also be pests! Even well-tended gardens are likely to experience a pest problem at one time or another.
Pests can cause plenty of damage, from nibbling on your plants and vegetables to creating holes and tunnels all over your property. Identifying garden pests is the first step to controlling them, and the sooner that garden pest identification occurs, the better your chances of preventing a full-scale animal assault.
Garden Pest Identification Tips
While animals may visit your garden throughout the day or night, the best time for identifying garden pests is usually at dawn or dusk. Sit by a window offering a clear view of your garden and see what critters decide to drop by for a snack.
Some animals are nocturnal and you will rarely be able to see them, so be sure to check during the day for droppings, which are a telltale sign of their presence. Reliable garden pest identification can often occur simply by describing the size and shape of the droppings to a local wildlife expert. Holes in the ground in and around your garden usually indicate animal activity. Many animals also leave their own unique calling card. Below you will find tips on how to identify some of the more common garden pests.
Most Common Garden Pests
Depending on where you live, the common garden pests you may have to contend with can include:
- Deer — While they may be pretty to look at, deer are notorious garden raiders and can wipe out your vegetation quickly. Signs that you might have a deer problem include the presence of hoof prints in the soil that resemble an upside down heart, and with pebble-shaped droppings.
- Rabbits — Although rabbits typically do not cause as much damage as deer, a rabbit problem can be difficult to eliminate due to the animal’s prolific breeding. You might have a rabbit issue if you spot nibbled leaves and stems and small round droppings.
- Squirrels and Chipmunks — These burrowing rodents are common garden pests that can cause significant damage by dining on seeds, roots and bulbs. Uprooted bulbs are a sure sign of the presence of one or the other (or both). You will also likely come across their burrows; ground squirrel burrows run horizontally while chipmunk burrows tend to be vertical.
- Raccoons — These masked bandits will eat just about anything. They will think nothing of digging up your garden in search of worms. A garden that looks like an excavation site can indicate a raccoon invasion.
Repelling Garden Pests
I’ve learned a lot about how to repel pests during my 25 years of gardening. I’ve discovered that Havahart® Spray Away is an excellent product for deterring all types of four-legged creatures. I really like how this product makes repelling animals so easy. I just hook the unit to my water supply (I don’t have to hook up my hose, so there are no worries about getting sprayed!) and place it in the ground near the animals’ pathway.
The infrared sensor detects an animal’s motion and blasts it with a sudden burst of water. As you can imagine, this puts quite a scare into the animal, causing it to run away. It associates this experience with your yard and doesn’t want to return. I also like the fact that Havahart® Spray Away is a humane repellent that causes no harm to the animal. I recommend Havahart® Spray Away for getting rid of your garden pests once and for all!