Protecting your garden from insects in the summer

People are working hard to get those summer vegetables ready, but insects like them too.

Hanna Smith, an agriculture – horticulture agent at the North Carolina Cooperative Extension at Guilford County, shared some ways people can keep pests under control without harming the food they’re growing.

Smith says it’s best to identify the insect first.

“There are two different mouth parts on your insects. You’ve got your chewing mouth parts and then you`ve got your piercing, sucking mouth parts. The first thing to do is monitor the vegetable garden. You want to walk through a couple times a week, just kind of take a look around, see if anything has changed,” she said.

You can walk through your garden and turn the leaves over to see if there are any insects. It’s a process called scouting.

If you don’t see much damage, then for the most part, let it be.

“Hand pick it off and then just squash it. Handpicking is a vegetable gardener’s best friend, that way you cut down on some of that pesticide application,” Smith said.

If insects are affecting the vegetables’ growth, there are insecticides that can help, but it’s important to read the label carefully to make sure they can be applied in a vegetable garden.

Identifying the insect first is also key because you don’t want to spray a product that doesn’t control that particular insect.

It’s also recommended that you keep the weeds in your garden under control.

Weeds can harbor insects that will eat your vegetables.