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Debugging the garden

Bugs can be driven out when you know what you're fighting

Bugs can be driven out when you know what you're fighting

August 22, 2004|by ANDREA ROWLAND

andrear@herald-mail.com

Who wants to butter up a fresh ear of corn just to bite into a European corn borer?

These and other pesky garden insects can do more than disrupt a dining experience. Bad bugs can defoliate a plant's leaves, feed on roots or flowers, transmit both bacterial and viral diseases, and create wounds that may help fungal pathogens enter the plant, according to information from the Department of Entomology at Pennsylvania State University's College of Agricultural Sciences, www.ento.psu.edu on the Web.

Pennsylvania Integrated Pest Management at Penn State lists asparagus beetles, Mexican bean beetles, tomato hornworms, cabbage worms, European corn borers, aphids, squash bugs, squash vine borers, Colorado potato beetles, cucumber beetles and slugs as some of the most common garden pests, said Chris Mayer, coordinator of Franklin County Master Gardeners in Chambersburg, Pa.

Identifying offending garden pests is the first step to managing destructive insects - preferably without insecticides, she said. In addition to bug-specific control measures, crop rotation can help prevent insect damage, Mayer said.

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"If you plant the same crop in the same place year after year, the insects get accustomed to that," she said. "It makes it real easy for them to find the plant that they love."

For more information about garden pests and how to prevent or control them, contact your local agricultural extension office or go to the Pennsylvania Integrated Pest Management Web site at paipm.cas.psu.edu/problemSolv.html on the Web.

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