UF IFAS Bay Co. helping to identify harmful pests in your garden

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB)- The University of Florida Institute of food and agricultural sciences encourages gardeners to keep an eye on their gardens this summer.

While some bugs may be helpful, others can harm your crops. Julie McConnell said it’s common to see bugs in your garden, but it’s important to know which ones are pollinators and which are pests.

“They’re not all pests but we definitely have some that will feed on our vegetable crops so one of the most important things you can do is prevention,” she said.

Prevention methods include planting the right crops at the right time and monitoring the fertilizer and amount of water and sunlight. While it’s important to watch the health of your plants, it’s also important to keep an eye out for bugs that could be causing harm on a regular basis.

“If you can go out and look at the plants from top to bottom and look for feeding damage, look for insects present, and then be able to identify which bugs are harmful as opposed to beneficial,” said McConnell.

You can also use pesticides to rid of harmful bugs, but check the labels and make sure they’re safe to use on crops. UF IFAS representatives can even help you identify bugs by sending them a picture of the pest or the damage caused by it.

With the proper education, your garden can thrive all summer long.

“If you monitor your garden and really get out there, if not daily then at least twice a week, you can really keep things from getting out of hand where you can’t get it under control,” she said.

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