In Your Garden, Bug Friends and Foes

One of the most important aspects of building a successful garden is managing the insects that invade as your plants grow.

How can you manage the bugs in your yard, and which are good and which are bad? Master Gardener, William Moss joined co-anchor Harry Smith on "The Early Show" this morning to give you some great garden insect management tips.

Obviously prevention is the easiest way of keeping bugs out of your garden. To keep pests from doing any real damage, make sure you fully inspect any new plant you want to bring home. Before loading the greens into your trunk, be careful to check under every leaf and even in the dirt for potential pests.

Easy and natural ways of keeping the critters away are herbs. They are offensive to many garden pests and biting insects, so it's often wise to plant these with any other plants in your garden. They are also great to have around the house and in the kitchen, and you get the added benefit of keeping unwanted critters out of your garden.

Herbs that often work well this way are rosemary, thyme, chamomile, sage, and lavender. If you don't want to plant them in the ground, simply place them in containers in seating areas just to keep them away from your garden guests. These only go so far however, so you will want to think about actual repellant products.

For some earth friendly insect repellents, Moss suggests:
Safer Brand yard organic gardening and organic pest control products.
Liquid Fence (which can also double as a personal spritz for yourself.)

If the pets have already found a way to your beautiful flower bed, sometimes you have to step up your game and use some insecticides. Again, Moss suggests finding brands that will not be harmful to the environment. OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) approves organic gardening products for this as well. The Safer Brand makes insecticides as well as repellants.

Moss reminds his fellow gardeners out there to "make sure if you are using insecticides in your garden, even the green ones, you need to follow the direction to the letter. Remember also, that when you are spraying leaves, you want to also spray the underside of those leaves. Pests often hide out there."

But you don't want to kill every single bug you see. Some insects are actually good to have around as an ally.

"Good guys are good because they pollinate and eat the bad pests," explained Moss. "Ladybugs and lacewings are voracious aphid eaters. Parasitic wasps are tiny but effective caterpillar killers. Praying mantises are general hunters and will eat anything they can catch including mosquitoes, grasshoppers, and beetles."

Moss named some of bad guys such as: aphids, grasshoppers, Japanese beetles, or froghoppers. There are all sorts of other pests that can easily be identified by getting a gardening book or looking them up online.

"Beneficial insects are becoming a more popular gardening tool. They are available at garden centers and online," said Moss. "Using them is a fun way to involve kids in gardening and the outdoors. Children can learn about ecology and the food chain as they release ladybugs and watch them hunt the aphids and mites."

For more gardening tips and information, visit William Moss Tv.