One of the more common problems that can face a gardener is actually a fairly small, two pronged attack. This problem is ants and scales. Ants, as you know, are a type of insect that can show up just about anywhere (even inside). What you may not have known is that scales is also an insect problem that can face many different kinds of plants, even trees. Luckily dealing with ants and scales is a fairly easy thing to do, as long as you keep in mind a few simple ideas.
- When scales can appear. Most often, scales will appear in the spring time and summer, shortly after the eggs are laid by mature insects. On trees and other plants these will first appear on the new growths that typically appear on these plants around those time frames.
- Appearance of scales. When scales appear, they will show up looking like very small insects that are no more than 1/5 inch big, and may look like oval, legless little bumps (for the females), and small yellow winged bugs for the males. The baby bugs (or larvae) typically look like small meal bugs.
- Treating scales. There are several different methods that you can use for dealing with scales, and many of them can be found around the home. Typically the first way that you can deal with the scales is by first removing the scales by scraping them off with your fingers, or another tool. Once you have done that, wash the plants with the use of a soap and horticultural oil mix. Be sure that when you are using this mixture that you are using only insecticidal soap. The mixture should be about 1/2 teaspoon of the soap, 1/4 teaspoon horticultural oil, and 1 quart of water. Thoroughly wash all the leaves, and ensure that you also rinse all of the soap mixture off. Repeat this as necessary whenever you see any of the bugs reappear.
- Ants appear. In exterior gardens, ants can often appear whenever the weather begins to warm up. Unfortunately, if the nest of ants is indoors or near to your home, they can appear all year round.
- Treating ants. Treating ants can be kind of tricky, though it is possible to do. First avoid using any pesticides, since this can have dangerous results if you use them inside. Rather create a "barrier" around the plants that the ants will not want to go through. Some of the best "organic" solutions are to use things like crushed mint, chalk, or Cream of Wheat cereal. Once you have created the barrier, track down the nest and remove it.