Like most plants, strawberries may fall prey to destructive bugs. According to Colorado State University Extension, aphids, slugs, leafhoppers, earwigs and tarnished plant bugs are among the pests you may find on your strawberry plants. Controlling these bugs is important for the health and survival of your strawberries. In many cases, especially light infestations, you can get rid of bugs using organic products. If those fail, several commercial insecticides exist that can be applied to fruit and vegetable plants, including strawberries.
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Things you need
- Garden gloves
- Rubber gloves
- Insecticides (chemical or organic)
Put on garden gloves. Remove weeds and other debris around the strawberry plants as these provide shelter and food for bugs. Use a spade to dig up weeds if they cannot be pulled by hand.
Purchase a broad-spectrum organic or chemical insecticide. Organic insecticides such as insecticidal soaps will kill quite a few different types of sucking insects like aphids and spider mites.
Put on rubber gloves. Spray the strawberry plant foliage, applying the insecticide to the undersides of leaves as well as the tops. This spraying should be done in the morning or evening when the sun is not shining directly on the leaves; otherwise, you risk scalding the plants.
Spray again after a week, or at the time indicated on the label. Organic pesticides can and should be used more frequently than chemical pesticides.
Check the plants for bugs every time you water. You may have to apply insecticides several times through the growing season to kill all the insects.
Tips and warnings
- If the strawberry plants are failing but you don't notice insects on the foliage, you may still have an insect problem. Soil insects such as root borers could be destroying your plants at the roots. According to Texas A however, it is better to apply this before planting and may not be effective or suitable to apply after.
- Colorado State University warns that if you spray strawberry plants when they are flowering, you may harm beneficial pollinating insects such as bees.
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