This is a general term for a wide range of insects, but in scientific terms bugs are a group of insects that feed on plants and other insects by sucking sap or fluids.

There are both pest and beneficial bugs encountered in gardens. Pest bugs include azalea lace bug an insect that feeds on the underside of azalea and rhododendron leaves, bronze orange and spined citrus bug that attacks citrus fruit and the green vegetable bug that attack a wide range of plants including beans and berries. Beneficial bugs that prey on destructive pests like caterpillars include assassin bugs and damsel bugs.

Generally, bugs are most common in the warmer months. Many bugs are called stinkbugs as they exude liquid when disturbed which can smell or injure skin and eyes. Prevention is the best method. Check your plants every couple of days during the warm weather and remove bugs by hand when there are only a few present. Wear eye protection, gloves and cover your skin when removing bugs by hand.

Control by picking off bugs, improving the growing condition of plants or using a safe insecticide such as EarthCare Enviro Pest Oil insect spray or EarthCare White Oil insect spray. Always remember to check the instruction on the label and spray both sides of the foliage. Repeat applications may be necessary to control the bugs. Never spray when beneficial insects and bees are active.

A healthy garden can also help prevent pest infestation. If your plants are strong and healthy, they may be able to handle and reduce the stress of pests and diseases. Applying Seasol regularly every two weeks during the year can help them to cope with environmental stress. Keeping plants fed with fertilisers such as PowerFeed All Purpose including Natives, better watering and appropriate light exposure can also help build tougher plants.

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