According sources, soil pests are insects that spend a great portion of their lives in the soil. This bests includes but not limited to bugs, weevil, leatherjacket, beetles and flies. Some of these pests are harmful because they cause a lot of damage to bulbs and roots of plant eventually killing the plant. There are also other soil pests that do not eat plants roots but they spend a part of their lives in soil developing later to emerge and become plant eating insects. There is also a group of soil pests that is not harmful but beneficial to the soil and plants. Theses pests prey on other pests and also perform useful tasks such a nitrogen fixation in the soil. Other insects help crops such as eggplants, squash, melons and cucumber to pollinate.
In practicing pest control, the time of the year is the major variable that an individual should be concerned with as not all targeted pests will be in the soil at a particular moment. Different pests spend during a season several times in the soil, while others are ever present. Others are only available once per year. Another important strategy for pests control that I found on dirtmamas.ca is to recognize the beneficial pests and learning about their diets, behaviors and their life cycles. A combination of cultural and mechanical strategies works well in reducing harmful pests without interfering with the beneficial insects. Some of these strategies include;
1. Crop rotation. This is alternating of crop plant planted every season. Planting of a single crop in the same piece of land continuously leads to population increase especially of soil dwelling pests such as maggots, wireworms and grubs. If the crop is susceptible to one of the best replace it with a crop that cannot be harmed by such pest.
2. Use of natural enemies. For good pest control one should recognize and introduce insects that prey on the undesired pests. Examples of these insects are spiders, predatory flies, mites and bugs.
3. Use of row covers. Use of floating covers only allows water, light and air through to plants, blocking any pests. These covers are placed over young crops till they are big enough to fight off pests or until when the threat of pests is eliminated. These covers should be removed about four to six weeks before the temperatures rises beyond the crops requirement.
4. Growing of healthy, vigorous plants. Weak plants are more susceptible to attack by pests and suffer from great damage. A plant can be weakened by too much or too little fertilizer or water. A farmer should also ensure that the level of soil pH is that required by the plant for it to remain healthy and less threatened by pests.
5. If those cultural and mechanical strategies don’t work, one can opt to deploy the use of pesticides. In the use of pesticides care should be focused on using only the right amount needed to treat the crop that requires treating. Spot treatments are practical and effective for home gardener. Its however worth to note that use of pesticides also kills both harmful pest and beneficial insects.