When it comes to gardening, there’s nothing more annoying than spending time curating and pruning the perfect space, only for it to be overrun by insects. A greenhouse is a great garden addition, allowing you to easily tend to plants and crops in all weather. However, from gnats to aphids, mites to whiteflies, they are also the perfect breeding ground for pest development. Due to the close proximity of plants and their warm, humid temperatures, greenhouse insect control is crucial to maintain healthy, thriving plants.
Where, outside, nature helps to keep insects under control, greenhouses offer the perfect environment for rapidly developing pest problems. While it’s impossible to guarantee a pest-free zone, there are several strategies gardeners can use to prevent plant loss and understand how to keep bugs out of a greenhouse.
Carefully Inspect Plants
Whether you’ve purchased your plant from a garden centre, moved it from your back garden or inherited it from a friend, chances are greenhouse pests will already be present. To prevent the accidental introduction of pests into the greenhouse, it’s important to carefully check every plant you introduce into your greenhouse for any insects. From changes in leaf texture or colour to webbing and fluff appearing on your plants, greenhouse bug infestation should be quite obvious. Spraying plants with insecticidal soaps, wiping leaves with a damp sponge or using a soft brush, there are many ways you can remove pests before they cause serious issues.
Monitor, monitor, monitor
Like anything, you can’t expect your greenhouse to thrive by leaving it to its own devices. Detecting any pest infestations early means you’ll be much better prepared before things get out of hand. Simply conducting a weekly inspection of your greenhouse can go a huge way towards keeping pest situations at bay. When monitoring, be sure to check a range of plants, as different species are attracted to specific plants. For greenhouse insect control, best practices advise checking at least 1% of the plants in your greenhouse each time.
While pests are generally brought into the greenhouse on plant material, others can enter through ventilators or gaps in the greenhouse structure. That’s why it’s crucial to ensure you’re taking the right measures so that your plants are properly protected. Specialist insect screening is ideal for keeping out common insects while also preventing beneficial bugs from escaping. However, be mindful of the fact that the gaps in insect screens are tiny and so maintaining proper airflow is essential. To compensate, it’s a good idea to widen vent gaps to allow air to flow more freely.
Keep things clean and tidy
It seems obvious, but it’s important to keep your greenhouse space clean and tidy to prevent the spreading of pests or diseases. Not only should you make sure you’re using clean or sterile soils, but it’s also crucial to keep tools and other equipment clean and sterilised to avoid greenhouse bug infestation.
It’s also a good idea, after each season, to conduct a thorough cleaning of the greenhouse itself. Traces of mildew, algae and general dirt can easily accumulate on the glass in greenhouses, and as plants need as much sunlight as possible to grow, it’s a good idea to regularly scrub down surfaces and remove any build-up.
Keep the surrounding area tidy
Maintaining a clean, mowed area around your greenhouse can help to reduce the number of pests you may find inside. Essentially, you’ll want to create an environment that is unfavourable to pests. Removing any weeds and keeping the area clean and tidy can go a long way towards reducing the number of pests that are introduced to your greenhouse.
While pests will always cause issues, the best solution is to prevent infestation, as once they’re inside, it’s much harder to get rid of them. By arming yourself with these helpful tips, you should be able to effectively and quickly know how to keep bugs out of a greenhouse and be able to deal with any issues before they become a problem.