|I had a vegetable garden last year that got eaten alive. I had a variety of small bugs and earwigs. My corn was black with little black (and sometimes blue) mite like critters. How do I prevent the infestation this year?
|According to Colorado State University, "Two species of spider mites attack corn in Colorado: Banks grass mite (BGM), Oligonychus pratensis, and two-spotted spider mite (TSM), Tetranychus urticae (Figure 1). Banks grass mite traditionally has been a corn pest throughout Colorado, while TSM is a recent problem in certain corn-growing areas of the state." So, you're not alone in your fight against these pests. Since mites love hot, dry, dusty places, they'll be happy in your corn field unless you begin chasing them away early in the season. The easiest way to do this is to regularly hose off the corn plants. You'll be rinsing off the dust and you'll be dislodging any mites that might be present when you hose the plants off. Rotating your crops will also help protect them from annual attacks of spider mites. While there are some miticides available for use to control the pests once they become established, they vary depending upon the growth stage of your corn. The best approach is to prevent them in the first place by rotating your crops (so overwintering mites cannot return to this year's crop), by periodically hosing off the corn plants and by restricting your use of insecticides so you'll have a high population of beneficial insects in your garden which can keep the bad guys at bay. Hope this helps!|