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How to control Lygus bugs naturally

Mastering Lygus Bug Control: A Guide to Natural Solutions

Lygus bugs, also known as tarnished plant bugs, can be a major pest for crops such as strawberries, cotton, and alfalfa. These bugs can cause significant damage to plants and reduce yields. However, there are natural methods to control Lygus bugs without resorting to harmful chemicals. In this article, we will discuss step-by-step how to control Lygus bugs naturally.

Step 1: Identify Lygus Bug Infestations
The first step in controlling Lygus bugs is to identify if there is an infestation. Look for signs of damage on plants such as distorted growth, wilting, and discolored leaves. You may also see the bugs themselves, which are usually brown or green and about a quarter-inch long. Check the undersides of leaves where the bugs like to hide.

Step 2: Encourage Natural Predators
One of the best ways to control Lygus bugs naturally is to encourage their natural predators. Ladybugs, lacewings, and assassin bugs are all natural predators that feed on Lygus bugs. You can attract these predators by planting flowers such as dill, fennel, and yarrow, which provide nectar and pollen for the insects.

Step 3: Use Row Covers
Another effective way to control Lygus bugs is to use row covers. Row covers are lightweight fabrics that are placed over plants to protect them from pests. They allow sunlight and water to pass through but keep bugs out. Row covers should be placed over plants before Lygus bugs become a problem.

Step 4: Rotate Crops
Rotating crops is another way to control Lygus bugs naturally. Lygus bugs prefer certain crops such as strawberries and alfalfa. By rotating crops, you can break the life cycle of the bugs and reduce their population. Planting crops that are not attractive to Lygus bugs can also help.

Step 5: Use Insecticidal Soap
If natural methods are not effective, you can use insecticidal soap to control Lygus bugs. Insecticidal soap is a natural and safe alternative to chemical pesticides. It works by suffocating the bugs and disrupting their cell membranes. Insecticidal soap should be applied directly to the bugs and the undersides of leaves where they hide.

In conclusion, Lygus bugs can be a major pest for crops, but there are natural methods to control them. By identifying infestations, encouraging natural predators, using row covers, rotating crops, and using insecticidal soap, you can control Lygus bugs naturally and protect your plants.

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