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How to stop Lygus bugs from damaging your strawberries

Protect Your Strawberries: Tips to Stop Lygus Bugs from Causing Damage

Lygus bugs are a common pest that can cause severe damage to strawberry crops. These bugs feed on the fruit and can cause deformities, discoloration, and even premature ripening. If left unchecked, they can decimate an entire crop. However, there are several steps you can take to prevent and control Lygus bug infestations. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to stop Lygus bugs from damaging your strawberries:

Step 1: Monitor your plants
Regularly inspect your strawberry plants for signs of Lygus bug infestation. Look for small, green or brown bugs that are about 1/4 inch long. They may also have a distinctive triangular shape on their backs. Check the fruit for any signs of damage, such as discoloration, deformities, or premature ripening. Early detection can help prevent the spread of the infestation.

Step 2: Remove weeds and debris
Lygus bugs often hide in weeds and debris around the strawberry plants. Remove any weeds or debris from around the plants to make it harder for the bugs to find a home. This will also make it easier to spot any bugs that do appear.

Step 3: Use row covers
Row covers are a protective barrier that can be placed over strawberry plants. They prevent Lygus bugs from accessing the plants and laying eggs. Row covers are especially useful during the early stages of the growing season when the plants are most vulnerable.

Step 4: Introduce natural predators
Several natural predators can help control Lygus bug populations. Ladybugs, lacewings, and parasitic wasps all feed on Lygus bugs. Introduce these predators into your garden to help control the infestation. You can purchase them from a garden center or online.

Step 5: Use insecticidal soap
Insecticidal soap is a natural and effective way to control Lygus bugs. It works by suffocating the bugs and preventing them from feeding on the plants. Apply the soap to the plants according to the manufacturer's instructions. Be sure to cover all the leaves and fruit.

Step 6: Rotate crops
Lygus bugs can overwinter in the soil, so it's essential to rotate crops each year. This will prevent the bugs from building up in the soil and infesting the plants. Plant strawberries in a different location each year, and avoid planting them in areas where Lygus bugs have been a problem in the past.

In conclusion, preventing and controlling Lygus bugs requires a combination of monitoring, prevention, and intervention. By following these steps, you can help protect your strawberry plants from these damaging pests and ensure a healthy harvest.

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