Bugs are little buggers that can give you nightmares and sleepless nights, especially if you have a large garden. One of the challenges that gardeners often face is keeping bugs and pests at bay from their yards. Although there are several ways of getting rid of pesky little bugs, they have a habit of coming back. Summers are specifically favorable for these bugs to thrive, making your life miserable.
Mustard bugs are one of those little pesky pests which is the last thing you would ever want in your garden. These beetle-looking bugs can cause havoc for your mustard plants. Hence, as soon as you notice the bugs, you should gear up with the essentials to kill them and make an ambiance that restricts their return.
Keeping this in mind, we have created this post to essentially focus on some of the proven methods to get rid of mustard bugs. But before we delve deep into the crux of the article, we will be exploring a bit more about these bugs.
What are Mustard Bugs?
Bugs are a constant problem with mustard plants. According to researchers, mustard bugs attack mustard plants from the air. And this is likely one of the key reasons for permanently repelling these bugs has become the most difficult task.
If not controlled promptly, mustard bugs can cause serious damage to the plants, resulting in significant losses in mustard. It is also important to remember that no mustard plant variety can endure the onslaught of these insects. These bugs can bore holes in leaves, suck the cell sap from the leaves, and produce pods, among other things. Whatever these bothersome little bugs do, keep in mind that the end consequence is always massive mustard plant damage.
Do Mustard Bugs Cause Diseases?
Yes, bugs can cause many severe diseases in mustard plants.
Most Common Diseases Caused by Mustard Bugs
#1. Downy Mildew
This disease can retard the growth of mustard plants. Downy mildew can also kill the mustard seedlings. Some of the common symptoms to look for are lesions on spikelets, necrosis, and fungal growth on leaves.
#2. Powdery Mildew
Powdery mildew is one of the most commonly found diseases in mustard plants caused due to bug infestation. If you find a white powder later on mustard leaves, you should inspect deep to analyze if powdery mildew affects your plants. This disease usually impacts the matured leaves, causing the restriction of lights to enter the leaves needed for photosynthesis.
New (younger) plants and seedlings are frequently the first to show signs of damping-off. If your mustard crops are suffering from damping-off, you’ll observe the plant falling soon after it emerges.
#4. Mosaic Virus
The mosaic virus causes irregular leaf mottling, stunted leaf growth, curled leaves, dwarfed plant growth, and limited fruit and flower production. People sometimes confuse this disease with a nutrient shortage or herbicide harm since the majority of symptoms are similar to those of under-nutrition plants. As a result, caution must be exercised when examining the signs and drawing conclusions.
#5. Leaf Spot
Leaf spots include symptoms like basal stem cankers, root rotting, oval lesions on leaf tissue, and so on.
14 Ways to Get Rid of Mustard Bugs
By now, you have learned about some of the commonly causing diseases in mustard plants due to bug infestation. So, it is essential to keep monitoring these plants to sort out issues arising because of bugs. Remember, early intervention is the only way to ensure the survival of mustard crops.
Here, we have focused on some of the most effective ways that will ensure the expulsion of bugs from mustard plants. We have categorized the methods into two broad categories– homely (DIY) methods and chemical methods. You can choose any of these at your convenience and need.
Homely/ Organic Methods
If you have a problem with mustard bugs, you can use home remedies before consulting a professional bug exterminator. Household pesticides are frequently effective enough to eliminate a limited number of parasites or bugs.
#1. Soap and Water
Dish soap is a well-known pest repeller. Take a tiny amount of dishwashing soap and water and mix them in a bowl to form a soap and water mixture. This mixture can be sprayed on leaves and stems or cleaned manually. Horticulture soaps, which are specifically developed to deter pests and heal diseases, can also be used in place of dishwasher soap. It’s worth noting that horticultural soaps are an excellent treatment for leaf spots.
#2. Manual Removal
Another technique to safeguard your mustard plants is the manual removal of bugs. If you see beetles or powdery mildew on your plants, you might try to manually remove them by plucking them off or dusting them.
You can physically remove the bugs off the individual mustard leaves and smash them with a paper towel or tissue paper. Always throw dead bugs in a garbage can. You should inspect the leaves after physically selecting and crushing the bugs to ensure that no more bugs are hanging in.
It’s also a good idea to rub any sap or debris off your leaves to keep other bugs or pests away from your plants.
#3. Water Hose
Spraying the undersides of the leaves with a water hose can also be a useful approach to get rid of any bugs on mustard plants. Use the high-powered hose to spray water early in the morning and late in the evening until all the aphids and bugs are gone.
After you’ve finished, make sure your leaves are totally dry. This strategy can also be used to ensure that healthy mustard plants do not become infested with bugs.
It’s important to note that this procedure must be repeated every day until your plants are clear of all bugs and pests.
#4. Insecticidal Soap
To get rid of bugs from mustard plants, use insecticidal soap, which is similar to horticultural soap.
These soaps are safe to use because they have a low toxicity level and are typically made of potassium and fatty acids. These soaps can kill soft-shell insects such as aphids, beetles, and other insects without affecting humans, animals, or plants.
The cherry on top is that you can produce your own insecticidal soap instead of buying one. Simply combine one cup of oil and one spoonful of dishwashing soap to form a mixture and spray it on the affected leaves.
#5. Neem Oil
Neem oil is an ancient ingredient used by all serious gardeners. Neem oil is a proven product that helps to eliminate a wide number of bugs, pests, and aphids. You just need to spray some neem oil on your mustard leaves and see the results within a few days. This method is specifically handy for getting rid of lead spots from mustard greens. However, you may need to continue spraying your leaves with neem oil until you find a satisfactory result.
#6. Essential Oils
Essential oils are essentially good for removing mustard bugs!
Essential oils like peppermint, rosemary, clove, and thyme are great in removing mustard bugs and other pests. All you need to do is mix 4- 5 drops of any of these essential oils with 1 cup of water. Fill the mixture in a spray bottle and onto the mustard greens affected by bugs and aphids.
Although this method is effective and natural, you may need to repeat it a few times before getting any effective results.
Note: Essential oils are not only helpful in getting rid of bugs but also in getting rid of mosquitoes and other insects. Also, use the essential oil mixture as early as you discover bug-infested mustard greens.
#7. Dust Leaves
Dusting powder is an alternative to spray. On diseased mustard leaves, a little dusting of diatomaceous earth can be applied. Diatomaceous earth is non-toxic to humans and plants, but it will kill bugs if they come into contact with it. And to avoid pest infestation of mustard plants, this strategy should be used in the early summer.
Although it is an effective approach to eliminate mustard bugs, it should only be used as a last resort. We mention this because it is a more expensive bug repellent approach and can potentially kill beneficial insects and bees.
#8. Cut Back Leaves
Cutting back infected leaves is a good way to prevent bug infestations from spreading.
If you’re physically eradicating bugs and aphids from mustard plants, remove the entire stem or leaves. This is also a friendly approach to get rid of mustard bugs if spraying or using soaps doesn’t work.
To begin, remove the diseased leaves first. However, if the infection is still there, the entire stem should be chopped back. But remember, if you prune over one-third of your plant’s stems, it will die.
#9. Organic Pesticides
If you want to get rid of mustard bugs in an eco-friendly way, consider using organic pesticides. We can make these insecticides without difficulty at home.
A dish soap washer mixture, as indicated before, is one of the simplest organic insecticides. You can also make another organic insecticide by combining 1 teaspoon dish soap, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and 1 liter of water. Fill a spray bottle with this solution and squirt it on affected leaves and stems.
Depending on the severity of the infestation, it could take up to two weeks to see the whole result. Organic pesticides made at home are effective, although they may not be as efficient and strong as synthetic or industrial pesticides.
#10. Stop Growing Plants that Attracts Bugs
If you want to adopt a way to prevent mustard bugs from bugging you in the long run, stop planting trees or shrubs that attract pests. This could be an effective way to not only repel bugs but also prevent them from returning.
Following are some plants that you should stop growing with mustard greens.
#11. Plant the Right Companion Plants
It is also recommended to grow plants that attract beneficial insects and keep pests at bay, besides not cultivating bug-attracting plants. These are the plants that emit pungent scents that mustard bugs despise.
- Chives, etc.
Note: These plants will not only prevent mustard bugs from infecting mustard greens but also keep other pests and wildlife, like deer, chipmunks, etc., at bay from your garden.
Chemical or commercial methods are most suitable when there is a serious and more severe bug infestation. These methods are more efficient and fast in removing mustard bugs and pests.
#1. Chemical Pesticides
If your mustard greens are infested with aphids or bugs, consider treating them with Imidacloprid-based insecticides. This industrial chemical is harmless to humans yet is lethal to pests.
You may need to reapply pesticides until all the bugs are dead, depending on the degree of the infestation. It’s important to keep in mind that eliminating an infestation and preventing it from recurring can take up to two weeks.
We should use chemical fungicides only as a last resort to control mustard bugs.
Chemical fungicides are effective at preventing powdery mildew, but keep in mind that they are not eco-friendly and can turn your garden inorganic. These fungicides may also have an adverse effect on nearby healthy plants.
As a result, use them in smaller amounts and in a more controlled manner.
#3. Use Ant Repellants
Ants prefer insects such as bugs and aphids. Ants consume honeydew produced by aphids. As a result, ants will go to any length to defend aphids and bugs, leading to a significant bug infestation on mustard plants.
As a result, if you detect ant colonies in your garden or near mustard plants, get rid of aphids right once. Chemical insecticides can be used to eliminate ant nests and colonies.
So there you have it: 14 practical methods for eradicating mustard bugs. If not caught early enough, these bugs can be aggravating and cause chaos. It is always preferable, in our opinion, to begin with, organic methods of killing mustard bugs. And you should only use strong chemicals on your mustard greens if nothing else works. It’s also worth noting that applying chemical fungicides and pesticides in a controlled manner is critical to avoid any negative consequences.
To keep mustard bugs at bay, you can use organic and chemical methods along with other cultural measures. Crop rotation, soil amendment, timely pruning, not overcrowding your garden, preventing waterlogging, and mulching are some of these ways.