Swiss chard belongs to the beet family, grown for its large, nutrient-rich leaves rather than its root. It is rich in magnesium, iron, and vitamin C, so it can often attract many bugs.
They are so delicious that even pests enjoy these nutritious green leafy vegetables. Have you seen holes in your swiss chard leaves? To control the infestation, you must first learn to identify the type of pests that are eating your swiss chard.
Below you will know the correct way to get rid of these bugs.
What’s Eating Your Chard Leaves?
The most common is that it is a mistake; swiss chard is a very nutritious and delicious plant. It is an easy plant to climb, digest, and eat. That is why a great variety of bugs seek it as hosts.
Among the most common errors that can affect your swiss chard are: snails, slugs, leaf hops, aphids, ants, worms, whiteflies, among others.
If you observe that your swiss chard is damaged, it is already an indication that there is a pest, and they have been able to lay their eggs. It can be a caterpillar or a swiss chard mushroom.
Common Pests Found In Swiss Chard
As mentioned above, if you see your swiss chard being eaten, you may have bugs. The most common are:
Spinach leaf miner
This pest is also known as the Swiss chard leaf lookout. This is generally one of the most difficult pests to deal with, and they come from larvae. This type of insect looks like small worms and digs narrow tunnels; they will eat your swiss chard’s leaves.
When they are adults, they become flying pests, while the larvae are worms. As you can see, they have two different parts of their life cycle. Flies can be 0.5 inches long and are gray with black bristles.
The females will deposit the eggs at the bottom of the leaves and lay them in neat rows. The larvae can eat the swiss chard, and also they can eat several leaves.
Leaf miners can be both worms and flies. In the April and May season, these flies can cause more damage than in other seasons.
These bugs are similar to leaf miners and can impair the growth of your plant. Additionally, these pests can carry diseases like fungus and mold to your plants.
Tarnished plant bug or Lygus bugs
These bugs are also known as Lygus bugs; they are small 0.25 inch pests that start as nymphs. These bugs are green in color and have some lighter colored back markings. They will eat your Swiss chard to adulthood but rarely kill the plants.
These nymphs cannot fly, and you may notice that their swiss chard is twisted, curled, or chewed.
These types of pests, called flea beetles, can damage the leaves of your swiss chard. This is a very common insect on Swiss chard. If you notice that your leaves have holes or your plant turns a darker brown, you may have flea beetles.
Flea beetles are not as destructive bugs as leafminers. But they will be able to grow quickly and kill your swiss chard plant if you don’t attack the problem quickly. These flea beetles come out as black, bronze, blue, or silver bugs.
Slugs and snails
Slugs are pests that can eat almost any plant, especially those with fresh, young leaflets. Swiss chard is a very tasty plant that snails and slugs will be able to devour at night.
These bugs can constantly appear and by the dozens and are generally difficult to eliminate.
How To Eliminate Bugs In Swiss Chard?
If you have pests in your swiss chard, you should use any of the tips below to remove the bugs safely.
The first thing to do when you see that you have an infestation on your swiss chard is to prune the plant and remove any damaged leaves. Prune damaged foliage, leaving it there will only make the situation worse.
Make a mixture of soapy water.
Soapy water is a quick and effective way to kill any pests on your Swiss chard. You can prepare this mixture using eight drops of dish detergent and mix it in 1 liter of water. If you use this mixture on your plant, you must be very careful when ingesting them; you must wash them very well not to hurt yourself.
You can use a soap that is natural and non-organic and non-toxic; you should also make sure to dilute it in water. Wash your Swiss chard before eating and disinfect it well.
You can use this mixture on flies, eggs, nymphs, and you will see that it will kill them immediately. Apply this solution as many times as necessary until you see that the pests have been exterminated.
Use essential oil
Essential oils are also an excellent natural and efficient insect repellent. You should be aware not to spray the plants directly with the essential oils because you will eat it later.
These oils should be used to spray your swiss chard plant’s surroundings, that is, the ground or areas that are not edible. The oils are intended to keep bugs away from swiss chard because of its strong aroma.
Peppermint oil, lavender oil, and citrus oil are good for getting rid of bugs on Swiss chard. These oils do not affect your pets or people but can be sensitive or have allergic reactions. That’s why you should research each one to find out which one is right for you.
Using sticky traps
If you have flying pests, you can use sticky traps; they are a very effective option that you can put into practice. You can find many types of sticky traps in the market, but the yellow ones are ideal for swiss chard.
It would help if you placed them around the swiss chard; you can hang them on stakes or neighboring plants. It will be an easy and safe way to remove the bugs from the swiss chard.
How To Prevent Bugs On Swiss Chard?
You should keep your swiss chard plant healthy so that it will be less prone to infestations. If you want to prevent your swiss chard’s annoying bugs, you can follow the following tips:
- Check the plant regularly so you can detect damage or the presence of pests.
- You should use fertilizers when you see that it is necessary.
- If you see that pests are a problem, you should place your plant in another place.
- You should avoid watering or fertilize excessively.
- You can use a plant net.
- You can use stakes or sticky traps to prevent pests from damaging your swiss chard.
- Keep the area clean
With these tips, you will be able to get rid of the annoying bugs that may be affecting your swiss chard. If you see that the infestation is already a significant problem, you should turn to a specialist to eliminate them quickly and effectively.