An ancient herb, thyme was first used by the Egyptians for cleansing purposes. Presently, it finds purposes in many culinary delicacies and is considered one of the most widely used culinary herbs. Although thyme is not prone to major pest infestation, it is best to protect it from pests, specifically from spider mites, that like to find shelter in and feed on thyme. You can consider the following tips.
- Treat your thyme area with herbicide. Before planting thyme, it is recommended to apply herbicide to the planting area. Do this by first removing all grass roots, bushes, and shrubs. Get rid of rocks and other root and plant fragments as well. Remember that all these will take two weeks at the most. So try to be persistent. Once clear, the planting area should be treated with herbicide. Just one reminder: make sure to apply herbicide following the manufacturer’s directions.
- Use insecticidal soap. Use of insecticidal soap is a safe way to eliminate thyme pests. When buying an insecticidal soap, consider the one that is safe for edible plants. A nurseryman can give you guided alternatives, so make sure to talk to one before choosing an insecticidal soap. He can also possibly advise you on how to use the insecticidal soap, although the manufacturer’s instructions can already give you a briefing.
- Spray thyme plants with soapy water. Soapy water is usually enough as a pest control method, not to mention safe and effective. In a spray bottle, just mix mild detergent and water. Test the solution on a few leaves to see if the plants will develop any negative reaction. If there is none, proceed to spraying the thyme plants.
- Hose down the pests. Another way to protect your thyme plants is to hose down the pests. Spot where the pests are and direct a jet of water at them. This is good because it won’t chemically put your thyme plants at risk. Make sure, however, that your water outflow is not too strong; otherwise, you might damage your plants.
- Release lady bugs. Lady bugs are beneficial insects, meaning they feed on the insects and pests that damage thyme plants. For this reason, you might want to consider releasing lady bugs to your thyme garden. Much better to release the lady bugs in the evening, when the wind has already subsided, so they won’t be blown away.
- Remove plant fragments. When you prune your thyme plants, make sure to properly get rid of the cut off and damaged parts. Allowing them to sit anywhere near the plants might invite damaging pests and insects and eventually cause infestation.
- Make sure the roots are not overly wet. Thyme roots are especially prone to rot when overly wet. And this might also attract pests and insects. So don’t allow your thyme plants to be exposed to excessively moist soil. Thyme should be planted in well-drained soil. Placing mulch over the roots also helps.
Regularly check your thyme plants for pests. If you notice any symptom of infestation, immediately carry out the tips provided here. And continue to do so until all pests are eliminated.