Handpicking is an excellent method of controlling pests especially when only a few plants are infested. It is the easiest and direct way to kill the visible and slowly moving pests. By handpicking the adults before they have the chance to lay their eggs and by crashing the eggs before they hatch prevent the pests' build-up and the resulting damage.
- Use an old soft brush or a used soft cotton cloth wetted with alcohol to remove aphids, scales, and mealybugs.
- Run the infested plant surfaces in between your fingers to kill aphids.
- Rub or scrape scales and mealybugs from plants.
- Use a pointed wooden/bamboo stick to pick caterpillars. You can also use improvised tongs, pinchers, or tweezers.
- Remove the infested leaves tunneled by leafminers. Early removal of the diseased leaves is also helpful to prevent disease transmission to the rests of the plants.
- Handpick beetles and caterpillars and drown them in soapy water. Japanese beetles play dead when disturbed. Shake the plant onto an old newspaper for the easy collection. Chicken also feast on them.
- To collect vine borers, make a lengthwise slit along the vine and get the borers out.
- Attract rice bugs with baits, like crab or snail meat for easy collection.
- To get snails and slugs, water the infested area in the late afternoon to let them crawl out in the evening. Use a lamp or flashlight to find them. Handpick and put them in a sealed container to feed on your chicken the following morning or drown them in soapy water. You can also crush them to die in the area where you fine them. For easy collection, place snail and slug baits.
- Handpick cutworm at night. Use a lamp or flashlight to find them.
- Handpick, crush, and kill insect pests with your bare hands.
Visit your plants daily or several times in a week to monitor the presence of pests. Careful observation leads to successful handpicking of the pests. Look out for the pests that fly or crawl into your garden and those that come out from the soil.
Most of the insect pests blend nicely with the leaves. Make a thorough inspection with very observant eyes.
Look also for the pests' possible hiding places, like under the plant debris and on the soil.
Always inspect the underside of leaves. Remove the eggs, larvae, pupae, and adults that you come across.
Know the beneficial insects and be able to identify them so that you will not kill them by mistake.
You cannot completely get rid of the plant pests but you can reduce their population.