These Weeds In Your Yard Are Actually Attracting These Pests

Appeasing your HOA usually requires keeping your lawn mowed and weeds out of sight, but there are many reasons you should keep the weeds down aside from keeping up with the Joneses. Lawncare mistakes can attract bugs to your yard, as well as house and feed them. If weeds are left unattended, you could be creating a mini HOA for the critters in your backyard! Weeds do have a time and place, but as with anything in life, you need moderation to find the balance.

Much like humans, pests rely on food, shelter, and water. Weeds can provide these much-needed resources, and before you know it, you'll have a backyard full of critters. Tall pigweed can create a dense area that's perfect for housing and food for rodents and insects. Aphids can suck plants dry to the point of becoming stunted, and mosquitoes can rapidly multiply in wet areas that harbor plants like jewelweed or dock. Reducing the weeds you keep in your yard can prevent or control pests when they spiral out of control.

Pigweed shelters rodents and insects

Living beings need shelter, and weeds are the perfect place for them to hide. The taller weeds grow, the more coverage insects and rodents will have to protect them from the elements and predators. Pigweed is a prime culprit to house pests since it can reach up to 5 feet tall and develop over 100,000 seeds per plant. Pigweed is highly adaptable to a variety of soils, so where one pigweed plant lives, there's bound to be more. If allowed to grow out of control, you can expect creatures and vermin to call it their home. 

Dense plants provide protection for rodents, so if you have a cluster of pigweed or other tall weeds against structures, you'll likely have rats or other rodents hiding in it. This is one way you can attract fleas and ticks, since rodents are often their hosts. Prime places for weeds to grow out of control may include hard-to-mow areas like around trees and trampolines, in low traffic areas, or any area that is left unattended for too long. While the weeds grow tall, critters settle in and make your space their own.

Weeds provide food for aphids, insects, and mammals

If you like to feed pollinators, you probably like to leave some weeds growing in your yard. It's a thoughtful thing to do for the insects pollinating your garden, but do keep an eye out for problem bugs you may attract. If you allow weeds to grow around your garden, you could inadvertently cause a major pest problem. Aphids are one of the more persistent issues you may find yourself dealing with. They come in a variety of colors, including a green hue that matches way too closely to plants, and they hide underneath leaves, making them incredibly difficult to spot. They feed on plants by drinking sap from every part of the plant, including flowers, stems, leaves, and roots. When left to their own devices, large infestations can cause plants to become stunted, discolored, or even wilt and die. 

Different species are drawn to different plants, so keep this in mind as you work to identify and prevent aphid outbreaks. Cabbage aphids feast on cruciferous vegetables, so if you grow these vegetables often, keep an eye out for mustard growing as a weed that could attract them. Sowthistles are another weed that often attract aphids, and since they look a lot like dandelions, you may mistake them as a friend and allow them to grow near flowers.

Water-loving plants are a breeding ground for mosquitoes

Weeds are a great way to learn about how your garden is doing. If you see dock, nutsedge, ground ivy, or jewelweed popping up, you likely have too much moisture in the soil. This could be due to watering too often or water not being able to drain properly out of the soil. Wet soils can lead to stagnant water, which will turn into a breeding ground for mosquitoes. These bloodsuckers don't even need long-term standing water to breed; there are some that flock to flood water. If your flower beds stay filled with water for a couple of days after it rains, this will attract mosquitoes, and if these wet spaces have weeds thriving in them, you're providing them with shelter.

Keep flood-prone areas free of weeds to stop them from harboring as many mosquitoes. However, the best thing you can do is to create proper drainage. Add perlite, sand, or gravel to the soil to keep the several top inches of ground area free from excess water.