Common Pests in the Garden

January 4, 2023 0 Comments

The common pests in your garden are insects and bugs that can cause damage. Some of them are Japanese beetles, Mexican bean beetles, cabbage maggots, cutworms, and more. Knowing the names of these common pests can help you deal with them and prevent them from attacking your plants.

Aphids

Aphids are tiny, soft-bodied insects that feed on plant juices. They live on the underside of leaves until fall. The most common species are wingless, but a few aphids have wings.

Many species of aphids feed on a variety of garden plants. Some aphids can spread viruses and can weaken plants. These insects can be controlled with a variety of methods.

One of the most effective ways to control aphids is to use natural predators. These include lacewings, ladybeetles, and hoverflies. Natural predators have the advantage of working well in the garden, where a food source is often available.

Aphids are also parasites. Parasitic wasps lay their eggs inside the aphids. When the larvae hatch, they attack the aphids. This method will often reduce the aphid population in a week.

Another effective way to control aphids is to plant a trap crop. A trap crop is a small plant with beneficial insects planted between the main crop and the aphid-infested area. Plants like nettles, dill, buckwheat, and nasturtiums can be used.

Cabbage Maggot

If you have cabbage or cruciferous vegetable crops in your garden, you may have noticed signs of damage caused by the cabbage maggot. The maggot is a soil-dwelling pest, like the housefly, and attacks plants in the brassica family. This includes broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, and collard greens.

When the crop is young, it is more vulnerable to an attack by the cabbage maggot. The grub’s larvae feed on the root tissue and then pupate in the soil. It takes about two to three weeks for the pupae to mature.

In a field, the adults emerge in late spring or early summer. They lay eggs in cracks and crevices near the stem of the plant. A single adult can wreak havoc on a tiny seedling.

Planting time is essential in reducing the damage caused by the cabbage maggot. As a result, growers should start planting cruciferous crops early in the season. Doing so ensures that the young plants can escape the adult flies.

Plants that have been infested with the cabbage maggot often have discolored leaves. These leaves are indicative of a root maggot infestation.

Colorado Potato Beetle

The Colorado potato beetle is a serious pest of potatoes, peppers, eggplant, and other solanaceous crops. Fortunately, you can take some easy steps to control the problem.

First, you should clean up your garden. Leaves, weeds, and other debris can attract pests. Keeping your plants free of soil infested with fungi is also essential, which can increase the likelihood of Colorado potato beetle infestation.

In the spring, the adult Colorado potato beetle feeds on new sprouts. This feeding behavior is a good indicator that the bug is present. However, the larval stage is the most destructive. Larvae can defoliate up to 30 percent of the plant.

You can use various methods to control the problem in the spring and early summer. One of the most effective is crop rotation. Crop rotations help reduce beetle populations.

Another way to combat the beetle is to remove weeds. Yarrow, a native plant in the potato bug’s range, is a good choice. Also, marigolds are excellent companions to potato plants.

Cutworms

Cutworms are pests that cause a lot of damage to garden plants. This standard insect feeds on a variety of ornamental plants and also attacks fruits and vegetables. There are several species of cutworm, each with different breeding and feeding habits.

The larvae of some cutworm species have a distinctive, shiny head with a white line along the top of the leg. The head capsule is typically yellow-brown.

The larvae live below the soil surface in plant debris. Most species feed at night, but some are active during the day. It is essential to identify and eliminate cutworms before they begin to destroy your crops.

If your yard is affected by cutworms, try a natural, multi-pronged approach. For instance, neem oil is a natural product that makes cutworm eggs less likely to hatch.

If you want to apply an insecticide, try cyfluthrin, a chemical available in all-purpose liquid insect killers. Apply the product to your plants before dusk, when the sun is low. You can also spray a granular insecticide containing a low carbaryl percentage.

Flea Beetles

Flea beetles are one of the most common garden pests. They can be found in various plants, including flowers, vegetables, and fruits. While they can be tough to spot from a distance, you can take a few simple steps to help keep them away.

One of the best ways to prevent flea beetles is to mulch your garden. The purpose of mulching is to create a natural habitat for predators. Some examples of mulching include non-living products, such as leaf litter, and living mulch, such as legumes.

Insecticides are also helpful in controlling flea beetles. However, insecticides must be reapplied periodically. When using these chemicals, it’s essential to follow the label’s guidelines for wait times, which vary by product.

Various natural and organic products are available to repel and control flea beetles. Organic contact insecticides, for example, contain natural pyrethrins. These are often combined with other broad-spectrum pesticides to provide additional protection. However, if you decide to use these chemicals, you must ensure that they are certified organic.

Japanese Beetles

Japanese Beetles are a pest that can be devastating to a garden. They feed on various plants and fruit, causing damage and even killing them. However, they are harmless to humans. Thankfully, there are ways to control and eliminate the threat.

The first step in a Japanese beetle infestation is to identify the pest. These insects can be identified by their glossy copper-brown wing coverings and the small white spots on their abdomen.

Once you have recognized the beetle, you can eliminate it with simple methods. You can either pick it off with your hands or spray it with a soap and water solution. If you prefer a more natural approach, you can use a trap.

Depending on the size of your yard, you can place a trap in the garden or away from it. This will help you keep the beetles off your flowers and fruits. Using a row cover on your garden vegetables or shrubs will reduce the risk of beetle destruction.

Mexican Bean Beetles

Mexican bean beetles are a destructive insect pest of beans and legumes. They feed on the undersides of the leaves, pods, and stems. If you have a problem with this pest, there are several ways to control them.

Chemical control can help. Some options are available from garden supply stores. Other methods are less invasive and include using natural predators. You can get help from birds, toads, lacewings, and parasitic wasps.

The Mexican bean beetle feeds on legumes, primarily snap beans, fava beans, mung beans, cowpeas, and lentils. It is also known to damage flowers and blossoms. This insect can be particularly devastating when beans bloom in late spring and early summer.

Mexican bean beetles can be controlled with a row cover. These lightweight fabric covers keep the beetles out of your garden. Row covers can be placed over your crop and can be tied to the edges of the crop. Once the harvest is done, the body can be removed.

One strategy to reduce beetle populations is to use reflective metallic mulch. Another method is to maintain wide, clean headlands. Beans are susceptible to Mexican bean beetle infestation, especially in hot, dry weather.

Slugs and Garden Snails

Slugs and garden snails are common pests in many North American gardens. They damage plants, flowers, and even fruit. Their damage can be confused with other chewing insects.

Slugs are a type of mollusk and can be found in damp, shady areas. Slugs are often nocturnal and hide in foliage or weeds.

They feed on various plant materials, including roots, stems, and leaves. Some plants are more resistant to slugs than others. A good strategy for controlling slugs and snails is eliminating their hiding places.

Often, slugs and garden snails prefer damp, shady areas. You can eliminate these hiding places by removing debris.

Slugs and garden snails can also be controlled by handpicking them. The most effective time for handpicking is in the evening. This is when you can make the most significant dent in the population.

If you cannot get rid of slugs and garden snails by hand, you can destroy them mechanically. You can drop them in a bucket of soapy water or seal them in plastic bags.