Smart gardeners know how important it is to preserve a garden from pests who can turn your beautiful looking garden into a damaged, gnawed-on mess. According to some reports, rodents alone are believed to destroy major food crops, ruining a food supply for around 200 million people every year.
Pests are uninvited creatures, taking advantage of your garden’s open food source, and will do anything in their power to get a taste of the healthy, delicious plants that you have produced.
While you may think that pests are only destroying your gardens and eating your plants, there is more to it than that. Pests can also make your plants ill, and can reduce a garden’s overall yield by affecting fruit-bearing plants.
There are many types of garden pests, including fungi, bacteria, insects, weeds, rodents, mites, bugs, moths, and more. These creatures can be spotted in two ways. You might see these tiny destroyers crawling on your crops or in your garden, or simply view the damage they have inflicted on your garden.
Pests destroy your garden in a way that cannot be overlooked, no matter whether your garden is large or small. You should include pest-control on your daily to-do list of garden tasks, and be aware of the many types of common pests that are frequently found in gardens.
Here are 25 common garden pests you need to know about, as well as effective ways to get rid of them:
Aphids are tiny white bugs (about 1/4 inch in size) with pear-shaped bodies and long antennae. They are found in almost every garden, as they can survive in almost any weather condition. They can be troublesome because they multiply quickly. Therefore, it is essential to get rid of them before they reach the reproductive phase of their lives.
Aphids feed on bean, cabbage, potato, green peach, and melon plants most often, but will graze indiscriminately through your garden. There are several different species of aphids, each with a different affection when it comes to the areas of plants they prefer. Some prefer leaves, while others have affinities for stems. Others prefer buds or flowers. This can make it difficult to catch, stop, and prevent aphids from destroying your garden.
How to Know If a Plant Is Attacked By Aphids
If the leaves of your plants begin to discolor or dull, there’s a strong possibility that they are under siege by aphids. Check the underside of the leaves if you are unsure, as aphids like to hide there.
Aphids can also devour tree sap, so if you notice sticky substances on the stem, it might be the residue left behind from aphids. While they are feeding, they drop their honeydew on the ground, attracting other insects. This honeydew is also dangerous because it can promote fungal growth in the plant, turning the stems and leaves a solid black. Other aphids will feed on the flower of the plant and entirely deflower them, while some types of aphids target roots.
How to Get Rid Of Aphids
Since aphids have a lightweight body, they can be removed by spraying cold water on the leaves or on the part of plant where they are hiding. Pouring flour on the plants can also ward off many pests, including aphids, as it reduces their footing. Homemade garlic can also help to get rid of them, as it has a strong aroma and repels most pests.
You can even make your own aphid repelling mixture. Combine a quart of water, a teaspoon of dish soap, and a bit of cayenne pepper. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle, and sprinkle it on leaves. This will effectively kill and prevent the aphids from returning.
Here’s a video that highlights the steps on how to get rid of aphids and secure your plants from the damage aphids can do:
Thrips are tiny, only as wide as a needle. They can be of various colors (yellow, black and brown) and love to feed on many plants.
Thrips are considered one of the most dangerous garden pests and have the ability to inflect plants with deadly viruses. They can be difficult to identify because they are so tiny, often detectable only with the use of a magnifying glass.
Thrips lay their eggs directly on plants, and these eggs hatch in about two or three weeks. Young thrips begin to feed immediately on plants. This means they should be wiped out immediately if detected.
How to Know If a Plant Is Attacked By Thrips:
After feeding, thrips leave white patches on leaves. This happens because thrips devour the cells of the plants and also transmit deadly viruses into the plants. The tomato spotted wilt virus, for example, is a telltale sign that thrips are nearby.
How to Get Rid Of Thrips
Place a cloth underneath the plant and shake the plant vigorously. This will remove the thrips and make them land on the cloth. Discard the cloth somewhere far away so they can’t reinfest your garden.
Thrips are drawn towards recently developed plants, which can be dangerous as budding plants are vulnerable to pests and disease. Spraying neem oil or other insecticidal cleansers can help prevent pests. However, pruning the plant always work as well.
This video will walk you through on how to kill thrips and get rid of them forever.
#3. Tomato Hornworms
The hulks crawling on your tomato plants are none other than tomato hornworms. They are large, fat, and green in color.
They are found in almost every garden where tomato plants grow. The amount of damage they can inflict on your garden is drastic, which is why a smart gardener will eliminate them quickly.
Don’t be fooled by their names. They don’t only feed on tomato plants but dine on pepper, potato, and eggplants as well. Sometimes, they are very hard to spot because their green bodies serve as camouflage, making it daunting to spot them.
How to Know If a Plant Is Attacked By a Tomato Hornworm
The green color of the tomato hornworm gives it an upper edge and makes it hard to notice.
Gardeners need to check the leaves of the tomato plants regularly for any sign of damage. You should also check to see if they are shredded or have holes in them because hornworms also love to do that to plants.
When they feed, they drop a green substance, which can help indicate their presence. It is usually found on the leaves but may also be detected on other parts of the plant or the ground. Also check the underside of the leaves because hornworms love to hide there.
When the plant is constantly being fed upon by hornworms, the leaves will begin to hang in a downward position and the stem will also lose a number of leaves. They also can damage and scar the fruits.
Check out this video on how to control these hornworms and save your garden from turning into a mess:
How to Get Rid Of Them
It is not dangerous to come into contact with tomato hornworms. If you have time, handpicking can be the easiest ways to rid your garden of hornworms. You can gather them into a cloth and then squash them. They can also be dropped into soapy water.
If there is a large hornworm infestation in your garden, you may need to use botanical bacillus thuringiensis. This poisons the stomach of the hornworms and kills them instantly.
If the leaves of the plants in your garden are beginning to look thin, weary and weak, then most likely, caterpillars are to be blamed.
There are many types of caterpillars found in gardens and each has a different method of extermination. Be aware of the different types so that you can remove them from your garden as soon as possible.
These are the most common caterpillars to infest gardens. They are green in color and feed on lettuce, kale, and collard greens. They move slowly but can inflict a great deal of damage.
Cabbage loopers cause the leaves to rot and may also create small holes. If your plants seem to be giving out and have holes, cabbage loopers are to blame.
Getting rid of cabbage loopers is important if you want to have an attractive yield. The easiest way to remove them is to pluck them manually from the leaves. Dump them far away from the garden. Also, make sure you check the underside of the leaves for eggs. Cabbage loopers lay eggs in rows, so if you find eggs on the underside of the leaves, make sure you scrape in a full pass to gather every last egg.
You can also rid yourself of cabbage loopers by spraying a pesticide containing spinosad. This is effective on the plants, as is neem oil.
Here’s a video that explains how to kill cabbage loopers:
These are known to feed on fruit bearing plants and cause scarring, deformation, and more. They are semi opaque caterpillars who love to dine in groups. You may find them in different colors such as green and brown.
Leaf rollers cause the leaves of the plant to fold. IF your leaves are curling, then leaf rollers might be the culprit. To get rid of them, prune the damaged leaves and drop the bugs in a bucket of soapy water.
These type of caterpillars love to feed on trees and can destroy your garden if they are not removed. These are known to attack the bark and affect the transporting system of trees. They are hard to control because once they enter from the bark and get inside, it becomes very difficult to kill them.
Borers make holes in the bark and leave a maroon sawdust on bark crevices. They may cause the tree to leak a thick sticky substance at the exit and entry holes.
To get rid of them, it is essential to water the trees thoroughly. These pests love to attack trees that are weak and dry. Make sure the trees contain no visible wounds. Cypermethrin can also be used to get rid of them.
How to Get Rid Of Most Caterpillars
Picking caterpillars by hand is a time consuming process and also not that effective. You can use bacillus thuringiensis, which occurs naturally in the soil. Spraying it on the crops and plants where caterpillars are present can be of some help. This pesticide doesn’t harm animals, humans, or plants, but can help prevent a wide variety of pests.
#5. Cynipid Wasps
Adult cynipid wasps are anywhere between ⅛” to 1/4 inches long and have a hunchbacked appearance. Male wasps are black in color, while the females are reddish brown.
Female wasps are more dangerous than male wasps because they play a vital role in giving gall formation to the plants. They lay eggs on the leaf bud and within 10 to 15 days, these eggs hatch and begin to feed on the cane tissue of the plant.
How to Know If A Plant Is Attacked By Cynipid Wasps
If the leaves of your plants are growing oddly, then it’s the doing of cynipid wasps. The growths look like rose thorns, and will develop until you prune them. These galls, as they are called, can be unsightly and also dangerous. They prevent proper plant growth and can inhibit the plant’s overall success.
These pests are most common on rose bushes, especially Rosa Woodsii Var and Rugosa Rosa varieties. When it first begins to develop, the gall is soft and green, but turns to a hard, reddish-brown lump over time.
How to Get Rid Of Cynipid Wasps
The best way to get rid of these wasps is to prune the damaged part of the leaf so that the spreading can stop. If you wish to keep your rose beds rich and red, then make sure you look out for cynipid wasps.
Here’s a video that will show you how to get rid of wasps and make your garden wasp-free:
They are also known as plant lice because of their tiny shape and size. Psyllids love to suck sap from plants and trees. They are one of the most common garden pests, with more than 100 types of psyllids in the world.
They can be anywhere between 1/10 inches to ⅕ inches long. Like all sap sucking pests, these too are very dangerous, because they can affect the transportation of food in a plant and consume nutrients inside.
How to Know If a Plant Is Attacked By Psyllids
While they are feeding on a plant, psyllids excrete a sticky substance, the honeydew. This substance attracts other insects, such as ants and bugs.
Normally, psyllids love to attack tomato and potato plants, and can leave gall formations on them.
How to Get Rid Of Psyllids
If you believe your garden is under attack by psyllids, simply pruning the affected parts won’t help. This is because psyllids love to move and will change their place if you somehow happen to irritate the plant.
A better way to get rid of them is to apply neem oil to the affected parts of the plant. You may also use insecticidal soap.
Moths are typically found in gardens that aren’t exactly neat and tidy. They seek shelter under fallen branches, broken pieces of wood, old and dirty pots, and other discarded items. Moths can be problematic as they are hard to control, especially if you are growing cabbage plants.
How to Know If a Plant Is Attacked By Moths:
Moths will feed on anything that is green, although they typically go for cabbages. If given the opportunity, they can destroy your entire crop. If you notice small damages on the leaves, it’s likely due to moths. Keep in mind that this small damage can quickly escalate if left untended.
How to Get Rid Of Moths
One of the most common ways to ward off moths is to dispose all the garbage and fallen branches of the plants which are in your garden. This is beneficial for your entire garden, as other pests can also find a harbor in this debris and clutter. Moths may also lay eggs on the plants. These eggs will be stacked together in a sac, so get rid of all of the eggs by dropping them in warm water.
Here’s a video that explains how to get rid of them:
Crickets reproduce prolifically, and can cause a great deal of stress to you and to your garden. They produce many eggs (150 to 400 at once), so disposing of them can be a daunting task. Try to eliminate crickets before their eggs become a problem.
How to Know If a Plant Is Attacked By Crickets:
Crickets will damage the leaves of your plants, causing them to overlap. These tiny insects can also lay eggs on the soil.
How to Get Rid Of Them
Crickets love sunlight, so can be eliminated by reducing the presence of light in your garden. However, this often is not practical, as most plants need ample amounts of sunlight to survive, so by destroying your cricket population, you will also be damaging your plants.
Better yet, use insecticidal sprays. Many gardeners have had success combining dish soap and warm water.
This video will help you show all the steps that you need to take if you wish to get rid of crickets in your garden:
Grasshoppers are a major nuisance in the garden and can move rapidly in the garden, as they are light and fast as they fly away. As a result, they are hard to dispose of by hand, and can cause a great deal of damage before you are able to deal with them.
How to Know If a Plant Is Attacked By Crickets:
If the leaves on your plants are reducing in number as days progress, then grasshoppers may be one of the reasons. They love to feed on the leaves of any edible plant.
How to Get Rid Of Them
One of the best ways to wipe out grasshoppers from your garden and keep your plants safe is to use a Hot Pepper Wax Spray, which also works like a charm on aphids, moths, tiny parasites and scale bugs. You can buy it at commercial gardening stores or make your own using cayenne peppers. The best thing about this spray is that it is not harmful for humans but will effectively repel many types of insects, including grasshoppers.
However, keep this in mind that it’s not a permanent solution. This spray will only keep grasshoppers away for about two weeks. So, if you want to keep your garden safe from such insects, you need to spray the hot pepper wax spray every two weeks.
Here’s a video that explains how to control the invasion of grasshoppers in your garden and get rid of them:
One of the most damaging creatures found in gardens are slugs. They love to chew on crops and it only takes them a few days to wipe out an entire crop.
To get rid of them in your garden, you must know what brings them to your garden and what kind of plants they love to feed upon.
These lethargic creatures love eating vegetable- producing plants. However, they are more favorable towards leaves which are tenderer, posing a specific threat to seedlings. If you think that leaves are the only things that slugs love to eat, think again. They dine on fruits and vegetables, too.
They love moisture, and their favorite areas include under rocks, mulch, heaps, and pots, as these places are typically moist.
How to Know If a Plant Is Attacked By Slugs
Holes in the leaves and fruits are common when there are slugs in the garden.
How to Get Rid Of Them
The best way to get rid of them is to give them a taste of their own medicine—
invite predators that love to eat slugs. Raccoons, ducks and chickens love to eat slugs. However, they may also cause damage to your crops, so be careful.
Slugs are very sneaky and can easily hide in your garden. While they do hide in moisture containing places, they also love to wander into gardens when the light is low. Mostly, slugs will invade your garden and come out of hiding in the evening to feed on plants.
Beer can be used to repel them. When you sprinkle beer on them, the alcohol irritates them and begins to suffocate them. You can fill a spray bottle with some beer and spray it every time you see one crawling in your garden or feeding on a plant.
Another way to control them is to use sand. Slugs can be blocked with fine sand, copper wire or even tape. Since they are very lightweight, they won’t be able to get past these. However, the use of sand may cause problems to the plant as well, so be careful about how you use it.
Long grasses or patches of vegetation can also invite slugs into your garden. This is because it contains excessive moisture and slugs love that. So, make sure to regularly trim the grass and any weeds so that slugs can’t use it for refuge.
Here’s a video that will help you get rid of slugs and snails in your garden:
#11. Scale Bugs
It is difficult to spot scale bugs in your garden because they look more like a disease than a bug. They make their way into gardens when the temperature is warm and dry.
They need to be eliminated from the garden because they empty the plants of important nutrients by sucking sap out of them. They have a brown, shell-like appearance, and are very tiny with an oval shape.
Scale bugs can be of many types. Some of the most common varieties are soft scales, mealybug and armored scale. Soft and armored scale bugs are said to be dangerous since they can mature at a faster rate and inflict a lot of damage on plants in much lesser time.
Soft Scale Bugs
These types of scales produce honeydew in larger amounts. Honeydew is a substance that attracts many insects and it also acts as a black fungus that restricts photosynthesis.
They appear in a white powdery form and excrete honeydew on the leaves and stems. While one mealybug may not signal a major problem for your garden, they multiply quickly and when they do, it can become daunting to control them.
Armored Scale Bugs
Unlike the other two pests, this one doesn’t excrete honeydew. So if you witness the presence of scale bugs but no honeydew on plants, then it is more likely to be armored scale bugs.
How to Know If a Plant Is Attacked By Scale Bugs
If your leaves are turning yellow and falling on the ground, then scale bugs are to blame. Other than that, they leave behind a white residue on leaves when they feed on it.
How to Get Rid Of Them
The most effective ways to get rid of scale bugs include pruning, alcohol and neem oil.
If a small part of the plant is affected by the scale bugs (white residue formed) then you can simply prune off that part to prevent the problem from spreading. Quickly and safely throw away that part so that the scales don’t jump to other healthy plants. This strategy is best used when you first spot the scales. Pruning prevents them from spreading to the neighboring plants. Another reason to prune them off is that they drop to the ground and become food to ladybugs and other insects. Since they can’t fly, escaping is not an option for them.
If they are in small quantity, then handpicking is also an option. Place a cloth and rub the plant first to see if they drop to the ground. If they don’t, handpick them and put them in the cloth. Dispose of the cloth far away from your garden.
Alcohol also works on scales. You can dab the scales using an alcohol soaked cloth or swab. Neem oil can also be used to get rid of them. This strategy is best used when a large part of the plant is affected.
This video contains tips and tricks on how to get rid of scale bugs and save your plants from infestation:
#12. Azalea Lace Bugs
Azaleas are plants that improve the aesthetics of your garden; however, this can be ruined by azalea lace bugs. These are pests that live under the leaves of azaleas.
These bugs form white, yellow or silver spots on the leaves. Adult lace bugs have a lacey pattern on their wings, while the nymphs look like tiny spots. If you have nymphs in your garden, then it implies that these azalea lace bugs laid eggs and will grow indefinitely in number.
Apart from damaging the leaves, lace bugs also love to suck sap. They are known to multiply quickly and experts say that they can double in number in a matter of days. Therefore, it is very essential to get rid of these pests and keep your garden free from their grasp, as they can kill a plant in no time.
One reason that your plants are being attacked by this pest is that your plants are already weak. Azalea lace bugs love to feed on plants that have gone weaker due to improper watering and fertilizing. So, the first thing you need to do is to ensure that you provide enough water and nutrients to your plants according to their needs.
How to Know If a Plant Is Attacked By Azalea Lace Bugs
These bugs love to suck specific parts of the leaves and when they do, it makes that spot dull, hence the color change. If you notice spots on the leaves and these spots enlarge with time, then your plant is almost definitely being hit by an azalea lace bug. Get rid of it quickly before it robs your plant of necessary nutrients. Plants affected by azalea lace bugs will have curled or brown leaves.
You can also check under the leaves of the plant. If there is a sticky black substance, or one that looks like rust, then you have azalea lace bugs.
How To Get Rid Of Them
The easiest way to get rid of azalea lace bugs is to spray them with insecticidal soap, spinosad, or another type of insecticide. When spraying, flip the leaves and also spray the underside, as bugs like to hide there.
You can also attack them with a strong stream of water from a garden hose. This will ward the plants off and also kill any that are already there. However, this method is a double-edged sword, as you should not use it on already weak plants. It can further damage the plants and kill them just as easily. You should prune plants that have already sustained signification damage, and also introduce bugs that prey on lace bugs, such as jumping spiders, lady beetles, predaceous mites, and lacewing larvae.
This video will explain in a step by step process on what to do when your azalea plants get hit by azalea lace bugs:
#13. The Bronze Stink Bug
The bronze bug, which also goes by the name of stink bug, is a threat to many gardens. Their name hails from their ability to create a stinky repellant that keeps away common predators.
It is important to keep your garden free from bronze bugs as they can drastically reduce your vegetable yield. They are often found in gardens with a great deal of vegetation, preferring dry and warm weather. The female bug lays her eggs on plants and feeds on plant juices, with both genders attacking plants like tomatoes, beans, corn, and peppers.
Stink bugs prefer to hide in debris, so cleaning your garden regularly can help to prevent them. They thrive in weeds and can often be prevented by a thick application of mulch.
How to Know If a Plant Is Attacked By Bronze Stink Bugs
From fruits to seeds, flowers to leaves, they love to eat it all. Look for damage on these parts if you suspect there are stink bugs present.
How to Get Rid Of Them
Stink bugs love light. They will make their way into your garden first thing in the morning. To repel them from your garden, mineral clay can be used. You can make a solution of mineral clay and spray it on these bugs to ward them away. This will not only run them off, but also keep them from laying eggs and feeding on plants in the garden. Mineral clay solution is not harmful to plants and can also be easily rinsed with water. However, take note that this strategy will only repel them and not kill them. They will keep coming back once they find that your garden is a source of food.
Invite insects that repel stink bugs from your garden such as toads, birds, spiders, flies, and more. These methods are only short-term solutions, so if you find that the pests keep coming back, you can use pesticides. Neem oil kills stink bugs, as does pyrethrins, insecticidal soap, and rotenone.
Watch this video to learn about various effective ways to get rid of stink bugs and make your garden free from their presence:
#14. Corn Earworms
Gardeners love to grow corn in their gardens as it is not only aesthetically pleasing and delicious, but can also be grown for sale. However, it’s not very easy to grow and maintain a corn garden, especially if you don’t know how to keep it safe from corn earworms.
According to experts, gardens and fields of thousands of acres in size are destroyed single handedly each year as a result of this pest’s feeding behaviors This pest comes out at night to feed upon unsuspecting corn plants.
Corn earworms feed on the plants and also lay their eggs on them. A female earworm can lay between 500 and 3000 eggs in a lifetime, each taking only two to ten days to hatch. When these insects hatch, they begin feeding on the plant immediately. This affects the process of pollination and can destroy an entire crop. They will even feed on the silk.
How to Know If a Plant Is Attacked By Corn Earworms
They begin feeding on the tips of the corn and gradually move to other parts. They also burrow into the pods and harm the developing seeds.
How to Get Rid Of Them
There are many ways to get rid of corn worms. Green lacewings and soldier beetles are two insects that love to eat these earworms, or you can simply spray bacillus thuringiensis on the corn plant to kill the earworms.
Mineral oil also works like a charm when it comes to killing earworms. Applying mineral oil to the silk will suffocate the earworms when they try to get inside.
Last but not least, chemicals can be used to kill earworms, however, one needs to be extra cautious when spraying them because it can affect the health of the plant as well.
Here’s a video explanation that will help you follow the steps on how to get rid of corn earworms from your garden:
#15. Viburnum Leaf Beetle Control
Viburnum plants come in many colors, ranging in shade from white to red to yellow. They make your garden look aesthetically pleasing. However, this beautiful plant can be easily destroyed when there are viburnum leaf beetles in your garden.
These beetles have the power to skeletonize your plants quickly and turn them into a dying mess. They are around 6.5mm long and have a golden-brown colored body. These beetles are found most often in the eastern states.
Viburnum leaf beetles are one of the most dangerous beetles because they can devour viburnum plants in a matter of days. They start off with the lower branches of the plant and slowly climb to the stem.
How to Know If a Plant Is Attacked By Viburnum Leaf Beetles
To determine the presence of these beetles in your garden, you need to check the state of your leaves. If there are holes in the leaves, stems and lower branches, then it is more likely the work of viburnum beetles.
How to Get Rid Of Them
One of the most concerning things about these beetles is the fact that they can lay eggs and multiply in number quickly. Therefore, gardeners need to eliminate the egg problem first so that they can focus on eliminating the remaining beetles.
Look at the underside of the leaves for eggs, and if you find them, prune those parts of the plants because it is more likely that those parts are infected. Pruning, however, isn’t going to completely solve the problem because it won’t kill the larvae. Since these beetles cannot fly yet, it is easy to get rid of them by spraying insecticides on them.
Here’s a video that will help you eliminate viburnum leaf beetles from your viburnum plants and keep your gardens colorful and healthy:
#16. Army Worms
One of the most troublesome pests in the garden is the army worm. They travel in groups and feed on plants together. Hence, they are called armyworms.
They are 1 or 1-½ inch long and can be brown or black in color. They are easy to spot since they travel in groups. There are several species of armyworms caterpillars and each one may have a different taste of preference when it comes to feeding on plants. However, they are known for wreaking destruction on everything that enters their path.
It is essential to get rid of them quickly or else they’ll damage the entire garden beyond repair.
How to Know If a Plant Is Attacked By Army Worms
It is easy to know if your plants are being attacked by armyworms. First, they are mostly seen in groups and are known to skeletonize leaves of many vegetable plants such as cabbage, lettuce, kale, and more.
They also love to feed on tomato plants and will leave behind gouges on the fruits. One of the most targeted plants of armyworms is the corn. They love to drill into the kernels and feed on the leaf whorls. So, if you happen to have a vegetable garden and witness similar sort of attacks on your plants then it is most likely the work of army worms.
How to Get Rid Of Them
First, army worms look for places in gardens where they can lay eggs and multiply in number. You must take steps to prevent this from happening, as it can be tough to eliminate them once they have invaded. Keep your garden clean and maintained by removing dirty pots, diseased plants, and long grass. Once army worms have taken up residence, you will need to take several steps to save your plants from being damaged.
Army worms tend to come out at night to feast on the plants. Therefore, this is the best time to remove them. Search for them with the help of a flashlight and try to hand pick as many as possible. If you can avoid it, don’t use any kind of pesticide. This can make the situation worse, but if there is a large number of army worms you might not be able to avoid it. Drop the army worms in a large bucket of soapy water to kill them instead.
When insecticides can’t be avoided, use baciullus thuringiensis or spinosad to remove them, as these are safer alternatives.
Here are two videos that will help you understand how to identify the presence of army worms in your garden and how to get rid of them:
If you see the stems of your plants breaking from ground level, then cutworms are to blame. They make sharp cuts on the stems and effectively kill the plants. Considering how dangerous they can be for a garden, it is vital to take steps to eliminate them.
The first thing you need to do is clear your garden from dead plant materials and other dirty items. Cutworms love to lay eggs on dead or dying plants, as well as old debris. Keeping your garden neat and tidy will make it difficult for cutworms to lay their eggs on the premises.
How to Know If Plants Are Attacked By Cutworms?
If you happen to see wounds that look like scissor marks on the base of the plant’s stems, you most likely have a cutworm problem. These cuts are sharp and usually reach all the way down the stem of the plant.
How to Get Rid Of Them
Synthetic pesticides can be used to kill the cutworms, however, since they prefer to feed on vegetable plants, using a pesticide is often not a desirable option, as it can contaminate the crop.
Instead, consider using an organic pesticide. You can also use soapy water to keep the cutworms at bay.
Here a video guide to help you kill cutworms that have been damaging your garden:
These small insects can cause a lot of destruction in your garden. They are known to first damage the roots of the plants before going all the way up and damaging the entire plant structure.
There are many types of root weevils that are found across the United States, with the black root weevil and the strawberry root weevil the most common. They can be black, brown or grey in color and spotting them isn’t much of a problem.
How to Know If a Plant Is Attacked By Root Weevils
These bugs love to feed on plants at night. So, if you enter your garden in the morning only to find that chunks of leaves are bitten off, along with damage done on the roots, then it may be due to root weevils.
How to Get Rid Of Them
Getting rid of root weevils is easy. If you see any adult root weevil feeding on your plants, then simply handpick them and drop them in water to kill them. Another way to kill them is to fill a container with water and keep the container in the garden at night, as the pests are attracted to moisture. This can help to trap them.
Keep in mind that your garden should be kept clean at all times. Make sure there are no dead branches, animal corpses, or debris lying around, because these all invite root weevils to take up residence. Long patches of grass or weeds can also beckon root weevils, as they contain excess moisture. Be sure to trim the grass so that root weevils have nowhere to hide.
Check out these videos to learn about how to spot different types of weevils in your garden, as well as how to quickly remove them:
This pest is one of the most frightening pests because of its appearance. Earwigs have flat and long bodies along with set of pinchers at the abdomen.
There seem to be some myths about these creatures. People often think that earwigs can crawl up to a person’s body, enter from the ear and make their way to the brain, hence the name ‘earwig’. But that’s not true. Earwigs pose no harm to humans or animals. However, the same cannot be said for gardens.
Earwigs destroy the natural look of a garden by feeding on the plants.
If you want to check for the presence of earwigs in your garden, then look to the damp and moist areas, because there’s where you’d find them. Places where there’s wet grass, mulch, or wood piles may be home to earwigs.
How to Know If a Plant Is Attacked By Earwigs
Earwigs chew leaves, leave holes and ragged edges on the leaves. Normally, you won’t find an earwig crawling around in your garden because they hardly come out during daylight but that doesn’t mean there won’t be any at all. They prefer to hide in spots that light cannot reach, and will dine on the plants when it gets dark.
How to Get Rid Of Them
The best way to get rid of earwigs is to eliminate any moist and dark places in your garden, but that may not always be possible. A garden needs moisture to stay healthy and green. What you can do is add dry materials at the edges of your garden. Try adding gravel or sand at the entrance. Earwigs are lazy and they refrain from traveling too far. As a result, when they get blocked by dry materials like sand and gravel, they will most likely return back rather than entering your garden.
If you already have these creatures in your garden, you need to take certain steps. Take several newspapers and moisten them. Leave them in the garden when there’s no sunlight. The earwigs will be attracted to the moisture and will begin to gather on the newspaper. When you see that many of them are on the newspaper, pick it up and burn it or drop it in bleach. This will kill all of them and eliminate the earwig problem in your garden for good.
Pesticides can also be used but they can kill other insects which are beneficial for the garden. Therefore, sticking to the newspaper trick is a viable option.
Here’s a video on how to prepare a trap for earwigs:
…and another one on how to get rid of earwigs from your garden:
#20. Flea Beetles
If you have a vegetable garden, then you must have seen these small, yet destructive, garden pests. They may have either a patterned body or sometimes have a series of spots instead. They are usually brown or black in color. They love to munch on the foliage and destroy a variety of vegetables in one fell swoop. It is vital to control flea beetles if they are damaging your vegetables.
How to Know If A Plant Is Attacked By Flea Beetles
If you see the stems and cotyledons of plants developing irregular holes and shallow pits, then know it is the work of flea beetles.
How to Get Rid Of Them
One way to save your garden from flea beetles is to put up physical barriers, such as mulch covers. Mulch around the plants keep the beetles from attacking the leaves and stem areas. However, it’s not a permanent solution because the mulch won’t stay there forever. This is why other approaches may also be taken to eliminate them.
Neem oil can get the job done when it comes to repelling these pests. It won’t kill them but will force them to retreat. Still, this is only a temporary solution.
For a more permanent solution, killing with pesticides is the only option. There are two agents which are effective at killing flea beetles: spinosad and permethrin. These two agents can kill beetles instantly when sprayed directly on the plants.
Here’s a video that shows how to take control over these beetles and protect your garden from the damage they inflict:
#21. Rosemary Beetles
These beetles are known for their beautiful appearance as they display a mixture of vibrant purple and green coloring. However, don’t be fooled by their appearance because they are deadly when it comes to causing damage to gardens. They are small but due to their unique and glowing appearance, it is easy to identify them.
How to Know If A Plant Is Attacked By Rosemary Beetles
These beetles and their young ones like to feed on the tender herbs or shoots. Apart from that, rosemary beetles often like to travel and eat in groups. So, if you happen to see one dining on your plant, there is a possibility that there’d be more around.
It’s strange but adult rosemary beetles don’t damage the plants to a great degree until mid-summer because they are more concerned about laying eggs and growing a family first.
Always check on the underside of the leaves because that’s the place they love to lay their eggs on.
How to Get Rid Of Them
You don’t only have to take care of the adult beetles but also their eggs. It takes around 10 days for the eggs to hatch. Therefore, you need to get rid of them as soon as you can. Handpicking the eggs and disposing of them in soapy water is the easiest way of getting rid of the eggs.
As for the beetles, they can easily be eliminated. If your plants are large then you can shake them and force the rosemary beetles to drop down to the ground. Handpick them from there and drop them in a bucket containing soapy water.
The handpicking process may get tedious if there are a lot of them in your garden. Here’s where using chemicals to kill them instantly is a good choice. There are many types of chemicals that can aid in killing these beetles. Some of the most effective ones are pyrethrum, natural fatty acids, and products that contain surfactant. You need to be extra careful with the chemicals and avoid spraying if your plants are in the flowering stage because spraying chemicals in this condition can repel bees and other important pollinators.
Here are a few tips that are effective at getting rid of rosemary beetles from a garden:
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#22. Asparagus Beetles
These beetles may look lively in your garden but don’t go too easy on them. They’re there for one reason only, and that is to feed on your asparagus plants.
Asparagus beetles are black, sporting creamy spots with maroon heads. They are ¼” long. There are a number of species of asparagus beetles but regardless of their type, they need to be removed because they are harmful for plants.
How to Know If a Plant Is Attacked By Asparagus Beetles
Most asparagus beetles feed on tips and spear-like parts of the asparagus plants, often scarring them. They prefer these areas because this is where they lay eggs and invite more asparagus beetles to join them.
How to Get Rid Of Them
If asparagus beetles aren’t causing trouble on a larger level, organic treatments can help get rid of them. You need to look for these beetles as well as their eggs which they may have laid on the plant spears. If you spot them, handpick them and dispose in a bucket or container having soap water. This will kill them instantly.
In case the eggs are about to hatch and won’t scrape off easy, you can cut off the spear and throw them away from your garden to prevent them from hatching and damaging your garden even more.
Another option to keep the beetles at bay is to apply neem oil on the shoots. Neem oil coated shoots help repel asparagus beetles without affecting the plant.
If the asparagus beetle problem in your garden has worsened, then there’s only one option left: using chemicals. When they are in larger number, handpicking or using repelling tricks won’t work much. Here’s where you will have to kill them by spraying chemicals on the plants. However, this can be dangerous to the beneficial insects that help your garden stay healthy, which is why malathion and pyrethrin can be used. These insecticides can directly affect the nervous system of various insects and kill them instantly. What’s interesting about them is that they won’t hurt the beneficial insects in the garden.
Both of the chemicals sure are effective, but their benefits last for a few days only. Gardeners must spray regularly to keep asparagus beetle at bay.
People who have asparagus plants in their garden should be more concerned about these beetles than any other gardeners, because asparagus beetles love to feed on asparagus plants than any other.
Here’s a video to show you how to control asparagus beetles and stop them from destroying your asparagus plants:
#23. Carrot Rust Fly Maggots
A lot of us like to plant carrot plants in our gardens. However, preserving them can turn out to be a bit daunting, especially with the presence of carrot rust fly maggots.
They are small and can grow to be ⅓ inch. They are more harmful when in the larval stage than in full adult form because when they hatch, after only a few days, they travel deep into the soil, targeting and feeding on the plant’s roots. They can then infect the roots and cause the plant to die.
Since they are very quick at multiplying in number, you need to get rid of them as fast as you can.
Most adult fly rust maggots lay eggs in May to June. By the end of August they turn into adults and start to lay eggs again. It is important to get rid of them before they lay eggs so that they can be stopped from causing more damage to the plants.
How to Know If a Plant Is Attacked By Carrot Rust Fly Maggot
Identifying the presence of the carrot rust fly maggots is one of the most difficult things to do. This is because they tunnel into the soil and inflict damage on the roots. It’s hard to spot any damage because it’s being done internally to the roots while the outside of the carrot plant stays unaffected for some time.
You can gauge the condition of the plants by thinning the carrot. This will help you to know if the carrot plants in your garden are really being fed upon by pests.
How to Get Rid Of Them
If your plants are being damaged, using insecticides is your best option. Organic methods won’t work here because the flies are under the soil and you need chemicals to reach there and eliminate them.
It is also vital to examine the roots thoroughly. If there is any damage, getting rid of those roots is essential to stop the damage from spreading. Use row covers to cover the seed beds and leave them covered until they’re ready for harvest.
Do not plant carrots in the winter and make sure none is left behind in the ground because this is the time when fly rust maggots are at peak and are looking for carrot, parsnips, celery, parsley, fennel, drill and caraway plants to feed upon. Covering their seedlings is a good idea as well.
Don’t continue planting carrots all season. This will invite these flies on a larger scale. The trick lies in rotating the crops so that their numbers can be kept at minimal numbers and dealt with easily.
There are certain beneficial parasitic nematodes which are known to kill many insects, including rust fly maggots. When they drill into the soil, they look for insects to feed upon. In case of fly rust maggots, the nematode will travel towards them and devour them quickly, thus saving the plants which were under attack by the maggots.
Here’s a video that shows how to eliminate the carrot fly problem from your garden and save your carrot crop:
#24. Squash Bugs
These are quite common in vegetable gardens and love to dine on various plants including cucumbers, cucurbits, pumpkins, and squashes. They are easy to identify as they are ⅝ inches long and have a blackish brown body with wings. Squashing them to death may not be the best idea because they give out a foul smell when crushed.
Gardens are not vulnerable to adult squash bugs alone– nymphs can also cause severe damage. The nymphs are wingless and legless, having a greenish gray body.
They turn into adults in just 2 to 4 weeks. It is essential to get rid of the nymphs before they turn into adults because adults are said to cause more damage.
Younger plants are more vulnerable to squash bugs because they aren’t strong enough yet.
How to Know If a Plant Is Attacked By Squash Bugs
Squash bugs affect the foliage and make them turn brown. This indicates that a plant is under attack and you need to take instant measures to get rid of them or else they may also kill.
Other than that, wilting of leaves and vines is also an indication that a plant is under a squash bugs attack. In the wilting stage, the leaves may start to turn black and crispy.
How to Get Rid Of Them
Squash bugs need to be controlled as early as possible because they grow in number quickly. One effective way to keep them at bay is to use row covers on the plants. These covers allow light and moisture through but keep most of the insects away. Hence, plants can be preserved. If covering the plants is too much work for you, then you can get rid of the insects by killing the adult bugs and clearing off the plants where they’ve laid eggs.
One way to catch them is to plant several newspapers or cardboards along the boundaries of the plants during the night. The squash bugs look for places to hide before the sun comes up. You can then collect the bugs in the morning from underneath whatever you placed in the garden and quickly drop them in a bucket that has soapy water in it. This will kill them. You can repeat the process until you get rid of all of them.
Neem oil can also be used to get rid of squash bugs as it acts as an insecticide. Insecticidal soap can also be applied to the leaves and other parts of the plant to repel squash bugs. Last but not least, you can invite squash bug predators into your garden to have the squash bugs killed. Tachinid fly is said to hunt down squash bugs and kill them.
Squash bugs can’t tolerate cold and tend to take shelter under things which are kept in the garden such as pots, utensils or dirty items. Disposing of such items will leave no place for these squash bugs to hide and will force them to exit your garden.
Watch this video learn how to kill squash bugs:
#25. Mexican Bean Beetles
They may be called Mexican bean beetles but they are also found in most parts of the US. They are yellowish-orange with black spots and look very much like ladybugs. However, they are nothing like them and are known to cause even more damage to your garden than ladybugs.
The most troubling thing about them is that they lay eggs every two days in clusters of 30 or 40. It takes 2 to 3 weeks for the eggs to hatch and the larvae begin to feed on the plants in just a few days.
In winter, the adult beetles often burrow deep into the soil to protect themselves. They also receive nutrition from feeding onto the plants from under the soil. As for the young ones, they hide for almost 5 days under the leaves and come out as adults.
Always flip over squash and melon leaves to look for eggs. Do it daily. After spotting that beetle, I turned over all of the leaves on that plant. Sure enough, there was another adult beetle underneath one of them, along with this cluster of eggs. I scraped them off with a stick, and threw them into the water with the other two pests.
The eggs of Mexican bean beetles are yellow in color and are laid on the underside of the leaves:
You must be diligent to scrape off or crush any eggs you see laid on the undersides of leaves. Squash bugs do the same thing.
How to Know If a Plant Is Attacked By Mexican Bean Beetles
They skeletonize foliage from plants like beans, pea, beet and tomato.
How to Get Rid Of Them
If they are small in number, handpicking them is your best option because you won’t have to use any pesticides that may kill the beneficial insects in the garden. Simply pick them up wearing gloves and drop them in soapy water to kill them.
Another way to get rid of mexican bean beetles is to cover the plants with row covers. These covers ensure that the plants get adequate light and moisture and the beetles can’t find any way to penetrate into the plants, eat leaves or cause damage. However, the process of covering them takes great precaution, regular maintenance and a lot of hard work, which most gardeners aren’t willing to do.
Make sure to clear your garden of all the things that may invite these beetles such as dirt, debris, and pots. These beetles love to take shelter under or inside these things and to make your garden their home.
If the quantity of these beetles is too much and you are not able to control them from any of the above methods, then using chemicals is also an option. Spinosad and hot pepper wax are two things that can be used to eliminate these beetles and free your garden from their presence.
These were the 25 of the most common pests found in a garden.
The key to pest control lies in keeping your garden neat and tidy at all times, reducing moisture, using ways to block the pests from entering your garden, and getting rid of them before they grow in number. With a little extra caution and vigilance, you will be enjoying a bountiful, pest-free harvest in no time.
Before we wrap this up, You should check out this DIY spray that can kill many of the pests mentioned in this article:
Michael is in love with nature and loves to spend his weekends with his pet dog at his farm where he grows organic fruits and vegetables. He’s a single parent who loves the idea of simple living.