Types Of Pests That Will Eat Your Garden

Garden Pest

Have you noticed symptoms of a pest infestation on your plants such as wilted leaves, dead plants, black spots, yellow tips, and shriveled & mangled growth?

Anyone who has experienced having your garden turn into a bug buffet knows that gardening can be harder than it looks. Dealing with pests is always going to be an ongoing task of search and destroy.

Therefore using companion planting, using plants to attract predators, and using essential oils to deter pests with the odor or to kill them altogether.

With enough experience and knowledge, anyone can have a thriving garden that feeds you and your entire family.

If you see symptoms of a pest infestation on a specific plant, such as holes in leaves or leaves that have been eaten, you need to find the source and treat it as soon as possible.

A pest infestation can spread disease to other plants in the area, so taking the appropriate steps to treat the issue is a must for your garden not to become a bug buffet or a disaster zone of plant disease.

APHIDS

Aphids

Aphids are small insects that are green, red, or black and they feed on the sap of plants, soft stems, buds, and fruit, but they do prefer new tender growth.

They will affect any plant but are particularly common in those of the brassica family such as kale, broccoli, and collard greens.

They can severely stunt your plant’s growth and cause a plant to develop galls and deformed flowers or buds.

In addition to their harmful effects on your plants, they are also known to carry plant viruses and diseases.

They also have a taste for rose bushes and tend to gather on and below the rosebuds.

Because they reproduce quickly, it is recommended to use several different methods as well as several applications.

They can live anywhere, but they tend to target tender new growth.

APHIDS AND ANTS HAVE A SYMBIOTIC RELATIONSHIP

Aphids produce a sweet and sticky substance known as honeydew which the ants have to stimulate them to secrete the substance by rubbing their abdomen and then is eaten by the ants.

Meanwhile, the ants protect them from predators like ladybugs, lacewings as well as fungal issues by removing the bodies of the infected aphids.

Aphids also will allow the ants to move them to another plant, so the next time you see any plant or tree that is covered by ants, there are also probably aphids as well if you take a closer look.

TREATMENTS

  • Essential oils – add 15 – 20 drops of peppermint, rosemary, clove, and thyme, into a spray bottle and fill the rest of the bottle with water, and spray them to kill aphids
  • Neem oil – repels aphids
  • Attracting predators with plants – clover, dill, mint, fennel, and yarrow
  • Diatomaceous earth
  • Isopropyl alcohol – mix 1 part alcohol with 7 parts water and spray the affected areas

CUTWORMS

Cutworm

Cutworms are caterpillars that are in their larval stage of becoming a moth. They are about two inches long, with many different species in the Noctuidae moth family.

They can be brown, green, yellow, or gray and when disturbed they curl up as a defense, but they also do this when feeding.

When they are feeding they curl around the stem of the plant and eat through it, causing the plant to fall over and this is how they got their name.

They can also feed on different roots, plant foliage, and flowers, with seedlings or young transplants being more likely to be affected by them.

Cutworms emerge as moths after one week of pupation and they lay hundreds of eggs on the leaves and stems of plants. The life cycle of cutworms differs from species to species, but they are usually present for a single season.

Cutworms are nocturnal and can easily be mistaken for rabbits if you notice any angled cuts.

TREATMENTS

  • Bird feeders – attracting birds to eat the cutworms will help to eradicate them. Spreading bird seed around your plants is a good way to get the birds on the ground and around your plants so they can see the caterpillars
  • Diatomaceous earth
  • Natural insecticidal soap

SNAILS AND SLUGS

Snails

Because they are nocturnal, you might have to check your garden at night to make sure that they are the pest that is causing the damage.

This will also give you the ability to check for any other pest that may be causing the damage. When treating the infestation, it may also be necessary to treat your garden at night.

They prefer damp areas so it is recommended to water your garden in the mornings if you are dealing with them.

They may be hard to find because they spend a lot of time underground where they cause root damage. They can also be found under planter pots, wood, and dead plant matter.

They eat flower buds, ripen fruit, strip the bark off of young trees, and they also chew holes in leaves. While snails aren’t the most obtrusive pests in the garden, slugs can be just as damaging.

Using diatomaceous earth is the best treatment for an investigation because it is a very dry powder that has sharp edges and will cut the snails and slugs or kill them.

This has been shown to reduce the damage that they can cause by as much as 80%. This is because they generally will not go over dry soil.

TREATMENTS

  • Garlic – they don’t like the smell of it so you can use garlic powder to deter them by sprinkling it around your garden as a border or the plants being affected. Planting garlic as a companion plant will also help to keep them out
  • Diatomaceous earth
  • Seaweed – is a natural slug deterrent. Chopped-up seaweed, for example, can be used to create mulch for your plants. This mulch will add nutrients to the soil as it decomposes
  • Beer – contains yeast that attracts snails. just pour some beer into a shallow bowl or wide-mouthed jar, then bury the container so the top of the rim is level with the ground in the area where snails are frequently at

Whiteflies

The larvae of white flies are tiny, whitish ovals without legs. Whiteflies lay hundreds of eggs on the underside of leaves and can be difficult to spot until they are too big to notice.

Adult females lay up to 400 eggs and unfortunately, they hatch within one week into a month after being laid.

Immature whiteflies are immobile and flat, much like miniature scale insects. The Silverleaf whitefly has a reputation for transmitting plant pathogens as it feeds on plants.

Whiteflies can cause serious damage to your plants if large populations of them develop on aging plants. They are related to aphids and can cause similar damage.

TREATMENTS

  • Essential oils – neem oil will deter them
  • Plants that repel whiteflies – peppermint, thyme, basil, chives, and marigolds
  • Natural insecticidal soap
  • Garlic spray – Crush 1 garlic head, strain the fluid from the garlic pod and add it to 4 cups of water in a spray bottle. Spray the affected plants. You can also add 2 tablespoons of insecticidal soap
  • Bird feeders – attracting birds to eat the whiteflies will help to eradicate them. Spreading bird seed around your plants is a good way to get the birds on the ground and around your plants so they can see the flies
  • Diatomaceous earth
  • Isopropyl alcohol – mix 1 part alcohol with 7 parts water and spray the affected areas

SPIDER MITES

Spider Mites

Spider mites are in the family of arachnids, but they feed on the chlorophyll at the base of leaves which takes nutrients from the plant and will eventually lead to the death of the plant.

The mites are mainly found underneath the leaves where they often spin webs.

They are hard to see because they are only a millimeter long but they do gather in groups called colonies.

The life cycle of spider mites is 3 – 4 weeks, but females can lay hundreds of eggs which take three days to hatch.

There are around 1,200 species of spider mites with the red spider mite in the picture above being a common species with the two-spotted mite.

TREATMENT

  • Attracting predators with plants – clover, dill, mint, fennel, and yarrow
  • Essential oils – use 15 – 20 drops of rosemary and or neem oil with water in a spray bottle and spray the affected plants to kill them
  • Natural insecticidal soap
  • Spinosad – a natural insecticidal spray that is made from fermented soil bacterium which is toxic to spider mites

CUCUMBER BEETLES

Cucumber Beetles

Cucumber beetles are yellow with black dots or strips and despite their name, they also feed on the leaves of beans, melons, squash, pumpkins, and corn.

Adult cucumber beetles live in warm climates and are not a problem in northern regions of the United States. While they’re not common north of the Rocky Mountains, their spread in the southern U.S. has resulted in widespread infestations.

TREATMENT

  • Till the soil – in the late fall, if you till the ground then they will be exposed to the cold temperatures of winter
  • Attracting predators with plants – clover, dill, mint, fennel, and yarrow
  • Essential oils – neem oil will kill them
  • Natural insecticidal soap
  • Pyrethrum – an organic insecticide that is extracted from the flowers of African chrysanthemums. It is biodegradable and in direct sunlight will break down within a few days, but gloves and a mask should be worn when applying it

THRIPS

Thrips are small thin winged insects that feed by making a hole in the outer layer of the plant and sucking the contents out.

This causes tiny black spots where they fed causing a scar on the plant and they can transfer diseases to your plants.

Not all thrips feed on plants, some are predators and feed on pests like mites.

TREATMENT

  • Natural Insecticidal soap
  • Essential oils – add 15 – 20 drops of peppermint, rosemary, clove, and thyme, into a spray bottle and fill the rest of the bottle with water, and spray them to kill thrips
  • Neem oil – repels thrips
  • Isopropyl alcohol – mix 1 part alcohol with 7 parts water and spray the affected areas
  • Spinosad – a natural insecticidal spray that is made from fermented soil bacterium which is toxic to thrips

MEALYBUG

Mealybug

Mealybugs are soft-bodied fuzzy white insects that suck the sap from plants and they increase the risk of plant diseases.

They are a common pest for food gardeners, ornamental gardeners, and orchard gardeners with around 275 different species.

TREATMENT

SCALE

Scale feed on the sap of plants making them susceptible to plant diseases.

There are over 7,000 species that differ in size, color, and shape with some having a soft body and others having a hard body.

TREATMENT

JAPANESE BEETLE

Japanese Beetle

A Japanese beetle infestation can be destructive as they eat the leaves and not the veins of the leaves.

They are a species of scarab beetle that consist of over 30,000 different species spread throughout the world.

Japanese beetle traps are a good way to find out how bad of an infestation you have but because they lure them in, it is not recommended to use them as a treatment.

TREATMENT