Garden pests are an issue for everyone; from the backyard gardener to industrial-scale agricultural operations.
While the costs of insect destruction and prevention are hard to measure, it’s estimated that 10% of the GNP in large, industrialized countries is spent combating garden pests.
If you have a garden of any size, you’ve probably encountered some of these bugs in the garden that can devastate your crops.
An important first step in eradicating garden bugs is being able to recognize the signs of their presence.
Let’s take a look at seven of the most common garden pests and what you can do to get rid of them.
1. Black Vine Weevil
Also known as the taxus weevil, the black vine weevil feeds on a number of different types of ornamental plants.
It’s considered the most devastating of the root weevils in Canada and the northern U.S.
If you’re looking for an organic means of getting rid of the vine weevil, consider applying nematodes as a soil drench in order to control the vine weevil’s larval stage.
Otherwise, there are a number of different pesticides you can use at the first sign of feeding.
Vine weevils can wreak havoc on both indoor and outdoor plants.
If you’re experiencing vine weevils or any other insect inside your home, it’s important to understand the difference between pest control and extermination.
2. Striped Cucumber Beetle
This yellow and black striped beetle feeds on plants in the cucurbits family, including cucumbers, squash, pumpkin, and watermelons.
While the adults feed on the leaves, the larvae feed on the roots of the plant.
If you see yellowing leaves and holes in the leaves of cucurbits, there are a number of different ways you can get rid of striped cucumber beetles.
Yellow sticky traps are one effective way, though you can also manually remove them from your plants when you see them.
Another option is to use row covers to cover seedlings, but you’ll have to remove the row covers for several hours a day during the flowering stage in order to allow for pollination.
These nocturnal, soil-dwelling creatures can really do a number on young seedlings and bulbs.
Their survival depends on a moist and cool environment, so you won’t see them out and about in the heat of the day.
During this time, they’ll be sheltered in shady, cool spaces under rocks, leaves, and boards.
You can handpick slugs off plants in the early morning or in the evening when they’re feeding.
Another way to deal with slugs is to place boards on the ground around the plants.
You can then collect them midday when many slugs will seek shelter under the board.
Shallow containers of beer also work as slug traps.
4. Leaf Miners
Leaf miner is the name given for the larvae of different types of flies, wasps, and moths.
One of the best ways you can avoid leaf minors is by cultivating the soil in the fall.
This is because they emerge in the spring after overwintering in the soil.
By tilling in the fall, you expose them to predators that will remove them from your garden.
You may find any of the more than 6,000 species of thrips feeding on a number of your garden plants.
Beans, carrots, onions, squash, flowers, and a long list of other garden staples can fall prey to thrips.
Feeding in large groups, the adults are incredibly small. At less than 1/25 inch, you might want a magnifying glass if you suspect their presence.
To get rid of thrips, it’s important to remove green plant debris as well as weeds and grass from around the garden.
Dry mulch is not a problem, but green mulch is in danger of attracting thrips.
It’s important to be mindful that the plants you’re bringing in aren’t already infested with thrips.
Make sure you don’t expose the rest of your plants to a plant that has thrip presence.
You can also use blue sticky traps to deal with adult thrips.
There are also a number of beneficial insects that you can release into your garden to help deal with a thrip problem, such as ladybugs, lacewings, and minute pirate bugs.
6. Flea Beetles
If you notice shiny, oval-shaped insects that jump like fleas and leave small circular holes in leaves, your plant might be infested by flea beetles.
Particularly attracted to eggplants, flea beetles also feed on a long list of garden crops.
To avoid having flea beetles, make sure to vulnerable crops as late as possible.
Flea beetles are most active in the early spring.
You can also transplant sturdy seedlings which will be more able to handle flea beetle damage.
You can also use white sticky traps to both trap and monitor the flea beetles in your garden.
Cultivating in the fall or early spring can also remove crop debris and weeds in which flea beetles would find shelter while overwintering.
Particularly present during the start and finish of a growing season, there are at least 4,000 different species of aphids.
If you notice curled leaves, pale yellow spots on leaves, or distorted blossoms, you might have aphids.
Apids can be avoided by controlling the amount of nitrogen in your garden.
You’ll also want to save pruning for the middle of the growing season, as aphids like to feed in the early spring on fresh growth.
They can also be removed manually by using a cloth or spraying the plants with plain water.
Knowledge Is Power: Understanding Different Garden Pests Is the Key to Eradicating Them
Without dangerous, chemical intervention, it’s impossible to completely avoid garden pests.
By understanding their lifecycle, what they feed on, and how their populations grow, however, you can mitigate the negative effects of pests on plants through garden management practices.
If you found this article on garden bugs useful, be sure to check out the rest of our blog for more informative content!