japanese beetle

Bad Garden Bugs


Gardeners are not fans of insects that wreak havoc on garden beds. You can keep away these unwelcome pests with simple, nontoxic methods. Below is the following list of pests and control methods used to keep them away.

1. Aphids

AphidsCan be found on most fruits and vegetables, flowers, and shade trees throughout North America. Aphids suck plant sap, causing foliage to distort and leaves to drop.

  • To control these bugs, wash plants with strong spray of water, and when feasible, cover plants with a floating row cover.
  • An application of hot-pepper or garlic repellent sprays can also be used.
  • When you a severe problem, apply horticultural oil, or insecticidal soap.

2. Cabbage Maggot

These stick to cabbage-family crops, and can be found throughout North America. The maggots tunnel in roots, killing plants directly or by creating entryways for disease organisms.

  • To control these cabbage maggots, apply floating row covers.
  • Set out transplants through slits in tar-paper squares.
  • Apply parasitic nematodes around roots; burn roots from harvested plants.
  • Mound wood ashes or red pepper dust around stems.

3. Caterpillars

Caterpillars are soft, segmented larvae with distinct, harder head capsule with six legs in the front and fleshy false legs on rear segments. They can be found on many fruits and vegetables, ornamentals, and shade trees. Caterpillars chew on leaves or some tunnel into fruits.

  • Encourage native predators and parasites, or hand-pick your harvest. Can also apply floating row covers.

4. Cutworms

Cutworms are fat, one inch long, gray or black segmented larvae that are active at night. They are found on most early vegetable and flower seedlings and transplants throughout North America. Cutworms chew through stems at ground level; they may completely devour small plants in May and June.

  • For control, use cutworm collars on transplants; delay planting; hand pick cutworms curled below soil surface.

5. Colorado Potato Beetle

Yellow and orange beetles with ten black stripes on wing covers. They can be found on potatoes, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, eggplant, and petunias throughout North America. These beetles defoliate plants, reducing yields or killing young plants.

  • To control, apply floating row covers;.
  • Use deep straw mulches.
  • Hand pick.
  • Attract native parasites and predators
  • Spray with neem oil.

6. Mexican Bean Beetle

Adults are oval, yellow-brown, ¼-inch beetles with 16 black spots on wing covers. They are found on lima beans, snap beans, soybeans in most states in the east coast, and also parts of Arizona, Colorado, Nebraska, Texas, Utah. Adults and larvae chew on leaves from beneath, leaving behind a lacy appearance.

  • Apply floating row covers.
  • Plant bush beans early and hand pick.
  • Plant soybean trap crops.
  • Put out lures to draw spined soldier bugs to your yard.
  • Spray with insecticidal soap or neem oil.

7. Flea Beetle

Flea beetles are small, dark beetles that jump like fleas when spreading. They hang out on most vegetable crops and are found throughout North America. Adults chew numerous small, round holes into leaves, and larvae feed on plant roots.

  • Apply floating row covers, as well as repel the pests by spraying plants with garlic spray or kaolin clay.

8. Tarnished Plant Bug

These are fast-moving, mottled, green or brown bugs, that have fore wings with black-tipped yellow triangles. They can be found on many flowers, fruits, and vegetables throughout North America. Adults and nymphs suck plant juices, causing leaf and fruit distortion, wilting, stunting, and tip dieback.

  • To control these bugs, keep your garden weed-free in spring.
  • Apply floating row covers and encourage native predatory insects.
  • Spray young nymphs with neem oil.

9. Japanese Beetles

Metallic blue-green, ½-inch beetles with bronze wing covers, while larvae are fat, white grubs with brown heads. They can be found on many vegetables, flowers, and small fruit in all eastern states. Adults skeleton leaves, chew flowers, and defoliate plants while larvae feed on lawn and garden plant roots.

  • To control these insects, shake beetles from plants in early morning.
  • Apply floating row covers and set out baited traps upwind of your vegetable garden on two sides.
  • Spray beetles with insecticidal soap.

10. Scales

Adult females look like hard or soft bumps on stems, leaves, or fruit, males are minute flying insects, and larvae are tiny, soft with threadlike mouth parts. They can be found on many fruits, indoor plants, ornamental shrubs, and trees throughout North America.

  • For control, prune out infested plant parts; encourage native predators.
  • Scrub scales gently from twigs with soft brush and soapy water, and rinse well.
  • Apply dormant or summer oil sprays or spray with neem oil.

With a little diligence and patience you can keep the pest out of the garden with enjoy your harvest.

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