Information to Vegetable Backyard Pests: Identification and Natural Controls

Each vegetable gardener faces pest points infrequently, and studying find out how to handle the little leaf-munching menaces with out utilizing artificial chemical pesticides is an important step in rising a wholesome, productive backyard. To assist gardeners with this process, we’ve put collectively this easy-to-use information to vegetable backyard pests.

To make our information to vegetable backyard pests each user-friendly and simple, we’ve included important particulars about 15 of the commonest – and damaging – veggie backyard pests and many data on find out how to shield your backyard from the injury they trigger. Use the photographs and descriptions that can assist you determine the offender, then implement the helpful prevention methods. If these preventative suggestions don’t remedy your drawback, transfer on to using the listed bodily management strategies. As a final resort, we’ve additionally included our favourite natural product controls for every backyard pest. Use this information to vegetable backyard pests to develop a high-yielding, attractive, natural vegetable backyard.

Our information to vegetable backyard pests: 15 of the worst offenders

Aphids (many species)

Aphids may be discovered gathered in small teams on many vegetable vegetation, together with cabbage and lettuce.

Identification: Aphids are tiny, pear-shaped bugs. They are often inexperienced, yellow, brown, pink, grey, or black. There are each winged and non-winged aphids, relying on their species and life-stage.

Crops affected: Aphids feed on many species of potential host vegetable vegetation, together with tomatoes, lettuce, kale, and cabbage. Their prolific nature makes them sure-finds on each information to vegetable backyard pests.

Description of harm: Aphids suck plant juices, inflicting distorted, deformed development. They sometimes feed in massive teams on new plant development or leaf undersides.

Preventative measures: Promote useful predatory bugs by together with quite a lot of flowering vegetation with small flowers within the backyard. Study extra about utilizing useful bugs as pest management right here.

Bodily controls: You may take away aphids from vegetation by spraying them off with a pointy stream of water from the hose. Hand-squishing aphids is straightforward, or cowl vegetation with floating row cowl to guard them from bugs.

Natural product controls: Use horticultural oil, insecticidal cleaning soap, or neem-based pesticides to do away with difficult aphid infestations.

Asparagus beetle (Crioceris asparagi)

Asparagus beetles are a common pest for asparagus growers.

Asparagus beetle adults are very distinctive.

Identification: Grownup asparagus beetles are 1/four″ lengthy. They’re black with creamy yellow spots and a pink mark proper behind their head. The larvae are army-green, grub-like creatures with a black head.

Crops affected: Asparagus beetles solely feed on asparagus vegetation.

Description of harm: Each larvae and adults chew asparagus spears and ferns. Extreme infestations could cause full browning of the foliage and a discount within the vigor of the following yr’s crop.

Preventative measures: Grownup asparagus beetles overwinter in backyard particles, so minimize down ferns and clear up fallen leaves within the asparagus patch within the autumn.

Bodily controls: Shield rising spears with floating row cowl and preserve it in place all through the harvesting season. Search for small, darkish eggs on spears and hand squish them. Knock the larvae off the vegetation each day with a comfortable broom – as soon as on the bottom, spiders and different useful bugs will discover and eat them.

Natural product controls: Neem– or spinosad-based merchandise are efficient controls really helpful right here in our information to vegetable backyard pests.

Cabbage worms (Artogeia rapae)

Common pests of vegetable gardens include the imported cabbageworm.

Imported cabbage worm caterpillars are very damaging pests of the vegetable backyard.

Identification: Imported cabbage worm caterpillars are 1″ lengthy and lightweight inexperienced with a faint yellow stripe down the again. Adults are white to yellowish-white butterflies with as much as 4 black spots on the wings.

Crops affected: All members of the cabbage household, together with cabbage, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, radish, turnip, kohlrabi, and Brussels sprouts can fall sufferer to cabbage worms.

Description of harm: Cabbage worm caterpillars chew holes in leaves and flower clusters. They will trigger full defoliation if infestation is extreme.

Preventative measures: Hold birdhouses in backyard as birds take pleasure in consuming cabbage worms.

Bodily controls: Cowl inclined vegetation with floating row cowl from the time of planting till harvest as host vegetation don’t must be pollinated to be productive. Hand-picking the caterpillars can be efficient.

Natural product controls: Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt)-based pesticides work nice, as does spinosad, and sizzling pepper wax.

Carrot rust fly (Psila rosae)

Carrot rust flies leave tunnels through carrots and other root crops.

Carrot rust fly maggots go away distinctive tunneling behind as they feed.

Identification: Grownup carrot rust flies are very small, shiny black flies with an orange head and legs. The larvae are tiny, beige-colored maggots. Although this pest just isn’t present in each information to vegetable backyard pests, it’s turning into extra problematic for a lot of gardeners and deserves to be featured.

Crops affected: Grownup flies lay eggs close to many vegetable crops, together with carrots, celeriac, parsley, celery, parsnips, and others.

Description of harm: Carrot rust fly larvae feed on crop roots, leaving tunnels and scarring behind. Because the season progresses, the injury grows extra outstanding. Roots riddled with tunnels and scars are the outcome.

Preventative measures: Grownup carrot rust flies are poor fliers so rotate crops each season. Attempt to decide a web site downwind from final yr’s crop location. Additionally, wait to plant carrots till late Could or early June as that’s off the mating cycle of this pest.

Bodily controls: Preserve carrots and different inclined crops coated with floating row cowl from the time of planting till harvesting day. Feminine flies discover their host vegetation by way of scent, so inter-planting carrots and different crops with onions, garlic, and chives might assist restrict carrot rust fly egg laying.

Natural product controls: Useful nematodes launched into the soil close to the carrot crop assist management the larvae. Species of nematodes within the genus Steinernema are simplest. Apply within the spring in keeping with the bundle directions.

Colorado potato beetle (Lepinotarsa decemlineata)

Colorado potato beetle larvae feed on potatoes and other members of the tomato family.

Colorado potato beetle larvae feed on the leaves of potatoes, tomatoes, and different backyard crops.

Identification: Grownup Colorado potato beetles are 1/three″ lengthy, rounded, with black and tan striped wing covers. The larvae are half″ chubby, reddish-purple with rows of black dots on the facet.

Crops affected: All members of the tomato household are potential hosts, together with potatoes, eggplants, peppers, tomatillos, and tomatoes.

Description of harm: Each grownup and larvae Colorado potato beetles skeletonize foliage all the way in which right down to the leaf veins. They’re usually discovered towards the highest of the plant.

Preventative measures: Grownup beetles overwinter in backyard particles, so clear up the backyard and rotate crops yearly.

Bodily controls: Cowl vegetation with floating row cowl and go away in place till harvest. You may also hand-pick each the adults and the larvae.

Natural product controls: Spinsoad-based natural sprays are very efficient, as are neem-based pesticides.

Cucumber beetles (Acalymma vittata; Diabrotica undecimpunctata howardi)

Cucumber beetles spread bacterial wilt as they feed.

Striped cucumber beetles have black stripes whereas the noticed species have black dots as a substitute.

Identification: Grownup cucumber beetles measure 1/four″ lengthy at maturity. They’re vibrant yellow with spots or stripes, relying on the species. Their larvae stay underground and are seldom seen.

Crops affected: All members of the cucumber household are hosts, together with melons, cucumbers, pumpkins, gourds, and squash. Cucumber beetles are additionally generally discovered on corn, beets, beans, and different greens.

Description of harm: Grownup beetles make small, ragged holes within the leaves and flowers, and transmit bacterial wilt.

Preventative measures: Solely plant bacterial wilt-resistant cultivars, or plant cucumber beetle-resistant varieties resembling ‘Saladin’, ‘Little Leaf 19’, and ‘Gemini’ cucumbers, muskmelons, butternut-type squashes, and squashes within the species group Cucurbita moschata as they’re much less favored by the beetles.

Bodily controls: As with many different bugs listed on this information to vegetable backyard pests, cucumber beetles may be saved off of vegetation by overlaying them with floating row cowl, however on this case, you’ll must take away the duvet when the vegetation come into flower to permit for pollination. Mulch inclined crops with unfastened supplies like straw or hay to stop egg laying.

Natural product controls: Spinosad-based natural pesticides are efficient in opposition to the beetles, however planting resistant varieties will all the time be your finest line of protection.

Cutworms (many species)

Cutworms are a destructive pest of the vegetable garden.

Cutworms chomp off plant stems at ground-level.

Identification: Grownup cutworms are brown or grey night-flying moths. Their larval caterpillars are as much as 2″ lengthy and curl into a good C-shape when disturbed. The caterpillars are discovered within the high few inches of soil, and they are often inexperienced, yellow, brown, or grey, relying on the species.

Crops affected: Any younger seedling is inclined, however favorites embody tomatoes, broccoli, kale, cabbage, and others.

Description of harm: Cutworms sever seedlings at floor stage or girdle them by chewing the outer stem tissue. The presence of wilted or severed seedlings is a transparent signal of cutworms.

Preventative measures: Crop rotation is necessary as is defending the stems of younger seedlings at their base with a collar made out of a bathroom paper tube or aluminum foil nestled half″ into the bottom.Tilling the backyard in autumn to reveal pupae to predation and chilly temperatures can be useful.

Bodily controls: Bait cutworms with cornmeal or wheat bran paced in sunken bowls close to inclined vegetation; the caterpillars are drawn to the granules, however can not digest them and die.

Natural product controls: Useful nematodes (species Steinernema carpocapsae or Heterorhabdtis bacteriophora) blended with water and utilized to the soil are very useful for controlling cutworms.

Flea beetles (many species)

Flea beetles are a common vegetable garden pest.

Flea beetles could also be tiny, however they’ll trigger large hassle for eggplants, radish, and different vegetable crops.

Identification: Extraordinarily small, black or brown beetles, flea beetles are 1/10″ lengthy. They transfer in a short time and hop like a flea.

Crops affected: Many various vegetation are hosts to flea beetles, however favorites embody radish, potatoes, tomatoes, brassicas, corn, and eggplants.

Description of harm: Flea beetles make small, spherical holes in plant foliage. Their larvae stay underground and might eat plant roots, too.

Preventative measures: Follow crop rotation.

Bodily controls: Place yellow sticky playing cards above plant tops to lure and lure grownup flea beetles. Don’t use floating row cowl as it could possibly lure newly emerged flea beetles beneath it.

Natural product controls: Useful nematodes will help management larvae when added to soil. For grownup beetles, use garlic oil, sizzling pepper wax, neem, spinosad, or kaolin clay-based merchandise.

Leafminers (many species)

Guide to vegetable garden pests, including leafminers and many others.

Leafminers go away behind marred foliage. These have attacked beet foliage.

Identification: Grownup leafminers are nondescript flies that don’t feed on vegetation. Their tiny, brown or inexperienced larvae feed inside plant tissues.

Crops affected: Completely different species of leafminers feed on totally different vegetation, however for this information to vegetable backyard pests, widespread host vegetation embody spinach, chard, beets, nasturtiums, and blueberries.

Description of harm: Leafminer larvae tunnel between layers of leaf tissue, creating tell-tale squiggly tunnels and features on leaves.

Preventative measures: Lower off leaves the place tunnels are current all through the rising season and toss them within the rubbish to stop one other era. Injury is seldom extreme sufficient to trigger hurt to the plant.

Bodily controls: Place floating row cowl over inclined vegetable crops to stop adults from accessing the vegetation. Embrace numerous  flowering herbs within the backyard to draw useful bugs to assist management the leafminers (extra on this later).

Natural product controls: Leafminers are tough to manage with merchandise as a result of the larvae are between leaf tissue layers. Neem– and spinosad-based merchandise have some impact.

Mexican bean beetles (Epilachna varivestis)

Mexican bean beetle larva are a vegetable garden pest that feeds on many types of beans.

Relating to vegetable backyard pests, one of the widespread is the Mexican bean beetle. Here’s a larva.

Identification: Grownup Mexican bean beetles are copper-colored, ladybug-like beetles with 16 black spots (see decrease proper picture on this put up’s featured picture). Their larvae are gentle yellow with comfortable, bristly spines.

Crops affected: All beans, together with inexperienced, snap, pole, runner, lima, and soy, can host these beetles and their larvae.

Description of harm: Adults and larvae eat leaf tissue right down to the veins. Sometimes, in addition they feed on flowers and bean. The larvae are sometimes discovered on leaf undersides.

Preventative measures: Plant numerous flowering herbs as they appeal to a useful, predatory wasp that feeds on the beetle larvae.

Bodily controls: Cowl bean vegetation with floating row cowl from the time of germination till flowering.

Natural product controls: Sizzling pepper wax and spinosad are each helpful for the management of Mexican bean beetles.

Slugs and snails (many species)

Control slugs in the vegetable garden with these useful tips.

Slugs are among the many most despised vegetable backyard pests.

Identification: Slugs and snails usually are not bugs, however land-dwelling mollusks. Snails have a shell, slugs don’t. They are often grey, black, orange, brown, tan, or mottled, and infrequently go away a slime path behind.

Crops affected: No information to vegetable backyard pests is full with out slugs and snails as a result of virtually any younger seedling is a favourite of those pests. Slugs and snails feed on quite a few species of vegetation and greens.

Description of harm: Snails and slugs go away irregular holes in leaf margins or facilities. They feed at night time or on wet days, so usually the offender isn’t current throughout the day.

Preventative measures: Water within the morning solely as slugs and snail desire feeding on moist foliage. Encourage birds, snakes, frogs, and toads within the backyard as a result of all of those critters eat slugs and snails. Copper strips positioned round vegetation stop feeding as a result of a chemical response with the slime produced by slugs and snails.

Bodily controls: Handpick slugs and drop them right into a jar of soapy water. Beer traps additionally work, however the beer must be emptied and refilled each day.

Natural product controls: Use solely slug baits with the energetic ingredient of iron phosphate; don’t use baits made out of metaldehyde or methocarb as each are toxic to pets and different wildlife.

Squash bugs (Anasa tristis)

Squash bugs are a common pest in the vegetable garden.

These mating squash bugs will quickly lay bronze-colored eggs that can hatch into extra leaf-sucking squash bugs.

Identification: No information to vegetable backyard pests is full and not using a point out of what’s in all probability the hardest veggie pest to manage: squash bugs. Grownup squash bugs are 5/eight″, darkish brown with flattened, oval-shaped our bodies. The nymphs are grey and with out wings. They usually feed in teams. Squash bug eggs are bronze and laid in teams.

Crops affected: All members of the cucumber household fall sufferer to squash bugs, together with cucumbers, zucchini, squash, melons, and pumpkins.

Description of harm: Adults and nymphs suck plant juices with their needle-like mouthpart.  Broken leaves are mottled with yellow they usually ultimately flip yellow and die. Crops might flip crispy with a extreme infestation.

Preventative measures: Plant resistant varieties, rotate crops, and use trellises to maintain the rising vines off the bottom.

Bodily controls: Use floating row covers from the time of planting till flowering begins.  Take away egg clusters every day with a bit of tape; make sure you verify leaf undersides as that’s the place most egg-laying happens.

Natural product controls: Merchandise don’t work effectively on adults, however nymphs may be focused with insecticidal cleaning soap or neem.

Squash vine borers (Melittia satyriniformis)

Adult squash vine borers lay eggs at the base of squash plants.

Squash vine borer adults are seldom seen, however this feminine is able to lay eggs on the vegetation.

Identification: Grownup squash vine borers are pink and black moths that appear to be massive wasps. Their larvae are chubby, white caterpillars discovered inside the bottom of squash vines.

Crops affected: All members of the cucumber household are inclined, together with each summer season and winter squash, pumpkins, melons, and gourds. Cucumbers usually are not usually affected.

Description of harm: The presence of borers is usually famous as a fast wilting of the plant. Search for gap within the stem tissue close to floor stage for affirmation.

Preventative measures: Wrap a strip of aluminum foil across the base of the plant quickly after the primary true leaves seem to guard the bottom of the plant from egg-laying females (extra on this system right here).

Bodily controls: Cowl vegetation with floating row cowl quickly after planting and go away in place till flowering begins. If borer gap is discovered earlier than plant dies, slice open the stem, dig out the borer, and canopy the minimize with a mound of soil.

Natural product controls: Inject Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) into the borer gap with a needle-less syringe. You may also spray insecticidal cleaning soap on base of stem weekly to smother any eggs.

Tomato/tobacco hornworms (Manduca quinquemaculata; Manduca sexta)

Tomato and tobacco hornworms can be controlled organically with these tips.

These tobacco hornworms, and their shut cousins the tomato hornworms, are damaging pests within the veggie patch.

Identification: Grownup hornworms are massive, nocturnal moths with brown/grey wings. Hornworm caterpillars are inexperienced with white stripes or Vs on the facet of their physique and a comfortable horn or spike protruding from their posterior.

Crops affected: Members of the tomato household, together with tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplants, and tobacco, are host vegetation.

Description of harm: Tobacco and tomato hornworms go away darkish pellets of excrement behind. Injury is eaten leaves, usually towards the highest of the vegetation. The caterpillars feed at night time and shelter within the foliage throughout the day.

Preventative measures: Plant numerous flowering herbs with tiny flowers close to inclined vegetation as these flowers appeal to tiny parasitic cotesia wasps that use hornworms as hosts for his or her younger, ultimately bringing dying to the hornworm (extra on utilizing useful bugs to manage pests in a bit). It is a nice option to stop the entire pests mentioned on this information to vegetable backyard pests.

Bodily controls: Examine vegetation for hornworms regularly and handpick, however don’t destroy any hornworms which have the white, rice-like cocoons of parasitic wasps hanging from their backs.

Natural product controls: Spray merchandise are seldom essential as handpicking is extra profitable. If essential, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) and spinosad are efficient.

Whiteflies (Trialeurodes vaporariorum and others)

Vegetable garden pests include whiteflies and many others.

Whiteflies are annoying vegetable backyard pests that suck plant juices and trigger distorted development.

Identification: Whiteflies are tiny, white, moth-like flies. Infested vegetation are sometimes coated in sticky honeydew, the excrement of the flies. Whiteflies are sometimes current in massive numbers on leaf undersides.

Crops affected: Widespread whitefly hosts within the vegetable backyard embody candy potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, citrus, and others.

Description of harm: Each whitefly adults and nymphs suck plant juices, inflicting weak vegetation, yellow leaves, wilt, and in extreme instances, leaf drop.

Preventative measures: Rigorously examine all new vegetation for whiteflies earlier than buying from a nursery. It is a useful thought for stopping the entire bugs featured on this information to vegetable backyard pests.

Bodily controls: Hold yellow sticky playing cards simply above plant tops to seize the grownup flies and stop a brand new era.

Natural product controls: Insecticidal cleaning soap, horticultural oil, neem, and sizzling pepper wax are all efficient whitefly controls.

Extra on controlling pests within the vegetable backyard

No information to vegetable backyard pests can be full with out point out of how interplanting your veggie patch with flowering herbs and annuals will help restrict pest numbers by attracting the numerous species of useful bugs that prey upon backyard pests. For more information on find out how to use these good bugs to battle the pests in your backyard, take a look at Attracting Useful Bugs to Your Backyard: A Pure Method to Pest Management by Savvy Gardening contributor Jessica Walliser.

And, in case you have pests plaguing your flower and shrub beds too, we advocate a useful little area information known as Good Bug, Dangerous Bug to assist determine and handle pests in different elements of the backyard.

Associated posts:

One of the best vegetation for useful bugs
Use nematodes to battle pests
Houseplant pest management
Stopping pests within the backyard

Do you’ve got some other helpful suggestions so as to add to our information to vegetable backyard pests? We’d love to listen to about them within the remark part under. 

Pin it! An easy-to-use, straightforward guide to vegetable garden pests.


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