The Gardener’s Guide to Pest Insects

Insect pests in the garden can be real problem and need to be dealt with as soon as they appear. Crops can be decimated in a matter of days and many gardeners feel like they are in a losing battle. While it can be frustrating to see insect damage to your precious vegetables, you can take back control with the solutions in this guide.

Its important to remember that insects have a complex life cycle. They use host plants to lay eggs and feed their young larvae. Many garden pests then go through a pupa stage, among others, before entering adulthood as flying insects. While some insects migrate, most hibernate as as adults, pupae, or eggs in soil, tree bark or other plant matter on the ground.

Identify and Preserve Beneficial Insects

Beneficial insects can help pollinate plants, prey upon pests or even improve the soil. Here is a list of creatures you should gladly invite into your garden:

Pollinators – bees, wasps, moths, butterflies, flies, beetles, ladybugs, ants, birds, bats.

Predators – chickens, birds, opossums, garter snakes, frogs, toads, salamanders, bats, spiders, beneficial nematodes, green lacewing, ladybugspraying mantis, ground beetles, pirate bugs, assassin bugs, predator bugs, damsel bug, wasps, predatory mites, mealybug destroyer, aphid midges, flies, fungus gnat predator.

Soil Improvers – earthworms, ants, ground beetles, wasps.

Pests vs Diseases

You may see damage to your plants and assume it has been caused by insects or animals, but it could be a different issue altogether. Research is the key to success here. Bacterial, viral and fungal diseases can cause discoloration, lesions, spots, wilt, rust, mold, powdery mildew, stunted growth, curled/crinkled leaves, and blemished/misshapen fruit. If your plants are showing specific symptoms such as these, consult a list of plant diseases and symptoms to diagnose the disease and determine an appropriate treatment.

9 Strategies to De-Bug Your Garden

Insect Control

Companion Planting

Different plant species act as host plants for different types of insects. By planting a crop that attracts predatory insects near a vegetable that is plagued by pests, you let nature do the pest control for you. Some plants also repel pest insects due to their flavor or aroma. Planting strongly scented herbs around your garden vegetables can ward off many pest insects. Each insect has different predators and taste preferences, so refer to the list below when planning your companion plants.

Crop Rotation

Many insects overwinter or lay eggs in the soil, so if you had a pest problem the previous year, they are likely to still be present the following season. But if their food source is gone, they wont last long. Rotating crops every year will not only help with pest problems, but will also keep soil borne diseases at bay and improve soil nutrition.

Remove Debris

Keeping garden beds clean and weed free is one of the best ways to deter pests. When rotting fruit or decaying plant matter sits on the soil, its like a free buffet for pests. When pruning or weeding, carry a garden waste bag or 5 gallon bucket around with you to dispose of the materials properly. Plus, your garden will look much nicer without all that mess sitting around. Make sure to add the plant material to your compost.

Natural Pesticides

You may be weary of using pesticides in the garden since they are known to be toxic to humans, animals and insects. They can also contaminate soil and cause problems down the road. But there are safe options, just be sure to do your research – organic doesn’t always mean non-toxic. One safe option is insecticidal soap, you can buy it or make your own using a combination of 2TBS dawn dish soap, 2TBS vegetable oil and 1 gallon of water. Neem oil is another non-toxic product that is extremely effective on most insects. It is derived from the seeds of the neem tree and has a pungent garlic smell.

Soil Amendments

Diatomaceous Earth and garden dust are two safe products that can be sprinkled around garden plants and kill a large variety of pest insects. Eggshells, cinnamon, coffee grounds, and seaweed are great DIY options for deterring many soil bound insects or larvae. Reflective silver mulch can also deter many insect pests.

Physical Barrier

Use a portable garden cloche, row cover or mesh bags to keep insects away from individual plants. As long as there are no eggs hiding inside your barrier, no insects will be able to get through. You can utilize smaller mesh bags to place around individual fruits as well.

Plant collars made from plastic cups or toilet paper rolls as well as copper strips can prevent access to many garden pests including caterpillars, worms and slugs.


Employing traps is an extremely effective way to rid your garden of pest insects. Brightly colored sticky sheets are great for flying bugs such as aphids, leafminers, thrips and whiteflies. Place beer or sugar water into bottles or pans to trap and drown many crawling insects including slugs and snails.

Bring in Predators

Birds are natural predators for insects, so if you have poultry such as chickens or ducks on your property, you can use them as a free, natural pest control while supplementing their feed at the same time. Just be sure to supervise their time spent in the garden since their scratching activities can cause some damage to smaller plants.

You can also purchase predatory insects such as beneficial nematodes, praying mantis eggs or ladybugs to help control the pest insect population. Search for specific predators for the pests you are dealing with.

Hand Picking

This is most gardener’s least favorite option, but hand picking off pests can save a troubled crop. This usually works best for larger insects that are slow moving like hornworms or caterpillars. Removing eggs is a great way to stop pests before they even have a chance. Be sure to toss them in a bucket of soapy water as you pick them off. Hand picking is the most labor intensive method to remove pests and is typically best used in an emergency.

40 Insects that Love to Eat Your Plants

Common Pest Insects


Aphids are small insects that come in a variety of colors. Different species favor different host plants, but they all feed on the juice or sap of the plant. They can multiply quite quickly and like to hang out on the underside of leaves. Deformed fruit, misshapen or yellow leaves and sticky secretions are all signs of aphid damage. Some species of ants will actually herd aphids, protecting them from predators, housing them and milking them for the honeydew they secrete.


Host Plants: Artichokes, Arugula, Asian Greens, Asparagus, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Collards, Corn, Eggplant, Endive, Fennel, Kale, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Lima Beans, Okra, Orach, Parsnips, Peas, Potatoes, Radish, Rutabaga, Tomato, Turnips.

Predators: Assassin Bugs, Big-eyed bugs, Blister beetles, Damsel bugs, Lacewings, Hornets, Hover flies, Ladybugs, Midges, Soldier Beetles, Spiders.

Repel them with: Garlic, Horseradish, Leeks, Onions, Shallots.


Armyworm larvae are types of caterpillars that wreak havoc by munching the leaves and fruit on many types of vegetation in the spring. Near the beginning of summer, the larvae transform into adult armyworm moths that lay their eggs on the underside of plant leaves. Then a new generation of larvae are born with a fresh food source. The larvae will overwinter in the soil and emerge to feast upon garden plants again the following spring.


Host Plants: Artichoke, Asparagus, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Collards, Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Fennel, Gourds, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Melons, Okra, Peas, Peppers, Sorghum, Summer Squash, Tomatoes

Predators: Beetles, Birds, Earwigs, Lacewings, Ladybugs, Most Beneficial Insects, Rodents, Wasps.

Repel them with: Calendula, Caraway, Coriander, Dill, Fennel, Lemon Balm Parsley, Yarrow,.

Asparagus Beetle

The asparagus beetle emerges in early spring about the same time as asparagus spears. Damage from these pests can make the plants appear to twist and bend, rendering them inedible. The beetles then lay eggs on the asparagus stalks which hatch into larvae that feed upon the berries of mature plants. Asparagus beetles can have multiple life cycles per season.

Host Plants: Asparagus

Predators: Beneficial Nematodes, Birds, Lacewings, Ladybugs, Eulophid Wasp,

Repel them with: Basil, Calendula, Parsley, Tomatoes

Blister Beetle

Blister beetles get their name from the welts they create when injured or killed. They secrete a toxin called catharidin that can poison livestock if consumed, even long after the beetle has been dead. There are over 250 species with variations in color, but most are between 1/2-1 inch long. These beetles do the most damage in mid summer, attacking nearly any type of garden plant. Blister beetles also love to eat grasshoppers and their eggs.

Blister Beetle

Host Plants: Beans, Beets, Carrots, Cabbage, Corn, Eggplant, Kale, Melons, Peas, Peppers, Potatoes, Radishes, Spinach, Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes, Turnips

Predators: Birds

Repel them with: Horseradish

Bulb Mite

Bulb mites not only have a body shaped like a bulb, but also love to much on bulb shaped crops. Since their entire life cycle happens beneath the soil, the best way to identify them is by stunted plant growth or yellowing. Bulb mites often accompany other soil issues caused by decomposing organic matter.

Bulb Mite

Host Plants: Garlic, Onions

Predators: Cosmolaelaps Claviger

Cabbage Looper

These inch worms have three sets of legs on the front and back of their bodies with a large gap in their middle section, causing them to “loop” their backs up as they walk along. Cabbage loopers are larvae of the diamondback moth (so named for the diamond shape on it’s grey wings), which prey upon the same crops. They mainly attack crops in the cabbage family and can have several life cycles each season.

Host Plants: Asian Greens, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Celery, Collards, Cucumber, Eggplant, Endive, Gourds, Horseradish, Kale, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Melons, Okra, Radish, Spinach, Summer Squash, Tomatoes

Predators: Birds, Ladybugs, Pirate Bugs, Spiders, Small Animals, Wasps

Repel them with: Alyssum, Calendula, Dill, Garlic, Leeks, Onions, Shallots, Sunflowers

Corn Earworm

Not only do these pests plague the commercial corn industry, but they can easily find their way into home gardens as well. You may also hear them called tomato fruitworms or cotton bollworms. Corn earworms are the product of corn earworm moths and are most prevalent in late summer as corn cops ripen. These pests love to burrow into fruit and bring bacteria along with them.

Host Plants: Asparagus, Cabbage, Collards, Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Lettuce, Melons, Okra, Peas, Peppers, Potatoes, Spinach, Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes.

Predators: Big-Eyed Bug, Ladybugs, Minute Pirate Bug, Parasitic Wasps, Tachinid Flies, Trichogramma.

Repel them with: Cosmos, Dill, Fennel, Geraniums, Sunflowers


Crickets are omnivores, eating both plant matter and other insects, such as aphids. They also help break down decaying organic matter which can improve garden soil. For this reason, you need to take keen observations of your own garden ecosystem to determine if these creatures are doing more good or more damage before trying to eliminate them.

Host Plants: Arugula, Beans, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Corn, Cucumber, Gourds, Lettuce, Melons, Summer Squash

Predators: Ants, Bats, Birds, Frogs, Ground Beetles, Lizards, Praying Mantis, Salamanders, Snakes, Spiders, Rodents, Wasps.

Repel them with: Clover, Peas, Sage, Salvia, Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes, Verbena

Cucumber Beetle

These migratory insects can live through the winter in warmer areas and only have eon e life cycle per year. Cucumber beetles do the most damage in early summer as they feed upon roots, foliage, flowers and fruit. There are both spotted and striped color variations. They can carry a disease called bacterial wilt which affects the plants vascular system and is not curable.

Host Plants: Apples, Corn, Cucumber, Dandelions, Gourds, Melons, Peas, Summer Squash

Predators: Beneficial Nematodes, Braconid Wasps, Ground beetles, Soldier Beetles, Tachinid flies.

Repel them with: Alyssum, Borage, Calendula, Catmint, Dill, Radishes, Sunflowers.


These caterpillars are moth larvae that come in a variety of colors and can be up to 2 inches long. They prefer to feed at night and are therefore difficult to identify. Cutworms do the most damage to the base and roots of garden plants, but will make their way upward as summer progresses.

Host Plants: Asparagus, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Collards, Corn, Cucumber, Fennel, Gourds, Green Beans, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Melons, Potatoes, ,Radish, Summer Squash, Tomatoes

Predators: Birds, Braconid Wasps, Fireflies, Ground Beetles, Tachinid Flies.

Repel them with:

Darkling Beetle

Darkling beetles, whose larvae are known as mealworms, eat decaying plant matter as well as the fresh foliage of many garden plants. They will chew right through the stem of seedlings, before devouring the rest of the plant as it begins to decompose.

Darkling Beetle

Host Plants: Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Collards, Cucumber, Endive, Gourds, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Melons, Summer Squash

Predators: Birds, Lizards, Rodents, Spiders

Repel them with: Calendula, Peppermint

Driedfruit Beetle

Driedfruit beetles, or sap beetles, eat a wide array of garden produce by sucking out the sap of the plant and will lay their eggs directly on or in the plant’s fruit. When the eggs hatch, the larvae have a wonderful food source to start out strong. These little insects often plague orchards as well as home gardens. The driedfruit beetle has no natural enemies, so traps and insecticides are the best form of control.

Host Plants: Berries, Cucumber, Fruit Trees, Gourds, Melons, Summer Squash


Earwigs are another insect that borders the line of garden friend or foe. They enjoy munching and creating holes in flowers and plant leaves as well as plant debris. However, these insects also eat slugs, aphids and insect larvae which is very beneficial to the garden. They love to hang out in damp places like dead leaves or mulch.


Host Plants: Berries, Celery, Cucumber, Gourds, Herbs, Melons, Summer Squash, Strawberries

Predators: Assassin Bugs, Birds, Frogs, Lizards, Predatory Beetles, Spiders, Tachinid Flies

False Chinch Bug

False chinch bugs feed on plants by sucking out their sap and moisture. They migrate in large numbers and can be extremely efficient in destroying large quantities of crops. Be sure not to confuse this insect with its lookalike, the chinch bug or big-eyed bug which are beneficial garden predators. False chinch bugs are resistant to pesticides, have limited predators and are difficult to control after an infestation. Keeping weeds and grass manicured around your garden space is the best deterrent for these mobile creatures.

Host Plants: Cucumber, Gourds, Grains, Melons, Mustard Greens, Potatoes, Radishes, Summer Squash, Tomatoes

Flea Beetle

These jumping beetles feed upon the stem, leaves and foliage of plants, causing small round holes. Flea beetles overwinter in soil or under plant debris to emerge in spring, but they are most prevalent in warm, dry weather.

Flea Beetle

Host Plants: Artichoke, Arugula, Asian Greens, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Collards, Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Endive, Gourds, Ground Cheery, Horseradish, Kale, Kohlrabi, Melons, Nasturtium, Parsnips, Peppers, Potatoes, Radishes, Rutabaga, Summer Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Swiss Chard, Tomatoes, Turnips

Predators: Braconid Wasps, Tachinid Flies

Repel them with: Basil, Calendula, Caraway, Catmint, Coriander, Fennel, Thyme, Yarrow


Grasshoppers are herbivores that will leave chew marks and holes all over the foliage, fruit and stems of garden plants. Grasshoppers can become prevalent and begin to swarm at which point they are referred to as locusts. Sprinkling flour on plants will act as a sort of glue, causing the grasshoppers to starve.


Grasshoppers are one of the most notoriously challenging garden pest to eliminate. They are highly mobile and can escape danger quickly.

Host Plants: Arugula, Beans, Beets, Carrots, Corn, Cucumber, Gourds, Grains, Kale, Lettuce, Melons, Onions, Summer Squash.

Predators: Birds, Blister Beetles, Coyotes, Frogs, Praying Mantis, Robber Flies, Snakes

Repel them with: Calendula, Cilantro, Garlic, Horehound

Green Peach Aphid

Green peach aphids start out life as greenish yellow nymphs before developing into winged insects. These aphids carry and transmit plant viruses while feeding on plants and causing wilt or plant distortion. They can be prevalent in greenhouses and use container plants as free transportation into outdoor gardens.

Green Peach Aphid
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Host Plants: Cabbage, Cucumbers, Fruit Trees, Gourds, Lettuce, Melons, Peas, Peppers, Potatoes, Spinach, Summer Squash, Sweet Potatoes

Predators: Assassin Bugs, Big-eyed bugs, Blister beetles, Damsel bugs, Entomopathogenic Fungi, Lacewings, Hornets, Hover flies, Ladybugs, Midges, Parastic Wasps, Soldier Beetles, Spiders.


Tomato hornworms are one of the largest and easiest to spot caterpillars in the vegetable garden. They get their name from the white “horns” that grow out of their backs as they mature. Hornworms pupate in the soil, transforming into moths and can complete two life cycles per season.


Host Plants: Eggplants, Peppers, Potatoes, Tobacco, Tomatoes,

Predators: Lacewings, Ladybugs, Wasps

Repel them with: Basil, Borage, Calendula, Dill

Japanese Beetle

Japanese beetles can be identified by their shiny, metallic bodies that appear in blue, green and copper hues. They will form large groups and feast upon overripe fruit and plant leaves between veins. Japanese beetle larvae are refereed to as white grubs and spend 10 months in the soil feeding upon seedling and grass roots. Although adults are only are only active for 4-6 weeks, they can fly several miles to infest new areas and do serious damage. There are bag traps specifically designed for Japanese beetles.

Japanese Beetle

Host Plants: Bush Beans, Fruit Trees, Pole Beans

Predators: Ants, Assasin Bugs, Birds, Ground Beetles, Moles, Spiders, Raccoons, Tachinid Flies

Repel them with: Calendula, Catmint, Garlic, Leeks, Onions, Shallots


As you may have guessed, these minute bug’s bodies are designed to jump from plant to plant. Leafhoppers start out life as nymphs and come in a large variety of bold colors. These insects attack many types of garden plants and transmit plant pathogens as they eat.


Host Plants: Beets, Corn, Cucumber, Gourds, Melons, Poatoes, Pumpkins, Soybeans, Summer Squash, Tomatoes, Zucchini

Predators: Assasin Bugs, Birds, Damsel Bugs, Lacewings, Ladybugs,  Lizards, Minute Pirate Bugs, Parasitic Wasps, Spiders

Repel them with:


Leafminer flies lay their eggs on the underside of plant leaves. When the eggs hatch into leafminer maggots, they eat and tunnel through the leaves leaving a maze of unsightly lines that can stunt plant growth and reduce yields.

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Host Plants: Artichoke, Arugula, Asian Greens, Beets, Blackberries, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Collards, Corn, Cucumber, Endive, Garlic, Gourds, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Lettuce, Melons, Onions, Peas, Peppers, Spinach, Summer Squash, Tomatoes

Predators: Lacewings, Parasitic Wasps

Repel them with: Calendula, Dill, Yarrow


Leafrollers create nests by rolling plant leaves and securing them with silk. Affected leaves can be cut off or the caterpillars can be hand picked. Leafrollers mature into the codling moth.

Host Plants: Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Collards, Fruit Trees, Kohlrabi, Peppers

Predators: Assassin Bugs, Parasitic Wasps, Predatory Beetles, Spiders, Tachinid Flies

Lygus Bug

Also known as the legume bugs, lygus bugs puncture plant tissue and suck out the sap. Both nymphs and adults cause serious damage to plants that appears as discoloration, lesions or deformation of leaves.

Lygus Bug

Host Plants: Artichoke, Eggplant, Lettuce, Strawberries, Tomatoes

Predators: Big-eyed Bugs, Damsel Bugs, Minute Pirate Bugs, Parasitic Wasps, Spiders

Melon Aphid

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Host Plants: Cucumber, Gourds, Melons, Summer Squash, Zucchini

Predators: Braconid Wasps, Flower Flies, Ladybugs, Spiders

Repel them with: Basil, Garlic, Mint, Nasturtium, Onion, Parsley, Rosemary, Sunflowers

Mexican Bean Beetle

The Mexican bean beetle has eight spots on each wing and has a creamy yellow color which darkens as it ages. The beetles overwinter in moist areas and under leaves and make their main appearance in mid summer. They lay eggs under bean leaves and their larvae hatch and begin feeding in groups. Both adults and larvae will feed on leaves, flowers and bean pods.

Mexican Bean Beetle

Host Plants: Bush Beans, Lima Beans, Mung Beans, Pole Beans, Soybeans

Predators: Birds, Parasitic Wasps, Soldier Beetles, Tachinid Flies, Toads

Repel them with: Calendula, Garlic, Nasturtium, Potatoes, Rosemary


Not to be confused with beneficial nematode species, nematodes are microscopic roundworms that live in soil and feed upon plant roots. Although they can’t be seen by the naked eye, the damage they cause is easy to see. The root damage caused by Nematodes make it difficult for plants to take in water and nutrition causing discoloration, yellowing, stunted growth and distortions to the plant’s structure. It can be difficult to distinguish between nematode damage and disease, so solutions may be trial and error.

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Host Plants: Cucumber, Eggplant, Fennel, Gourds, Okra, Peas, Peppers, Summer Squash, Tomatoes

Predators: Beneficial Nematoeds, Centipedes, Many Insect Larvae, Mites, Symphylans, Tardigrades

Potato/Tomato Psyllid and Tuberworm

This insect uses its piercing mouth to penetrate foliage and extract plant juices. Psyllids live year round in warm climates and migrate long distances to northern locations during summer. Signs of damage appear first as yellow or purple discoloration along leaf edges followed by curling.

Host Plants: Eggplant, Fruit Trees, Peppers, Potatoes, Tomatoes

Predators: Birds, Damsel Bugs, Lacewings, Minute Pirate Bugs, Spiders

Repel them with: Clove, Peppermint

Slug and Snail

Snails (with a shell) and slugs (without a shell) are actually members of the mollusk family. Slug and snail populations can become quite large and often go unnoticed due to their nocturnal feeding habits. They prefer dark moist conditions and will reside under plant debris. Cornmeal placed in containers attracts slugs and snails, but expands inside their bodies, killing them after conumption.

Host Plants: Artichoke, Asian Greens, Bush Beans, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Celery, Jerusalem Artichokes, Lettuce, Pole Beans

Predators: Beneficial Nematodes, Birds, Ground Beetles, Hedgehogs, Newts, Snakes, Toads,

Repel them with: Anise, Fennel, Garlic, Leeks, Onions, Rosemary, Shallots, Wormwood

Spider Mite

Spider mites favor hot dry conditions and can multiply rapidly. They are very difficult to see, but will cause damage to leaves that shows up as tiny spots, stippling, changes in color, or curling. Pesticides don’t work for spider mites, in fact, they actually kill the predatory insects that prey upon them. Try insecticidal soap, neem oil or coco wet to spray plants.

Spider Mite

Host Plants: Asparagus, Beans, Beets, Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Gourds, Ground Cherry, Melons, Okra, Peas, Peppers, Soybeans, Strawberries, Summer Squash

Predators: ladybugs, lacewing and predatory mites

Repel them with: Chives, Coriander, Dill, Garlic, Onions, Rosemary

Squash Bug

Aptly named, squash bugs will devour anything in the squash family. They overwinter in plant debris and flock to squash vines as soon as the weather permits them to grow. Both adults and nymphs feed upon plants by sucking out sap. They leave behind a toxin that causes yellow or brown spots to appear on leaves. Plants may also wilt, appear brittle or have small jagged holes.

Repel them with: Cucumber, Gourds, Melons, Summer Squash

Predators: Damsel Bugs, Ground Beetles, Praying Mantis, Sceleonids, Tachinid Flies

Repel them with: Bee Balm, Calendula, Catmint, Dill, Nasturtiums, Radishes, Tansy

Stink Bug

Stink bugs are similar in appearance to squash bugs and feed quite the same way, however they give off a distinctive odor when crushed. Drowning and natural insecticides are some of the best solutions for controlling stink bugs.

Stink Bug

Host Plants: Cucumbers, Fruit Trees, Gourds, Melons, Soybeans, Sorghum, Summer Squash, Tomatoes

Predators: Assasin Bugs, Bats, Birds, Parasitic Flies and Wasps, Spiders

Repel them with: Calendula, Catmint, Garlic, Lavender, Radishes, Tansy, Thyme


Symphylians live in the soil and have the appearance of translucent white centipedes with long antanae. They feed upon decaying plant matter and plant roots, causing plants to become discoloered, distored or stunted. Large populations often occur in rich soil with large deposits of water sediment. Tilling soil can be one of the most effect methods to control symphylans.

Host Plants: Asparagus, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Collards, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Spinach, Tomatoes

Predators: Beetles, Centipedes, Mites, Spiders


These flying insects feed in large groups by sucking juices from plant material, flowers and fruit causing silver streaks and speckles. They also transmit viruses to plants causing wilting and stunted growth.

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Host Plants: Arugula, Asparagus, Beans, Carrots, Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Endive, Fruit Trees, Garlic, Gourds, Leeks, Lettuce, Melons, Okra, Onions, Peas, Peppers, Shallots, Soybeans, Summer Squash, Tomatoes

Predators: Lacewings, Ladybugs, Minute Pirate Bugs, Predatory Mites

Repel them with: Basil, Cilantro, Dill, Fennel, Yarrow


Although webworms often eat leaves of hardwood trees, they also find their way into orchards and gardens. Larvae feed from the safety of their silk web beneath leaves before transforming in to white moths. Affected leaves will take on a skeleton like appearance with only the veins remaining.


Host Plants: Beets, Fruit Trees, Kale

Predators: Birds, Parasitic Flies, Spiders, Stink Bugs, Wasps

Repel them with: Basil, Borage, Mint


Weevils and their larvae will destroy just about any garden vegetable. They feed at night and hide in mulch or decaying plant matter during the day. They look similar to other beetles but are defined by their long snout.


Host Plants: Artichokes, Peas, Peppers, Raspberries, Strawberries, Sweet Potatoes

Predators: Birds, Fire Ants, Parasitic Wasps, Spiders

Repel them with: Bay Leaves, Catmint


Whiteflies appear to be tiny white moths but are more closely related to aphids than actual flies. Whiteflies and their nymphs feed upon the sap of plants causing them to yellow, shrivel and fall off. They secrete a sticky substance known as honeydew which can then be colonized by a black fungus causing further damage to plants.


Host Plants: Artichokes, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Collards, Eggplant, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Okra, Peppers, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes

Predators: Dragonflies, Lacewings, Ladybugs, Spiders, Whitefly Parasite

Repel them with: Basil, Calendula, Nasturtium


Wireworms are the larvae of click beetles that overwinter in garden soil. These soil dwelling insects can reach 3/4 inches in length and attack root crops among others. They can be killed by flooding soil before planting.

Host Plants: Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Collards, Corn, Cucumber, Gourds, Grains, Kohlrabi, Melons, Parsnips, Potatoes, Rutabaga, Salsify, Spinach, Summer Squash, Strawberries, Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes, Turnips

Predators: Beneficial Namatodes, Fly Larvae

Take Back Control

If you see insect pests in your garden, don’t dispair. Many are easily managed and now you have the tools and knowledge to take them on. Please feel free to comment below and share your own solutions for garden pest control!

The Gardener's Guide to Pest Insects

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