Garden Pest Spotting: How To Identify That Annoying Bug Eating Your Plants

Taking the time to identify the bugs that invade your garden can save your plants. Common garden pests can be easily avoided.

Creating and maintaining a garden is a rewarding experience. Flowers, trees and other plants enhance to look of your home and yard and provide enjoyment for your family. So, what do you do if your beautiful plants begin to be devoured by annoying bugs? The first step is to identify what's eating your plants.

There are wide ranges of pests that can attack a home garden. One of the most common is a soft oval shaped insect called an aphid. These pesky bugs love to live on rose bushes and other flowering plants. It's often easy to tell if your plants have aphids because they take large bites out of the plants leaves. Aphids come in a variety of colors such as green, pink, red, and black; some have wings, some don't. Aphids can be combated with a simple solution of anti-bacterial soap and water.

Another common bug that attacks both flower and vegetable plants is earwigs. These insects are reddish-brown, have long antennae on one end of their body and pinchers on the other. They are found across the United States. Earwigs come out at night and feed on soft or decaying matter such as ripe vegetables and young flower blossoms. You're your flower petals and young produce is being eaten you most likely have earwigs. Earwigs can be trapped and disposed of by leaving out small, short tin cans with vegetable oil in them.



If your entire garden seems to have been wiped out at once, it's likely your garden bugs are grasshoppers. These common pests leave tattered, jagged holes in the leaves of your garden plants. Grasshoppers have long narrow bodies, with long angled back legs that help them jump. Their heads have large eyes and chewing mouthparts. Adult grasshoppers have wings and can fly while young grasshoppers have no wings and constantly feed. Grasshopper eggs usually start hatching from March to June. Grasshoppers can be avoided by spraying their eggs with a chemical spray and by using netting to protect your plants.

Often times, garden plants will appear to have dirty or yellowish spots on the leaves. The common cause for this type of discoloration is mealy bugs. These pests attach everything from houseplants to potato crops. They prefer citrus fruit plants and appear in clusters on the undersides of leaves. They clump together on in the forks of twigs and branches where they suck plant juices and damage the plant's tissues. Mealy bugs are small and oval appearing dusty as though they have fur or lint on them. Cold water or insecticidal soap is all that is needed to control a mealy bug problem.

Clusters or yellow or small dots on normally green plants indicates that your plants are infested with mites. Mites appear as tiny red, yellow or green specks and have eight legs. Mites sometimes leave webbing on the undersides of the leaves they attack. An easy way to see if you have mites it so shake your plant leaves over a sheet of paper and see if mites fall onto the paper. If they do you will see tiny, moving specks on the paper. Mites prefer dried out or dirty leaves and can be controlled with water or insecticidal soap.

Thrips are bugs that scrape tissue from flowers and their leaves and drink the plant juices. They cause leaves to appear shrunken and curled up and flowers to appear twisted and stuck together instead of opening properly. Thrips prefer light colored flower blossoms. A natural enemy and remedy for thrips are ladybird beetles. They can also be combated with insecticidal soap.

Getting to know about the most common garden bugs can save you an enormous amount of time and frustration while tending to your plants. Although bugs can be an annoying part of gardening, the best way to get rid of them is to identify then and take action against them. By taking the time to recognize what's eating your plants you can have healthy plants that provide beauty and enjoyment for you and your family.

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