Bad Bugs in the garden:
There is nothing more discouraging as spending hours caring for your favourite plants only to have them infested with pests.
I monitor my garden pests every morning before starting my day.
I use also companion planting and "sticky traps" to deter pests where possible.
For "soft body" insects I use soap and water.
For "hard body" insects like beetles; I used soap, water and oil.
I also hand pick insects and drop them in soapy water with a tablespoon of oil.
Controlling Insect Pests
|Aphids||Small, pear-shaped, soft-bodied insects of various colours, with long antennae.||Many vegetables, annuals, perennials, trees and shrubs.||Insects suck plant juices, causing curled leaves, deformed buds and flowers. Transmit plant diseases.||For heavy infestation, use insecticidal soap for 2-3 days. Ladybugs eat aphids.|
|Apple Maggots||White or Yellowish 1/4" long larvae. Adults are 1/4" black flies with white or yellow marking on abdomen, zigzag black stripes on wings with yellow legs.||Apples, Apricots, blue berries, crabapples, cherries, pears and plums.||Larva make brown tunnels in fruit; damage hard to see in fruit.||Collect all dropped fruit. Trap flies with sticky traps made of a red ball coated in "Tanglefoot" or other stick substance. Hang 3-4 on tree. Trap flies in jar filled with 1 part backstrap molases and 9 parts water.|
|Armyworms||Brown and Green caterpillars with dark stripes, mottled brown head; 1 - 1/2" long. Adults are night-flying 1- 1/2" moths with grey-white mottled wings.||Various vegetables and grasses.||Caterpillars chew leaves, stems and buds, usually at night time.||Handpick and drop in soapy water. Use Bacillus thuringiensis ( BT ) for larvae.|
|Cabbage loopers||Light green caterpillars with yellow stripes. "Loop" as they walk. Adults are brown moths with silver spot on wing.||Members of the cabbage family; vegetables such as beans, lettuce, parsley, peas, spinach and tomatoes.||Caterpillars chew holes in leaves; bore into developing heads of cabbage family members.||Handpick caterpillars and eggs and drop them in soapy water. Use Bacillus thuringiensis ( BT ) for serious infestations.|
|Coddling Moths||Pink. 1 inch long larvae with brown heads. Adults are grey-brown moths with delicate brown lines on their forewings and fringed, pale hind legs.||Apples and pears ( serious pest ) also other fruits and walnuts.||Larvae cause early drop of fruit; form tunnels to core of fruit.||Use Sticky traps made of red balls coated with "Tanglefoot" or other sticky substance. Bacillus thuringiensis ( BT )and horticultural oils are good preventatives.|
|Colorado Potato Beetles||Yellow 3/8" long beetles with black stripes, orange heads and rounded backs. Plump red larvae have two rows of black spots on sides, black heads. Yellow eggs in rows under leaves.||Various vegetables such as potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and eggplants.||Adults and larvae chew foliage, defoliating plants.||Mulch heavily with clean straw or hay. Handpick and remove eggs in spring. Use pyrethrum for serious infestations. Ladybugs prey on them.|
|Cucumber beetles||One type is 1/4" long, yellow with black spots; larvae are slender and white; 1/4" long. The other beetles are 1/4" long, yellow-orange with black stripes; larvae are beige with brown head and brown spot on the last body segment; 1/2" long.||Vegetables, trees, flowers and fruits.||Larvae feeds on roots. Adults chew holes in leaves, flowers, fruits. Beetles may spread bacteria wilt of cucumber bits and cucumber mosaic.||Clear away plant debris, specially spent cucurbit plants. Use rotenone for serious infestations.|
|Cutworms||Larvae of nocturnal moths. Fat greyish to brown caterpillars, usually curled; 1-2 inch long. Overwinter in grass or debris.||Seedlings, transplants of most vegetables, annuals, perennials and some grasses.||During night, larvae chew stems at or below ground level.||Protect seedlings and transplants with 3" paper collars.|
|Flea beetles||Small, black, shiny beetles, some with curved yellow or white stripes. Hop quickly away when disturbed.||Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant, potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, grapes and melons.||Adults chew tiny holes om leaves. Larvae chew roots.||Use pyrethrum for severe infestations.|
|Japanese Beetles||Adults are shiny, 1/2" long, metallic green beetles with copper colored wings. Larvae are plump, 1" long grayish-white grubs with dark brown head, usually curled up in C-shape.||Adults feed on many fruit and shade trees, shrubs, flowers and few vegetables.||Adults eat foliage or fruits. Grubs chew roots of plants. Very destructive in masses.||Handpick and drop in soapy water. For long term grub control use Bacillus popilliae. Use pyrethrum for severe infestations.|
|Plum curculios||Adults are 1/4" long beetle with curved brown snout, mottled gray back with 4 humps. White larvae are legless grubs with brown heads.||Serious pest of stone fruits.||Adults make crescent shaped cuts in fruit to lay eggs in spring. Hatching larvae eat within fruit.||Collect dropped fruit and destroy. Shake adults into soapy water or crush. Use rotenone for severe infestations.|
|Sawflies||Several species of wasp-like flies with 2 pair of wings. Can be 5/8 - 1-1/2" long. Larvae looks similar to caterpillars; may be black or green 1/2" long.||Various trees, shrubs, grasses, fruits and flowers.||Larvae feed on fruit and leaves. Some may roll or mine leaves or spin webs.||Hand pick larvae on smaller plants. Insecticidal soap is effective. Use pyrethrum or rotenone.|
|Squash Bugs||Flat, dark brown to black bugs with orange-brown on the abdomen; nearly 3/4" long. Nymphs have red heads, antennae and legs and green abdomen or are dark greenish grey.||Various vine crops, especially squash and pumpkins.||Both Adult and nymphs suck plant juices, causing leaves to wilt, blacken and dry.||Clear away spent crops after harvest. Place boards in garden, destroy bugs that hide underneath. Insecticidal soap is effective. Use pyrethrum or rotenone.|
|Squash vine borers||White 1" long larvae with brown heads and tiny brown legs. Adults are orange and black clear-winged moths; 1-1/2" long.||Pumpkins, gourds, squash, cucumbers, muskmelons and watermelons.||Boring larvae cause wilted runners and vines. Deposits of yellow-green, sawdust-like material near the bases of stems and around wounds.||Inject Bacillus thuringiensis ( BT ) into the infected stems. Poke a flexible wire into entrance hole to kill larvae. Pile soil over wound to encourage rooting. Destroy vines after harvest.|
|Thrips||Thin 1/2 inch long insects with fringed wings.||Many flowers and vegetables.||Nymphs and adults of some species scrape plant tissue and feed on sap. Discolored twisted leaves; with flowering buds; pitted fruit.||Insecticidal is effective. Use pyrethrum in severe cases. Green-lace wings prey on thrips.|
|Wireworms||Thin, brown, 0hard-shelled, wormlike larvae; 1/2-1-1/2" long. Adults are brown or grey click beetles, with dark spotted heads; 1/2" long.||Vegetables, fruits, grass and flowers.0||Worms feed on underground stems, roots, or seeds of many plants, causing wilting and death.||Handpick adults in spring. Trap larvae by putting half a potato on a stick in a 3x3" hole. In 3-4 days, drop potato and worms in bucket of soapy water. Repeat until no longer a problem.|