Top Ten Garden Insect Pests

“There will be always some garden vermin biting on plants, on the other hand, not all bug damage is sufficiently critical to warrant activity. Indeed, even the most healthiest garden experience bugs at some time, yet despite everything they deliver a delightful harvest. As gardeners, we must each consider the level of pest activity that we are willing to tolerate.”

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The following list of pest descriptions and control measures provides a good starting point for tackling pest control in gardens throughout the United States and Canada. Control solutions are listed in order of environmental friendliness. Botanical sprays, which can have detrimental effects on beneficial insects and other animals, should be used only as a last resort.

1. Aphids
Tiny, pear-shaped; long antennae; two tubes projecting rearward from abdomen.

Host/Range: Most fruits and vegetables, flowers, ornamentals, shade trees. Found throughout North America.

Damage: Aphids suck plant sap, causing foliage to distort and leaves to drop; honeydew excreted on leaves supports sooty mold growth; feeding spreads viral diseases.

Control: Wash plants with strong spray of water; encourage native predators and parasites such as aphid midges, lacewings, and lady beetles; when feasible, cover plants with floating row cover; apply hot-pepper or garlic repellent sprays; for severe problems, apply horticultural oil, insecticidal soap, or neem.


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