Every vegetable grower is faced with pest problems from time to time, and learning how to deal with small browbeat that nibble leaves without using synthetic chemical pesticides is an essential step in growing a healthy and productive garden. To help gardeners with this task, we have developed this easy-to-use guide to vegetable garden pests.
To make our guide to vegetable garden pests user-friendly and easy, we have important details on 15 of the most common – and destructive-vegetarian garden pests and a lot of information on how to protect your garden from the damage they cause. Use the photos and descriptions to identify the culprit, then implement the helpful prevention techniques. If these preventive tips do not solve your problem, then proceed to the listed Body control methods. As a last resort, we have also included our favorite organic product controls for every pest in the garden. Apply them with caution and only after careful reading of the label. Use this vegetable garden pest guide to grow a beautiful, high-yielding organic vegetable garden.
Our Guide to Vegetable Garden Pests: 15 of the worst evildoers
Identification: Aphids are tiny pear-shaped insects. They can be green, yellow, brown, red, gray or black. There are winged and non-winged aphids, depending on the species and stage of life.
Affected plants: Aphids feed on many types of potential host plants, including tomatoes, lettuce, kale and cabbage. Their fertile nature makes them safe-finds on any guide to vegetable garden pests.
Description of damage: aphids suck the juice of plants, causing disfigure and disfigure growth. They usually feed in large groups on the growth of new plants or on the underside of the leaves.
Preventive measures: promote useful predatory insects by including many flowering plants with small flowers in the garden. Learn more about the use of beneficial insects as pest control here.
Body controls: You can remove aphids from plants by spraying them with a sharp stream of water from the hose. It is easy to crush aphids by hand or cover plants with a floating blanket to protect them from insects.
Controls of organic products: Use horticultural oil, insecticidal soap or Neem-based insecticides to eliminate difficult aphid infestations.
Asparagus beetle (Crioceris asparagi)
Identification: mature asparagus beetles are 1/4 inch long. They are black with cream spots and a red mark just behind the head. Larvae are army green creatures that resemble worms with a black head.
Affected plants: asparagus beetles feed only on asparagus plants.
Description of damage: Larvae and matures chew asparagus spears and ferns. Severe infestation can lead to a complete browning of the foliage and a decrease in the harvest strength of the following year.
Preventive measures: mature asparagus beetles hibernate in the debris of the garden, so cut off the ferns and clean the fallen leaves in the asparagus plot in the fall.
Body Controls: protect emerging spears with a floating row cover and keep them in place throughout the harvest season. Look for small dark eggs on the spears and crush them by hand. Remove the larvae of plants daily with a soft broom-as soon as they are on the ground, spiders and other useful insects will find and consume them.
Controls of organic products: Neem or spinosad products are effective controls recommended here in our guide to vegetable garden pests.
In the following video, our horticulturist will show you how asparagus beetles look at all stages of their life cycle. In addition, she offers tips on how to get rid of asparagus beetles in a biological way.
Identification: imported cabbage worm caterpillars are 1 ” long and are light green with a slight yellow stripe in the back. Mature are white to yellowish-white butterflies with up to four black spots on the wings.
Affected plants: All members of the cabbage family, including cabbage, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, radish, turnip, kohlrabi and Brussels sprouts, can become victims of cabbage worms.
Description of the damage: the caterpillars of the cabbage worm chew holes in the leaves and flower bushes. They can cause complete defoliation if the infestation is severe.
Preventive measures: hang nesting boxes in the garden, while birds like to eat cabbage worms.
Body controls: Cover sensitive plants with a floating blanket in rows from the time of planting to harvest, as the host plants do not need to be pollinated to be productive. Manual picking of caterpillars is also effective.
Controls of organic products: Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) insecticides work very well, as do spinosad and chili wax.
Identification: Mature carrot rust flies are very small shiny black flies with an orange head and paws. The larvae are tiny maggots of beige color. Although this pest is not listed in all guides to vegetable garden pests, it is becoming more and more problematic for many gardeners and deserves to be presented.
Affected plants: Mature flies lay eggs near many vegetable crops, including carrots, celery, persil, celery, parsnips and others.
Description of damage: the larvae of the carrot rust fly feed on the roots of crops, leaving tunnels and scars. As the season progresses, the damage becomes greater. Roots with tunnels and scars are the result.
Preventive measures: Mature carrot rust flies are bad thieves, so turn the plants every season. Try to choose a site under the wind from last year’s harvest site. In addition, wait until the end of May or early June to plant carrots, as they are outside the mating cycle of this pest.
Body controls: Keep carrots and other sensitive plants covered with a floating row blanket from the time of planting until the day of harvest. Female flies find their host plants by smell, so planting carrots and other crops with onions, garlic and chives can help limit the laying of carrot rust flies.
Controls of organic products: useful nematodes released into the soil near the carrot culture help control the larvae. The most effective are the nematode species of the genus Steinernema. Apply in the spring according to the instructions on the package.
Altisen (many species)
Identification: Beetle extremely small, black or brown, the altises are 1/10 ” long. They move very quickly and jump like a chip.
Affected plants: many different plants are the hosts of the altises, but favorites include radish, potatoes, tomatoes, brassicas, corn and eggplant.
Description of damage: altises form small round holes in the foliage of plants. Their larvae live underground and can also consume the roots of plants.
Preventive measures: Practice crop rotation.
Body controls: Place sticky yellow cards over the top of the plants to attract and catch mature hatchlings. Do not use a floating row cover as it can trap the newly emerging lichens underneath.
Biological controls: useful nematodes can help control larvae when added to the soil. For mature beetles use garlic oil, chili wax, neem, spinosad or products made from kaolin clay.
Squash bedbugs (Anasa tristis)
Identification: No guide to vegetable garden pests is complete without a mention of what is probably the most difficult vegetarian pest to control: squash bugs. Mature squash bugs are 5/8 inches, dark brown with flattened and oval body. The nymphs are grey and wingless. They often feed in groups. The eggs of squash bedbugs are made of bronze and laid in groups.
Affected plants: All members of the cucumber family are victims of pumpkin bugs, including cucumbers, zucchini, squash, melons and pumpkins.
Description of damage: Mature and nymphs suck the juice of plants with their needle-shaped mouth part. The damaged leaves are colored yellow, and they eventually turn yellow and die. Plants can become crispy with severe infestation.
Preventive measures: plant resistant varieties, twist the plants and use trellises to make the vines grow out of the ground.