With so many bugs in the garden, it can be hard to tell the good garden bugs from the bad garden insects and pests. Here are five common garden beasties that you certainly don't want settling into your vegetable garden.
Aphids are tiny, semi-translucent garden insects that can infect just about every garden vegetable imaginable. But don't let these tiny garden pests fool you, because females give birth to live young, they can can spread quickly. Signs of aphid infestation include deformed plants, curled leaves, and stunted growth. Sooty mold can also develop from their honeydew (which makes leaves sticky).
Two Garden Insects in One:
Cabbage Worms and Cabbage Loopers
Although cabbage worms and cabbage loopers are technically different types of garden insects (one is a caterpillar and the other is a moth), they usually occur together in the garden because they're actually the same species of insect, just at different phases in its life cycle. The important thing to know is that both cabbage worms and cabbage loopers are serious garden pests that will readily destroy just about any crop in the cabbage family. Signs of cabbage worm and cabbage looper infestation include ragged edges and holes in leaves.
Whiteflies are the tiny white-bodied, yellow-headed flies that are often found on the undersides of cucumber, potato and tomato plant leaves. Small but devastating garden insects, whiteflies can cause considerable damage to garden vegetables if left unchecked. Signs of whitefly infestation include yellow, decaying or sticky leaves and sooty mold.
Slow but no less irritating, slugs and snails are nasty garden pests that can do considerable damage to tender seedlings and low-growing fruits and berries (especially in warm and semi-tropical growing zones). Worse yet, they're slimy. Feeding on the soft tissues of young plants, snails and slugs are nocturnal, so if you want to find them, grab a flashlight and inspect your garden at night. How will you know if you have snails in your garden? Look for raggedy-edged holes and slime trails.
Colorado Potato Beetles —
Pretty but Damaging Garden Insects
It's too bad that Colorado potato beetles (also called potato bugs) are such pesky garden insects because they're actually quite pretty. Mottled and striped in bright yellows and oranges, Colorado potato beetles have a rather hand-painted quality that would probably be appreciated under different circumstances. Unfortunately, these little garden pests would much rather munch on your eggplants, peppers, tomatoes and potatoes than pose for a photoshoot or two. Signs of Colorado potato beetle infestation include ragged leaves and (in serious cases) stripped stems (often called stemming).
Looking for ways to deal with your garden bugs? Check out these herbs, flowers and plants that repel insects.
Images graciously provided by csontoslea, wikimedia, sumeja and beto camin. Thanks!