Common Garden and Garden Insects: The 11 Most Harmful Pests

Today we will talk about garden pests , insects that attack plants and that, sometimes, can spoil. It is important to know how to identify pests and what are the remedies to eliminate insects that are harmful to plants.

Today we will see what are the pests of vegetables , such as tomato pests, lettuce pests and insects that attack peppers, beans, cabbages, aromatic … and other typical crops of home gardens. Many of these common insects can also become pests of garden plants , such as flowers or fruit trees.

11 Types of common pests or insects on garden and garden plants

There are many other types of pests , but the ones we will look at next are the most common insects , the harmful pests that attack garden and garden plants most often.

To facilitate identification, I will leave a small review and a photo of these types of pests and their symptoms, as well as links to other Agrohuerto posts in which we talk in more detail about these common insects. (In those articles that I leave linked you can find more photos, information about each pest, ecological insecticides and home remedies to eliminate the most harmful pests of the orchard and ecological garden).

These are the main types of common pests or insects :

1. Aphids

Aphids are one of the most voracious common garden and garden insects, one of the most damaging pests out there. They can weaken plants in a short time since they reproduce very quickly and hundreds of them bite the leaves and shoots to absorb and feed on the sap of the plants.

At the points of the bites, yellow or brown spots appear and they cause the leaves to curl and dry, the deformation of the shoots … They can also cause other problems: when sucking the sap they can transmit plant viruses , and the honeydew that They secrete attracts other pests such as ants and can cause the «bold» fungus to appear.

There are aphids of all colors: green, red, orange aphids, or black aphids like these in the photograph …

Aphids differ very well from other types of pests because they have a domed body (without differentiation of head and thorax), long legs and, on the head, two «antennae» called siphons. Some have wings, although the most common are wingless (wingless).

Aphids are very harmful pests because they can attack many types of plants: they are polyphagous. They are common insects, for example, in fruit trees and garden flowers (such as rose bushes), but also in garden plants such as beans, potatoes, cabbages, tomatoes….

Article Aphids: ecological remedies to eliminate aphid and other s can find more about this pest and how to end it.

2. Whitefly

Like aphids, the whitefly pest is highly polyphagic, that is, it attacks many types of garden plants, weakening them by absorbing their sap.

The symptoms are very similar: the leaves roll up and dry, the plant weakens, the fruits stop growing …

They are small white bugs with two wings that look like flies (although in reality they are not), and usually live on the underside of leaves.

In the post Fight the whitefly in the garden: insecticides and ecological remedies you can find more information about this pest and how to eliminate it.

3. Beetles

One of the most common is Leptinotarsa ​​decemlineata or «potato beetle . » Despite its common name, it not only affects potatoes, it can also feed on other nightshades such as tomatoes or aubergines.

They are easy to identify by their characteristic shape and colors and by the signs on the plants: bites on the leaves and dark excrement that they leave everywhere.

As you can see in the photos, the eggs are orange and are usually on the underside of the leaves; and the larvae (orange and still without the characteristic stripes of adults) are very voracious and can kill a plant in a few days.

4. Snails and slugs

Although they are not insects, I have wanted to include them in this list because they are one of the most harmful and typical pests of orchards. These mollusks mainly attack leafy vegetables: vegetables such as lettuce, chard, basil …

Its damage is easy to identify: large holes or bites in the leaves of plants. There are several ecological remedies to get rid of them, such as beer traps or sawdust barriers. You can read more in the article How to eliminate slugs and snails from the orchard and garden .

5. Red spider and other mites

Mites, such as spider mites or yellow spider mites, are common garden insects that can attack almost all types of horticultural crops, as well as garden plants such as rose bushes or chrysanthemums.

Although they are tiny and cannot be distinguished well unless it is with the help of a magnifying glass, the mite infestation is easy to identify by the presence of its characteristic spider web and the yellow spots on the leaves, which gradually disappear drying up.

For more information about the red spider and how to eliminate it you can read the post Red spider in plants: how to eliminate the plant in an ecological way

6. Ants

They are easily recognizable, almost everyone is able to distinguish ants, so we will not dwell on their description too much. These common insects are harmful pests mainly because their presence is associated with other types of pests, such as aphids or whiteflies.

To know some tricks that help prevent and keep ants away from the garden, I leave you this link, where you will find some useful tips for ant pests.

7. Mealybugs

Mealybugs are very small insects, about 2 or 3 mm, that stick like limpets to the stems, shoots and fruits of plants, absorbing their sap. 

Mealybugs differ very well from other common insects by the white dust that surrounds them (hence their name). Like aphids and whiteflies, they secrete honeydew, so this humidity can favor the appearance of the black fungus and also attract ants.

Mealybugs are common insects in garden plants , since they tend to attack citrus and other ornamental fruit trees such as rose bushes, geraniums, oleanders … and aromatic plants. In addition, it is one of the typical and most harmful pests of garden plants such as cucurbits or nightshades.

In the article entitled Mealybugs on plants: how to eliminate a cottony mealybug pest you can find some ecological remedies to eliminate these insects.

8. Nematodes

Nematodes are not really insects, they do not have legs, antennae, or wings … They are microscopic worms that cannot be seen with the naked eye but can infect the soil and attack the roots of plants causing significant damage. They are a serious problem because they are difficult to eradicate. It is best to always take actions to prevent them and, if they are already in the field, use soil disinfection methods such as solarization

They mainly affect root vegetables and bulbs (potato, beet, carrot, onion …), but they can also attack other garden crops such as lettuce or tomatoes.

The main sign of nematodes are nodules on the roots (spherical bumps), and the general symptoms are wilting and dwarfism of the plants, yellow leaves (which gradually dry out) and can even cause the death of the plant. plant. In this link you can read more tips to know what to do if your plants have been attacked.

9. Trips

They are very small bugs but no less harmful for that. Thrips are common insects on garden plants and garden flowers.

They have an elongated, tubular body, usually with cross stripes or bands, and they move very fast. They are common insects in the garden, typical pests of crops such as tomatoes, lettuce, aubergines, strawberries or legumes such as beans. They are located on the leaves, on the underside of the leaves and on the fruits and scratch or scratch, with their small mouthparts, the plant surface causing some silver or translucent spots that later become necrotic turning dark. Against them you can use ecological remedies such as neem oil. You can see more photos and ecological remedies against thrips in this post written by Sandra.

10. Leaf miners

Leafminer flies of the Liriomyza family are common garden insects. They are small flies, about 2 mm in size and black and yellow in color. They are known as leaf miners because these insects produce bites or stippling on the leaves to feed themselves and to lay their eggs inside.

Once the eggs are laid in the thin layer between the upper surface and the underside of the leaf, the larvae grow inside, feeding on it and making very characteristic galleries (such as irregular undulations throughout the leaf) that then necrotize and dry. .

This typical garden pest can affect the leaves of many types of plants: lettuce, spinach, chard, nightshade such as tomato, pepper or eggplant, tubers such as potatoes, or cucurbits such as melon and watermelon.

11. Caterpillars and worms

Leaf-eating worms and caterpillars are common and very harmful pests. In the first phase or larval phase they are caterpillars or small worms and, after pupation, they become butterflies or moths.

There are many types of caterpillars or lepidoptera , although some of the most common in the garden are the tomato moth or Tuta  puro and the Helicoverpa armiguera (known as tomato caterpillar or heliotis), which can affect many types of garden plants such as tomatoes. , lettuce, peppers, beans, strawberries …

The main damages are large bites in the leaves and holes in the fruits and stems. In this post on how to eliminate a helicoverpa plague you can see some ecological remedies.

It is also a very good idea to use blue traps to capture the adult specimens (butterflies and moths ) and prevent them from reproducing, leaving eggs all over the plant from which the caterpillars and worm emerge. Álvaro told us about this and other remedies in the article on the cabbage butterfly, where you can read other tricks to kill this type of common insects on garden plants.

Other insects on plants

These that we have seen are just a few, but there are other common insects in garden and garden plants that can become crop pests, such as leafhoppers , field bugs or substrate flies. 

Do you know other typical orchard pests or common insects that have attacked your plants? You can complete the information in the comment thread or leave any questions that may have arisen.

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