Understanding what pests are damaging your lawn and garden is half the battle. If you don’t know what you’re fighting, you risk not using the most effective methods to rid your garden of unwanted insects and animals.
The following are some of the most common garden-damaging insects around the country:
- Aphids – Tiny yellowish-green lice found clustered on tender plant shoots, aphids stunt a plant's growth by sucking its juices, which cause leaves to curl. If left untreated, they can multiply at an extremely rapid rate.
- Japanese beetles – Destructive red and green insects that feed on flowers and leaves.
- Slugs and snails – Usually come out at night to eat low-hanging leaves.
- Leaf miners – Larvae of certain flies or beetles that feed on material within the lining of leaves.
- Spider mites – These common insects are very tiny and often white or red. Spider mites can cause widespread discoloration and deformities in many plants.
- Leafhoppers – Quarter-inch-sized green insects that suck the sap from leaves and destroy them.
- Caterpillars – Love to eat leaves. An infestation can completely defoliate plants and trees, and they can also be a problem for lawns in some areas of the country.
- Grasshoppers – These bugs can cause a lot of damage to plant leaves, but they can also make holes in other plant tissues. They love to eat beans, lettuce, corn and carrots. The good news, for those with a small garden, is that plants can withstand grasshopper feeding because their numbers won’t be as large as those that feed on large plots and fields of crops.
- Earwigs – They can feed on shoots and leaves, and sometimes flowers, but they don’t do a lot of damage. In fact, they can often be a benefit to your garden because they feed on aphids, snails and some types of larvae.
- Grubs – The larvae of many different kinds of insects and can do a lot of damage to lawns and the foliage of garden plants.
Don’t fret over the appearance of ladybugs, spiders, bees, or wasps. These are beneficial garden insects.
Depending on where you live, you may also notice small animals in your garden. These may include:
- Rabbits and squirrels – These cute critters can destroy the tops of plants or even entire plants.
- Birds – Crows and blue jays eat corn, seeds and seedlings, fruits, berries and nuts.
- Moles, chipmunks, mice and groundhogs – Like rabbits and squirrels, these animals can nibble away on leaves, stems and crops.
- Deer – If you live in an area that has a large deer population, chances are good that deer may wander onto your property for a taste of fresh vegetables.