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8 Bad Garden Bugs You Should Keep at Bay

Harmful Garden Insects You Don’t Want in Your Garden

When it comes to the garden, creating a balanced ecosystem is important, which means you do not want to remove all of the insects that come into your garden.

The tricky part is knowing what insects should be left alone or even invited to your garden and which ones are bad garden bugs that should be eliminated as quickly as possible when you find them in your garden.

Here are some harmful garden pests you do not want in your garden and some tips to get rid of them.

A grasshopper on a plant - one of the bad garden bugs

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How Harmful Insects Can Destroy Your Garden

If you are new to gardening you may be wondering how in the world a small insect can be truly damaging to your garden.

The truth is, one or two of any harmful insect in your garden cannot do much damage. But when they populate and get out of control, suddenly you find that you have nothing left in your garden.

The fact that an out-of-control population of insects can be so damaging is the real reason you want to work on creating a diverse ecosystem in your garden.

Inviting beneficial insects into your garden can help to keep the insects in your garden under control and prevent irreparable damage.

(You may also want to read this article for more information on how to attract lacewings and ladybugs to your garden.)

Most insects cause problems for your garden simply by eating away at the plants in your garden. However, some can cause issues by introducing diseases to your plants or cause harm by preventing the plants from taking up the nutrients it needs.

8 Common Bad Garden Bugs that are Harmful to Your Plants

#1. Aphids

Aphids are by far the best-known pest in the garden. Many people find that aphids can sneak up on them and take over a garden rather quickly.

Aphids damage plants by eating the nutrient-rich sap from the stems. This leaves the leaves of the plant to yellow and curl and can lead to damaged fruit if the plant does produce.

Aphids can be controlled by inviting beneficial insects to your garden such as ladybugs and lacewings. These insects will eat them before they can get out of hand.

If you have an infestation of aphids the best way to kill them is by using insecticidal soap to smother them out.

Or you can simply mix water with dawn dish soap and spray the aphids directly with it in the evening to kill them off. You have to be sure to get the bottoms of every infected leaf to get the desired results.

#2. Hornworms

Hornworms are a common pest found in tomato gardens. These are the larvae of the gypsy moth and these large caterpillars can eat nearly entire tomato plants in a short period of time.

These are best controlled by welcoming parasitic wasps into your garden to stop them from reproducing. When you find these pests in your garden you will need to kill them right away.

If you have chickens, they will consider them a wonderful treat. These pests blend in well so check well for more when you find one.

#3. Grasshoppers

Grasshoppers can be devastating to your garden. The small ones can often be ignored but if you live in an area that gets rather large grasshoppers that change from green to black you will need to be proactive about these pests.

Hand-pick grasshoppers and kill them by crushing them. These pests will continue to reproduce and can easily eat away at foliage quickly and leave your garden devastated.

#4. Leaf Miners

Leaf miners are hard to get rid of in the garden and can be identified by the trail they leave through your plant’s leaves.

These can be cleared away by spraying the plants with neem oil. One trick gardeners use to help plants survive attacks by leaf miners is to place banana peels at the base of the plants to break down and provide them with potassium to strengthen them.

#5. Cabbage Worms

Cabbage worms are a common pest known for leaving holes in the leaves of cabbage and plants in the cabbage family. They love to eat large leaves and turn into moths.

These can easily destroy a large portion of your garden in a matter of days if left unchecked.

Inviting beneficial insects and hummingbirds to your garden can help to control them. Neem oil and companion planting can be used to help prevent the moths from laying eggs in your garden.

#6. Cutworms

Cutworms get their name because they will wrap around the stem of plants at the base and eat them, causing the plant to be cut off from the root system. If you find your plants laying on the ground odds are they have been attacked by these pests.

You can control cutworms by placing collars on the stems of your plants and surrounding them with DE to kill them off. Cutworms are a delicacy to birds that may visit your garden.

#7. Mexican Bean Beetles

Mexican bean beetles are orange beetles that are often mistaken for ladybugs. These beetles will eat away at the tissue from the undersides of leaves, destroying the leaves.

If they eat enough of the leaves on your pants it can lower your crop or even kill off the plant by cutting off the plants ability to make food through photosynthesis.

These pests need to be hand-picked when you find them. You can use neem oil to repel them and some types of parasitic wasps can be used to help kill them off.

#8. Scales

Scales often leave gardeners confused. These insects look like odd scales on plants. These pests can lead to pockmarks on branches, yellowing leaves, and even leaf drop. They cabbage plants by sucking the vital nutrients out of them.

Getting rid of scales once they have formed their hard shells can be nearly impossible. The best thing you can do is to keep an eye on your plants and treat right away at the first sign.

Scales can be treated in the early stages with neem oil or insecticidal soap. If you miss them and they have formed their hard exoskeleton shells you will need to trim away the affected branches.

Be sure to burn the trimmed off branches to prevent the scales from further spreading. Then treat the rest of the plant in case you missed juvenile scales.

Final Thoughts on Bad Garden Bugs that are Harmful to Your Crops

Uncontrolled population of harmful garden bugs that cause a lot of damage to your crops. So, it is important that you be on the lookout for these bad bugs and take action to get rid of them immediately you notice any of them in your garden before they cause any harm.

Grasshopper on a flower with text that says, "Harmful garden insects you don't want in your garden".

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