While some bugs can be beneficial to your garden, others can be harmful to your plants. Several pests are known to snack on your plants, often causing damage. Being able to identify these bad garden bugs is key to keeping your plants safe. We’ve made a list of seven bugs that you don’t want in your garden.
There are many types of aphids that can attack your plants. These pests can be green, black, yellow, brown, or red. They range in size from 1/16"-1/8" in length. Some aphids have wings, while others don’t. These pear-shaped pests suck the sap from plants. Their feeding can cause stunted growth, leaf curling, and discoloration. They also secrete honeydew, which can lead to mold growth and attract ants.
2. Japanese Beetles
Japanese beetles can cause problems in your garden. These beetles grow between 1/3"-1/2". Adults have a metallic green head, copper wings, and patches of white hair on their abdomen. They feed on the leaves, fruit, and flowers of plants, often skeletonizing leaves. This can lead to stunted plant growth in young or unhealthy plants. Japanese beetle larvae can also be problematic. They feed on the roots of grass, causing it to turn brown and die.
3. Lace Bugs
Lace bugs get their name from their lacey appearance, which is created from the pattern of their veins. These pests range in size from 1/8"-1/3". They are light with dark markings. Both adults and larvae feed on the underside of leaves. They eat the plant’s juices, which can cause white or yellow spots. You are most likely to notice these pests during mid to late summer when populations are at their highest.
4. Tomato Hornworms
Tomato hornworms have a green body with a black, horn-like tail. They have eight white, V-shaped markings on their sides. Tomato hornworms can grow several inches in length. These caterpillars prefer feeding on tomato plants, but they will also target potatoes, peppers, and eggplants. They chew on leaves and produce. These pests can blend into the leaves, making it harder to spot them. Their dark green or black droppings can help you identify an infestation.
Many leafhoppers can make their way to your garden. Species vary in color with some being brown, gray, and green, while others are brightly colored. These pests can be smaller than 1/4", but some can grow up to 1/2". Leafhoppers feed on plant sap, causing white specks on plant leaves. When populations are large, their feeding can lead to discoloration, leaf curl, or death of leaves. Like aphids, these pests can produce honeydew. You are most likely to spot leafhoppers on the underside of leaves. When startled, they run sideways or hop away.
Another hungry bug often found in gardens is the mealybug. These pests are small, growing between 1/10" and 1/4". They have a waxy coating that gives them a fuzzy appearance. Mealybugs feed on plant sap, which can result in yellowing and curling of leaves. They also produce honeydew. If you’re dealing with a large infestation, their presence can stunt plant growth and cause leaf drop. Mealybugs hang out on stems, leaves, fruit, and underneath leaves and flower petals.
Unlike other pests on this list, leafminers actually live in between the layers of leaves. These pests are the larvae of moths, flies, and beetles. They are wormlike and can be cream, green, or yellow-green depending on the species. They feed on the leaf, creating white tunnels or patches. Because they live in leaves, it can be hard to detect these pests before damage occurs. If many leafminers are present, they can cause leaf drop.
It can be frustrating finding hungry pests nibbling on your plants. Quickly identifying these bugs will make it easier to eliminate an infestation. If pests are bugging your plants, our Maggie’s Farm garden products can help! Check out our 3-in-1 Garden Spray, our Beetle & Boxelder Bug Killer, or our Vegetable Garden Insect & Disease Control spray.