Gardening is a great way to spruce up your yard while soaking up the sun. Unfortunately, you aren’t the only one enjoying the plants and flowers. Some insects like to feed on plant sap, which can harm your plants. We’ve made a list of some of the most common pests that could be hiding in your garden.
Aphids are tiny insects that love to hang out on your plants. These pests are usually under ¼ʺ and have a pear-shaped body. They come in a variety of colors including white, green, black, and brown. When aphids suck sap from fruits, vegetables, or flowers, they often cause damage. If your plants have yellow, curled, or spotted leaves, aphids could be responsible. They also secrete honeydew, which can lead to mold growth. Since these bugs multiply quickly, your plants could suffer extensive damage. You’ll want to check under the leaves since this is where aphids like to hide.
Many species of thrips can attack your garden plants. Thrips are small bugs that range in size from .5mm-5mm. Some species have fringed wings while other species lack wings. These bugs also vary in color by species. Thrips pierce plants with their asymmetrical mouthparts to suck sap from them. This can deform the plants and cause blackening. Thrips are known to lay eggs on plants, which leads to discoloration. Like other garden pests, they can spread plant diseases. These bugs could end up in your home if an infested plant is brought inside.
Whiteflies are another pest that could be hiding on your plants. These white bugs are very small, sometimes only 1/12ʺ. They have a soft, triangular body and a pair of wings. Whiteflies like to gather on the underside of leaves. They are active during the day and like to suck sap from plants. This can hinder the plant’s growth and damage leaves. Like aphids, they secrete honeydew, enabling mold to develop. Whiteflies are known to target a variety of vegetables including tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and sweet potatoes.
Scale insects get their name from the brown protective shell that covers their body. These bugs are small—1/16ʺ-1/8ʺ —and have a flat, oval body. They range in color from white, black, brown, and green. They often look like small bumps when seen on plants. These insects like to suck the sap from plants and several will cluster together on one plant. This causes the plant to weaken and leads to withering and yellow leaves. It can also cause black fungus to grow on the leaves and stem. Scale insects are often found on fruits, indoor plants, and shrubs.
Leafhoppers have quite the jumping skills, which helps them avoid potential threats. These wedge-shaped insects are known to cause damage to plants. Leafhoppers usually have a green body, but some are brown or yellow. Most of these bugs have colorful patterns on their body. They are able to fly and average ¼ʺ in length. They pierce the bottom of leaves and feed on the plant’s sap. Spotting and yellowing can occur if your plant is infested with leafhoppers. These bugs often target fruit and vegetables as well as flowers like roses.
Mites are another pest that enjoys feeding on plant juices. These pests are tiny arachnids with eight legs. They are usually under 1mm in length, which can make it difficult to spot them. They have a reddish-brown, oval body, but often appear as red or black specks on plants. Spider mites are easier to detect because of the small webs they leave on the leaves and stem of a plant. Mites feeding on your plants can lead to curled or yellow leaves. These arachnids target indoor and outdoor plants and thrive in areas that are dry and hot.
Fungus gnats can also cause problems in your garden. Adult fungus gnats are about 1/16ʺ-1/8ʺ in length. These small flies have a dark body. Larvae are bigger than adults, reaching about ¼ʺ. While adult fungus gnats flying around can be annoying, their larvae are the real problem. Larvae can feed on the roots of plants, hindering the health of the plant. They can cause leaves to turn yellow and fall off. These pests thrive in moist soil. Seedlings and young plants are more susceptible to fungus gnats.
Whether you have a large garden or just one or two plants, you don’t want to see them damaged by insects. The good news is that there are ways to keep your plants safe. If your garden is under attack, we want to help! Check out our Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective 3-in-1 Garden Spray for a more environmentally and family-friendly solution.