The plants in your garden aren’t the only things changing in fall, so are the bugs. Though the cooler temperatures have caused many garden pests to disappear, some are determined to hang around for a little longer. We’ve made a list of pests you could find in your garden this fall.
Bagworms can cause problems from spring to fall. These caterpillars enjoy eating plants and trees, especially evergreen species. Their feeding causes leaves to turn brown and in some cases die. Bagworm caterpillars are gray in color, but spotting them can be tricky. After mating in the fall, bagworms create a cocoon-looking case from silk and plant foliage. These cases grow up to 2 inches and look like pinecones, which can camouflage them. Cases are problematic because they can contain hundreds of eggs. If you spot these cocoons, you can pick them off and soak them in soapy water.
Aphids aren’t just a problem in summer, they can also infest gardens in fall. Aphids are small, pear-shaped pests. They are usually under ¼ inch in size and come in a variety of colors including green, white, and brown. They hide underneath of leaves and feed on plant juices. This often leads to the yellowing of leaves, curled leaves, or spotted leaves. They secrete a sticky, sweet substance—honeydew—which can promote mold growth. In fall, their natural predators are dying off or preparing to overwinter. This combined with their ability to multiply quickly can lead to large infestations.
Stink bugs get their name from the unpleasant odor they release when threatened. These bugs have a shield-shaped body and are about ½ inch in length. Stink bugs are usually brown, but they can also be green. These bugs emerge in spring, and they can be found in gardens throughout fall. They aren’t too picky when it comes to their food. Adults and nymphs feed on a variety of plants, vegetables, and fruits. Feeding causes small holes and discoloration on plants. If you spot stink bugs in your garden, you’ll want to be careful. When temperatures begin to drop, groups of stink bugs migrate to warm places including homes and buildings. A few in your garden could lead to an infestation in your home.
You’re not the only one who loves pumpkins in fall, so do cucumber beetles. These beetles have a yellow body and grow to about ¼ inch in length. They have dark heads and black stripes or spots depending on the species. Cucumber beetle larvae and adult beetles will feed on cucumbers, pumpkins, and squash plants. Symptoms of a cucumber beetle infestation include yellowing and wilting leaves as well as finding holes in leaves. While their feeding won’t cause severe damage, the diseases they spread can be harmful or fatal to plants. When fall starts turning into winter, these beetles will hide under yard debris until they can emerge in spring.
These bugs go marching one by one through your lawn. Fall armyworms travel in groups searching for a food source. They will eat grass and various plants. Newly hatched caterpillars are green with a black head but transition into a brown and white caterpillar. They can reach lengths longer than 1 inch. Since they travel in groups, they can cause a lot of damage. Brown patches can be a sign of an infestation. However, they have also been known to feed on all of the grass in an area. Their numbers are highest in the fall, but they will decrease as winter approaches. While they do feed during the day, they are more active at night. This can make it difficult to identify an infestation before damage occurs.
Even though many wish that pests would quit bugging their plants, bugs have their own agenda. Thankfully, there are things you can do to keep your plants safe. Using a plant-based pesticide, like Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective™ 3-in-1 Garden Spray or our Yard Bug Spray, is a more environmentally and family-friendly solution. If pests are giving you a fit, we want to help! Check out our Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective Pest Control products.