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Most Destructive Garden Insects

Tending to a garden can be a relaxing experience until bugs decide to move in. Unfortunately, there are bugs that like to snack on garden plants. Damage can vary and some species are more harmful than others. We’ve made a list of the most destructive insects you could find in your garden.                                            


Aphids on flower

These tiny bugs love to take a bite out of your plants. Aphids are pear-shaped insects with a soft body. They come in a variety of colors including white, green, and pink. Aphids are about ¼ʺ in length and are typically wingless. When aphids suck on plant sap, they cause damage to the plant. You may notice leaves dropping or stunted plant growth. Aphids secrete sticky honeydew, which can lead to mold growth. They also spread damaging viruses to plants. These pests aren’t picky and will feed on many plants including ornamental, fruit, and vegetable plants.

Stink Bugs

Stink bug on plant

If you’ve ever smashed one of these bugs, you know why they are called stink bugs. These bugs invade both gardens and homes. They have a triangular body and grow to about 3/4ʺ. Stink bug adults are greenish-brown while nymphs are yellow with red eyes. These bugs suck the sap from plants, causing small holes on plants. These holes are often surrounded by yellow or green markings. When multiple stink bugs infest a garden, they can cause extensive damage to plants. Stink bugs target ornamental, vegetable, and fruit plants.

Tarnished Plant Bugs

 Tarnished Plant Bug

This bug’s name speaks for itself. The tarnished plant bug feeds on plants resulting in damage. These bugs are greenish-brown with reddish-brown markings on their wings. They have a yellow and black triangle on their flat, oval body. Nymphs are sometimes mistaken for aphids because of their size and green color. Adult tarnished plant bugs grow up to 1/4ʺ. These bugs suck the sap from plants and leave behind a toxic substance. This causes brown spots on leaves and can lead to further distortion of plants as well as hindered plant growth. Dead buds and damaged seeds are signs of tarnished plant bug infestations.



Cutworms hide in gardens during the day waiting to feed on plants at night. These pests are moth larvae. They range in color depending on their species. They can have a gray, black, green, brown, or pink body. Some are solid and others are patterned. Most cutworms are smaller than 2 inches. They feed on the leaves and stems of plants and hide under leaves or in the soil. This can make it difficult to spot them. They often target young plants and as the cutworm grows in size, so does the damage it causes.

Flea Beetles

Flea Beetle

Several species of flea beetles could infest your garden. These bugs are small—1/16ʺ —and shiny. Most species are dark black or tan. However, a few species are brighter in color. Some have patterns on their body while others are solid. These bugs are called fleas because of their ability to jump. Flea beetle adults chew small holes in leaves. Their larvae feed on the roots of plants. They target newer leaves and young plants, which is when the most damage occurs. They also spread diseases that can lead to wilting.



Weevils are a type of beetle that is known for invading gardens. These bugs are oval-shaped with a long snout. They range in size from 1/8ʺ-3/8ʺ. They vary in color depending on species, but most are either brown, black, or gray. Weevil larvae and adults can cause damage to plants. Adults feed on the leaves of plants, while larvae eat roots and stems. This can lead to yellowing and wilting, and can harm plant growth. These beetles target a variety of plants and each species has their own preferences. If given the chance, weevils will come inside in search of food and moisture.


Protecting your plants from hungry bugs is important if you want them to be healthy. Though some insects can be very destructive, there are ways to keep your garden bug-free. Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective 3-in-1 Garden Spray not only kills and repels garden pests, but it also fights plant fungal diseases. For a more environmentally and family-friendly solution, check out our Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective Pest Control products.

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