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Common Vegetable Garden Pests


Pests can wreak havoc on home gardens and farms. Watching your plants carefully for the first signs of any pest damage can give you the upper hand for controlling the spread. Preventative and early detection are the best methods for controlling spread. 

It is often hard to prevent every pest from being introduced to your crops. Once there is an introduction it is best to identify it and find a quick solution to stop the spread. We encourage every gardener and farmer to try every organic and natural means possible before resorting to harsh chemicals that are bad on plants and the environment. Below you will find a common list of pests and best methods to remove them from your crops.

Identifying and Treating Pests

Tomato Hornworm
Tomato Hornworm

Symptoms: Caterpillars feed on foliage and fruit. Leave eaten spots on fruits. Defoliation

Crops: Tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants and peppers.

Control: Hand pick and drop in soapy water. Applying Bacilus thuringensis on plants. Attract beneficial insects to garden.

Tomato Hornworm Damage
Aphid
Aphids

Symptoms: Curled and yellow leaves. Stunted growth. Blackening on foliage.

Crops: All garden crops but mainly beans, peas, melons, cucumbers, squash and tomatoes.

Control: Spaying with water to knock off plant. Prune heavily infested foliage. Apply neem oil or horticultural soap. 
Aphid Damage
Cabbage Looper
Cabbage Looper

Symptoms: Holes in leaves mainly between the veins. Stunted plants.

Crops: Mostly brassicas: cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale and mustards. 

Control: Remove and discard. Use floating row covers. Apply Bacillus thuringensis.
Cabbage Looper Damage
Cucumber Beetle
Cucumber Beetle

Symptoms: Scaring on fruits. Damage to leaves and flowers. Vine wilt and bacterial wilt disease.

Crops: Cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, cantaloupe, gourds and melons.

Control: Fertilize plants in spring to increase good growth. Use cloth barriers to protect from infestation. Plant later in the season. Remove and destroy.
Cucumber Beetle Damage
Squash Vine Borrer
Squash Vine Borer

Symptoms: Fast wilting. Disrupts water and kills plant quickly. Damage to stem just above soil line.

Crops: Squash, zucchini, and pumpkins. 

Control: Use row covers if possible. Wrap lower plant stems with foil to prevent damage. Remove and destroy. Turn soil a few times before next planting.
Squash Vine Borer
Corn Borer
Corn Borer

Symptoms: Damage to inside corn primarily. Other plants damage is to the fruit.

Crops: Corn, beans, pepper and potatoes.

Control: Destroy all corn stalks after harvest. Attract beneficial insects to area. Plant corn later in season helps.
Corn Borer Damage
Cutworm
Cutworm

Symptoms: Severed plants at soil line. Usually young plants in spring.

Crops: Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, potatoes, corn, peas, beans, carrots, lettuce and more. 

Control: Tilling soil to disturb overwintering. Collect and destroy if possible. Collars around stems at soil line help.
Cutworm Damage
Potato Beetle
Potato Beetle

Symptoms: Defoliates potatoes and other host.

Crops: Potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. 

Control: Remove any eggs by hand. Pick bugs and drop and soapy water. Attract beneficial insects. Apply Bacillus thuringiensis.
Potato Beetle Damage
Squash Bugs
Squash Bugs

Symptoms: Yellow spots on foliage. Wilting and withering vines. Black spots.

Crops: Squash and pumpkins. 

Control: Hand pick adults and eggs. Use trap boards in field, check under boards in morning and kill bugs. Remove squash plant once fruits are harvested.
Squash Bug Damage