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


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.



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.

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.

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.

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.

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.



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.

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.

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.