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10 Common Garden Pests: How to Get Rid of Them and Have a Healthy, Thriving Garden

common garden pests
Image Courtesy of Stockslagers

Every sustainable gardener should know how to master managing common garden pests. The majority of gardeners have a go-to pesticide that they use to get rid of these buggers. However, the problem with store-bought pesticides is that they are harmful not just to your plants but also beneficial bugs, the soil, and the surrounding ecosystem. So, the first step in making common garden pests go away is using natural pesticides.

Certain natural ingredients mixed repel pests from your garden while keeping your plants, yourself, and other surrounding organisms safe. We have prepared a list of the most common garden pests as well as tips on how to get rid of them.

 

Tips for Getting Started

Every different type of pest inflicts a different kind of damage. Some pests can kill your plants from the root. Others tend to ruin the leaves only. There are even pests that stay in your garden so they could feed on other pests. And, the worst kind of pests are those that spread diseases among the plants.

Before we dig any deeper, we just wanted to give you some general tips that will help you prevent garden pests from appearing at all in the future.

common garden pests
Image Courtesy of AARP

  1. Maintain a healthy soil. The best way to prevent pests from appearing is by using compost and manures that add nutrients to your soil and keep it healthy.
  2. Use crop rotation. It is recommended to grow different types of crops in the same area. This reduces reliance on one set of nutrients as well as the appearance of pests and weeds.
  3. Create a diversity of plant life. There’s no need to keep growing just one type of plant. Instead, combine vegetables with flowers to attract beneficial wildlife, such as caterpillar-eating birds and aphid-eating insects.
  4. Avoid using toxic chemicals and sprays. Of course, these will help you kill the pests. But, they are harmful to your plants and also present a health hazard for birds and other wildlife that feeds on the pests.
  5. Grow plants that are suitable for the site and soil. Make sure that you always grow plants that can thrive in your environment. Plants that struggle to grow will be weak and vulnerable to pest and disease.
  6. Always be vigilant. Make sure to continually check your covers, traps, and barriers to keep the pests at bay.

 

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10 Most Common Garden Pests and How to Get Rid of Them

 

Birds

Believe it or not, birds are on the top of our list of the most common garden pests. Birds truly are lovely and majestic winged creatures, but all gardeners tend to struggle with them. Crows and robins are a well-known nuisance to gardens. Not only will they eat your ripening fruits and veggies, but they will also pluck seeds out of the ground. The best way to keep birds out of your garden is netting.

Aphids

Aphids are small, pear-shaped critters that have long antennae. These pests love hanging out on a wide variety of plants, including fruits, vegetables, ornamentals, flowers, and even shade trees. These sap-sucking insects cause foliage to distort and leaves to drop. The honeydew that they excrete on leaves supports mold growth. These pasts can also carry viruses and spread viral diseases.

You will know that your garden is infested with aphids if you notice your young shoots becoming weak and distorted. Aphids sometimes even kill the plant.

How to get rid of aphids:

  • Wash your plants with a strong spray of water
  • Apply hot-pepper or garlic repellent sprays
  • For severely ingested gardens apply horticultural oil, insecticidal soap, or neem oil

 

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Cabbage Maggots

As you can conclude from the name, these very common garden pests tend to stick to cabbage-family crops. Cabbage maggots enter the roots, killing plants directly or by creating entryways for disease organisms.

Luckily, there is a way to control these destructive creatures. Here is what you can try to do to get rid of cabbage maggots:

  • Use floating row covers
  • Avoid first generation by delaying planting
  • Apply parasitic nematodes around roots
  • Burn the roots of harvested plants
  • Apply wood ashes or red pepper dust around stems

 

Caterpillars

common garden pests
Image Courtesy of Nature & Garden

Caterpillars are soft larvae with six legs in the front and false legs on the rear segment. These pests can be found on shade trees, ornamentals, and fruits and vegetables. These pests won’t cause any diseases among your plants. However, they tend to chew on leaves and some even tunnel into fruits.

Here is what you can do to deter caterpillars:

  • Use floating row covers
  • Hand-pick the harvest
  • Encourage native predators and parasites

 

Cutworms

If you haven’t heard of cutworms, they are actually quite common garden pests that are active at night. Cutworms are widespread in the UK, and they commonly attack early vegetable and flower seedlings and transplants. These pests will chew through the stems at ground level. In spring months, they can even completely devour small plants.

Here is how can you control cutworms:

  • Delay planting
  • Try hand-picking cutworms that are curled below the soil surface
  • Use cutworm collars on transplants

 

Alder Leaf Beetle

common garden pests
Image Courtesy of Wikipedia

Alder leaf beetles are quite recognizable thanks to their distinctive metallic navy bodies. These are quite common garden pests that love to feed on garden trees such as hazel, beech, hornbeam, and, of course, alder. Even though these beetles are unlikely to affect the long-term health of a tree, they will still bite and defoliate the leaves.

Here is how to get rid of alder leaf beetles:

  • Use an organic insecticide that contains natural pyrethrins
  • Pesticides can be used for tackling the bug’s bright yellow eggs and larvae

 


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Moles

Moles primarily feed on insects, grubs, and earthworms, so you don’t have to worry about them eating your plants. However, these underground animals can wreak havoc across lawns and gardens with their burrowing. They can also damage the root systems of growing plants. If you ever notice small piles of soil across your garden, then you have a mole.

Here is how you can get rid of moles:

  • Plant marigolds, daffodils, alliums as they deter moles
  • Anti-mole net is a great way to keep moles at bay
  • If everything fails, call a specialist removal company

 

Flea Beetles

Why is a flea beetle called this way? Well, because it is a beetle, but it also jumps like a flea when disturbed. Flea beetles are common garden pests that tend to attack vegetable crops. These buggers chew numerous small, round holes into leaves that can cause severe damage to young plants. Larvae feed on roots.

To get rid of flea beetles, you can do the following:

  • Spray your plants with kaolin clay or garlic spray
  • Use floating row covers

 

Tarnished Plant Bug

These pasts are green or brown bugs that tend to move very fast. They have forewings with black-tipped yellow triangles. As all other common garden pests, tarnished plant bugs can be found on many fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Adult insects cause leaf and fruit wilting and distortion by sucking on plant juices.

To control these bugs, you should:

  • Keep your garden weed-free, especially in spring
  • Use floating row covers
  • Spray young nymphs with neem oil

 

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Japanese Beetles

common garden pests
Image Courtesy of AG Update

Japanese beetles are invasive garden pests that appear only in some areas of the UK. Adult beetles are metallic blue-green bugs that tend to grow up to ½-inch. These pests tend to attack flowers, vegetables, and small fruit. Adult bugs will chew on flowers, skeletonize leaves, and even wholly defoliate a plant. Larvae feed on garden plant roots.

Here is how to control these pests:

  • Use floating row covers
  • Shake the beetles from plants every morning
  • Spray the bugs with insecticidal soap
  • Try using baited traps upwind of your vegetable garden

 

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Scales

These common garden pests will suck on your fruits, trees, and even indoor plants and weaken them. The plant will then become yellow, drop leaves, and in some cases, die. Adult female scales look like bumps on fruit, leaves, or stems. Males are minute flying insects, and larvae are tiny insects with threadlike mouthparts.

Here is how you can get rid of scales:

  • Spray the plants with neem oil
  • Use summer oil sprays or dormant
  • Scrub scales from twigs with soapy water and rinse well
  • Prune out infested plant parts

 

This was our list of the most common garden pests and tips on how to get rid of them. Have you ever had to deal with pests? How did you exterminate them? Also, which one of our tips do you find the most useful? Share your thoughts in the comments!

 

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