You can never be too careful when it comes to gardening, and once in a while, you may get undesirable visitors to your edibles. Pests are a gardener’s greatest foes. The little guys can wreak havoc leaving ruins on their wake. The following are some of the most common.
1. Fire Ants
These are among the most destructive pests that can invade your garden. Apart from the painful stings they inflict, the fire ants will sometimes ingest seeds, and destroy an entire crop by digging tunnels through the stems and root systems. They stick around insects that produce honeydew and will protect them.
The tiny critters with a pear-shaped body are some of the most annoying. Depending on their life-stages and species, aphids can have wings or be without wings. Their colors range from black, grey, green, red, yellow and brown, mostly depending on the crop variety they attack, for camouflage purposes.
Aphids have a liking for vegetables, and you may find them on your cabbage, lettuce, kales or tomatoes among others. They suck plant juices, leaving plants deformed and distorted. You will often find them on the leaves’ underside, in large numbers – they stick together.
3. Cabbage Worms
Cabbage worms typically have light-green bodies with faint yellow stripes running along their length. They transform to yellowish-white or white butterflies with a few black spots.
Cabbageworm caterpillars love all members of the cabbage family including cauliflower, kale, broccoli, and turnip – you name them.
These pests form holes on the leaves of the plants and in extreme cases, cause defoliation. They can also make you lose your appetite for the day when you find one while preparing your favorite soup recipe.
4. Cut Worms
Depending on the species, cutworm caterpillars can either be grey, brown, yellow or green. They are grey or brown night-flying moths as adults. The caterpillars will curl into a C-shape when disturbed.
Cutworms love young seedlings, but they particularly have a sweet tooth for broccoli, cabbage, kale, and tomatoes.
The annoying pests attack seedlings by severing them at ground level. Therefore, severed or wilted seedlings will indicate that you have cutworms around your garden.
The white moth-like flies are not as harmless as they seem. In most cases, the pests cover the plants they infest with honeydew, their excrements. Whiteflies are usually in large number on a leaf’s underside and infest vegetable plants such as citrus, pepper, sweet potato, and tomato. They weaken the plant by sucking their juice, and in severe cases, cause dropped leaves.
6. Mexican Bean Beetles
The copper-colored ladybug-lookalike beetle has sixteen black spots on their bodies, and their larvae are yellow with bristly spines.
The Mexican bean beetles affect soy, lima, runner, pole and all other beans. And together with their larvae, the pests ingest leaf tissue, as well as, flowers and beans. You will find the larvae on the leaves’ underside.
7. Carrot Rust Fly
These are quite unpopular but are gradually becoming a problem for gardeners. Typically, the pests have orange head and legs, and a shiny black body.
They lay their eggs near vegetable crops, such as parsnips, celery, celeriac or carrots, and their larvae then feast on the crop’s roots leaving scarring, and tunnels behind.