There’s nothing quite like enjoying fresh, flavorful produce that’s just been picked from the garden. It’s too bad insects feel the same way. Plant-eating insects sneak into your garden not caring one bit that you’ve put in weeks or even months worth of work. They just greedily devour everything in sight.
Different garden pests leave behind unique signs that give away they’ve been feasting. The earlier you can spot their telltale signs the quicker you can figure out how to evict the unwanted dinner guests.
Large Holes in Leaves
One of the most obvious signs of garden pests is finding leaves riddled with large holes. It’s not uncommon for everything to look fine in the afternoon then the next morning – holes in just about every leaf.Grasshoppers are most likely the culprit. A single grasshopper can quickly chew through the leaves of vegetables, and unfortunately grasshoppers travel together.
Holes in the Middle of Leaves
Finding holes through the middles of leaves is a sure sign of Japanese beetles. When they eat they go around the veins creating a skeleton effect on leaves. They are the scourge of gardeners because they target both vegetables and flowers.
Holes in Tomato Leaves
Gardeners that have a variety of plants but only see holes in the leaves of tomatoes should be on the look out for tomato hornworms. They’ll strip leaves bare over the course of a single day.
Leaf Chew Marks Without Complete Holes
Sawflies like to chew on leaves, but they don’t go all the way through the leaf. This creates semi-transparent markings in an irregular shape across leaves. You’ll also notice groups of sawflies clustering together along leaf edges.
Leaves Curling Up and Falling Off
If leaves are wilting and falling off prematurely it’s a clear sign that aphids are in your garden. They like to suck the moisture out of leaves, which causes leaves to curl up and eventually fall off the stem.
Frequent Ladybug Sightings
Ladybugs are a gardener’s best friend. Aphids are one of their favorite meals. If you’re regularly seeing ladybugs that’s an indication aphids are getting into your garden.
Silver Trails of Slime
No gardener wants to see the silver trails of slime left behind by slugs. Slugs don’t move fast, but they do have a huge appetite. They slowly move from one plant to the next eating everything in their path. Over time they can eat more of your garden vegetables than you do.
Like their cousin the slug, snails like to dine out in gardens. When they’re done sometimes they leave their shells behind, which provides undeniable evidence of their existence. They also chew irregular shaped holes through leaves so be very wary if you see both.
Dark Green Droppings on Leaves
Droppings are a very bad sign no matter where they are on your property. If you’re finding them on cruciferous vegetables there’s a good chance you have a cabbage worm infestation. Flip the leaves over – if you see eggs then cabbage worms are definitely getting into your garden.
Stem Damage at Soil Level
Are your seedlings keeling over? Take a close look to see if the stems have been chomped on recently. Cutworms like to chew through the stems of seedlings near the soil, which causes them to keel over.
If your seedlings are being completely destroyed earwigs are likely to blame. They chew through all of the soft tissue in the stems and leaves of seedlings. Earwigs also enjoy eating soft fruits so keep an eye on those peaches, berries and apricots.
Leaves With Yellow Spots
Leaves that are intact but have developed yellow spots are a sign of spider mites. Instead of chewing on leaves spider mites bite into them and suck out sap. Constant feeding can stunt the growth of plants and eventually kill them.
Vulcan Termite and Pest Control Inc. can help gardeners control insects without impacting produce. We provide custom pest control treatments in Central Alabama after thoroughly inspecting your property and identifying the types of insects that are causing damage. You can also get help controlling mosquitoes so you don’t have to worry about bites while working in the garden.