10 Leaf-Eating Bugs and How to Stop Them From Destroying Your Garden
Gardening is such a rewarding experience. But it can also be absolutely devastating when all your hard work goes to the bugs.
There are 10 main munching culprits to look out for to protect your plants from getting destroyed before they can produce the flowers and vegetables you can enjoy. Safer Brand created the below infographic detailing how to tell which bug is eating your plant and natural ways to get rid of them without spraying harmful chemicals.
10 Leaf-Eating Bugs
- Leafminers, which are the larvae of flies and beetles, often will leave maze-like tunnels in a leaf. They are most harmless but if you want to get rid of them for aesthetic reasons you can use neem oil.
- Sucking insects-like box suckers, aphids, squash bugs, and spider mites- often will leave needle-sized holes in a leaf. While a few will hardly be noticeable, enough sucking insects can gradually kill your plants by sucking all the nutrients out. Spray an insecticidal soap on both sides of the leaves to keep those sucking insects away.
- Vine weevil larvae in the soil will eat a plant’s roots till it collapses. Your plant may seem like it’s suffering from a nutrient deficiency at first so be sure to check the soil for any creepy crawlies hiding there. You can soak the soil in insecticidal soap or dust plant leaves with diatomaceous earth to get rid of the adult vine weevils.
- Caterpillars are often the bug that comes to mind when gardeners see holes eaten out of their plants’ leaves. Caterpillars can be a pain to get rid of. The easies method is to brush leaves with B.T. on a dry night. B.T. will kill the caterpillar.
- Sawfly larvae (which look like caterpillars) leave transparent holes in leaf tissue. Use insecticidal soap or horticultural oil on the top and bottoms of leaves to get rid of them.
- Bees are both a blessing and a curse. We need bees to pollinate plants but they can sting and leaf-cutting bees can even cause damage to your plant’s leaves. However, the missing half-moon pieces shouldn’t kill your plant.
- Earwigs are common leaf-eating bugs in indoor plants. To get rid of them dust your plant with diatomaceous earth or fill a cup with straw and tilt on it’s side. The earwigs will craw into the hay away from the plant and then you can dispose outside.
- Japanese beetles can cause some of the most extensive damage to plants killing them in just a few days. Adult Japanese beetles eat all the leaf tissue in between the veins on your plant. You can use a Japanese beetle trap to make sure you don’t have issues with them all summer long or spray your plant with neem oil every few days to keep them away.
- Viburnum beetles and larvae can be taken care of by releasing lady bugs in your yard every spring.
- Cucumber beetles are well known for the devastation they cause to squash plants. While row covers are a great way to keep these insects away, you can also dust the leaves with diatomaceous earth to kill any beetles who may come into contact with it. Just remember that diatomaceous earth only works when dry and it has to come into contact with the insects.
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