Are Destructive Bugs Attacking Your Plants?
The telltale signs are there, but it is hard to be sure. The following clues will help determine if damaging insects are at work in your garden.
Signs Your Plants May Be Bug Infested:
Holes in the leaves and stems
Discoloration of leaves and flowers
Webbing on the leaves
Stunted or deformed growth
Chewed leaves, flowers, fruits or stems
Curled or cupped leaves
Oozing and sticky sap on leaves, stems and trunks
Leaves, flowers and fruit stripped from the plant
Don’t be surprised if you don’t see the bugs themselves. Most insects hide in the heat of the day. If you don’t notice them in the afternoon, check again in the early morning or evening (you’ll need a flashlight). Be sure to check both sides of the leaves, stems and on every surface. Bugs can be very sneaky. It is what keeps them from being eaten by hungry birds
Once you discover the insects, the next step is to identify which type of bugs are making a buffet out of your garden. You can take a sample to your local garden center or nearby Cooperative Extension office. You can also try looking online using searches like “yellow beetles on squash plants”. On Google, click on the “Images” tab at the top of the page to see pictures. Once you have identified the insects, choose an effective insecticide that will kill them without harming your plants. We are fans of pest-specific insecticides, those designed to deal with the problem rather than killing all the bugs in the garden including the beneficial ones.
You can view our plethora of options here.
A Note of Caution
We urge you to actively avoid neonicotinoids. These nicotine-like insecticides are part of a new group that has been developed in the last 15 to 20 years. There is a growing belief throughout the scientific community that neonicotinoids play a significant role in the current dramatic decline of honeybee populations. The chemical name of neonicotinoids you will find on pesticide labels include: Acetamiprid, Clothianidin, Dinotefuran, Imidacloprid, Nitenpyram, Thiocloprid and Thiamethoxam. Keep an eye out for these chemicals; there are safer choices.