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Are Destructive Bugs Attacking Your Plants?

Something’s going on and your plants don’t look happy. Here are some clues to 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 little monsters. 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 hide. That’s what keeps them from being eaten by hungry birds.


Colorado Potato beetles, voracious chewing insects, can completely defoliate garden plants in a single day.

Bug identification

Once you discover the insects, the next step is to identify what you’ve got. You can take a sample to your local garden center or nearby Cooperative Extension office. Or 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’ve 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. Click back to Insect Control to view options.


One Other Note

We urge you to actively avoid neonicotinoids. These nicotine-like insecticides are part of a new group that’s 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’ll find on pesticide labels include: Acetamiprid, Clothianidin, Dinotefuran, Imidacloprid, Nitenpyram, Thiocloprid and Thiamethoxam. Keep an eye out for these chemicals; there are safer choices.




10/22/2013    Insects, Snails & Slugs