Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Common Vegetable Garden Pests

Bugs and insects are a huge pain for many vegetable gardeners. Most bugs aren't particularly destructive, they're just annoying. But if you find a garden pest devouring your harvest, you're not going to be too happy.

Among the ugliest garden pests is the tomato hornworm. It is a fat, white and green worm with a big horn that resembles a stinger. You can pull it off the plant while wearing gloves, and kill it by dunking it in soapy water. You could also spray it with stomach poison insecticide, Bacillus thuringiensis or neem oil.

Thrips overrun numerous plants and create uneven white markings on the plant's leaves. To get rid of them, use a hose to wash off the bugs and then spray on some contact poison.

You know when snails and slugs have been there because they leave behind a slimy trail and eat the leaves on the plants. You can buy bait to attract and kill them, but you can achieve the same thing with a shallow dish of beer; they'll be drawn to it and drown.

Those plump white worms that you see in the ground are most likely grubs. Grubs will cause your plants to droop, and may stunt their growth. They can be held in check by adding milky spore to the soil. Grubs eventually grow into beetles, which you can rid of with stomach poison insecticide.

Cutworms tend to attack a plant's stem at the base. Putting a paper collar around the plants is really the only way to keep them away.

Corn earworms will infiltrate a cob of corn while it's still on the stalk and consume the kernels. Likewise, a tomato fruitworm consumes the insides of tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. Choose an insecticide targeted to the elimination of earworms.

You'll find borers in thick stemmed vine plants like squash and pumpkin. The only way to eliminate them is to cut them out of the plant. You might end up having to pull up the plant and destroying it if you find a borer near the base of the plant. You can usually get rid of them with insecticide.

Beetles are bothersome pests that enjoy munching on leaves. You have to get rid of them because they can do a tremendous amount of damage to your garden. You can either spray them with insecticide or just pick them off the plants.

Aphids are a common sight in any vegetable garden. Usually you'll spot them as a group of small bugs in a variety of colors. To eliminate aphids, use neem oil or insecticidal soap.

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