Insect Pictures - Pests

(adapted from article from GardenersSupplyCompany)

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Found something on your plants or vegetables and wondering what they are?  Look up this section of insect pictures and read up about the pests in your garden.  Before reaching for the insecticide, consider organic methods of control.

insect picture 1

Stink bugs

- Insect picture 1 is the infamous stink bug.  They don't call them that for nothing! Various species of this pest are found throughout the United States; they are more common in the South. Stinkbugs are shield-shaped, and may be green, brown, or bluish-gray. They give off an unpleasant odor when crushed. Stinkbugs feed on okra, squash, beans, tomatoes, and a number of other plants by sucking out the plant's juices. New shoots may wilt; fruits are distorted with hard, dimpled areas where mouth parts are inserted into them. Adults overwinter in garden debris and in nearby weedy areas. There are several generations per year.

Control this insect pest by :

Spray or dust with approved insecticides, such as neem oil.

Keep weeds down around the graden. Clean up the garden at the end of the season.

Hand-pick early in the morning when bugs are slow to escape.

insect picture 2


- Found throughout the United States. Aphids (insect picture 2) are small, soft-bodied insects may be pale green, pink, black, or yellow, depending on the species. Some stages of the life cycle are winged, others wingless. Aphids feed on a wide variety of plants, including most edible and ornamental plants. Clustering on tips of new growth and leaf undersides, they feed by sucking out plant juices, causing leaves to become distorted and yellow. Aphids secrete a sugary fluid called honeydew that attracts ants and may cause the growth of a sooty black fungus on leaves. In small numbers aphids do little damage, but they reproduce rapidly. Control while the population is still small.

Control this insect pest by :

Aphids are easy to control. Simply washing plants with a strong spray of water will reduce their numbers dramatically. Insecticidal soap is more effective. When spraying, be sure to cover leaf undersides.

Attract and release beneficial insects, such as ladybugs and lacewings.

insect picture 3


- Many different insects are knows as leafminers (insect picture 3), but all share the habit of tunneling between the upper and lower layers of leaves, and creating a visible, random trails or mines in the process. The larvae of tiny black flies are the most common type of leafminer. Adult flies lay eggs on leaf undersides. After hatching, larvae tunnel into leaf to feed, gaining some protection from predators there. They are pests throughout North America, especially in beets, chard, lettuce, peppers, potatoes, and spinach.

Control this insect pest by :

Protect leafy vegetable crops with lightweight garden fabric.

Pick off and destroy infested leaves.

Encourage the various natural parasites that attack leafminers by not spraying pesticides.

insect picture 4


- There are several species of mealybugs (insect picture 4) in across North America that pose problems for gardeners. Host plants include tree fruits such as citrus, apples, and peaches, grapes, potatoes, and a number of tropical plants, including houseplants. These tiny insects appear in clusters on the undersides of leaves and clumped on in the forks of twigs and branches where they suck plant juices. As they feed, some species inject toxins that damage plant tissues. They're oval in shape, with a grainy, dusty surface that is actually a protective waxy coating. Large clumps of mealybugs may resemble fur or lint. Symptoms of their presence include yellowing leaves and dark, dirty patches on leaves, which is actually sooty mold growing on the sweet mealybug excretion, or honeydew. In warm regions without freezing winters, mealybugs are present year round. In colder climates, there may be 2 to 3 generations per year. The pests overwinter as eggs in cottony egg sacs or tiny nymphs (the juvenile stage, commonly called crawlers).

Control this insect pest by :

Spray affected plants with Canola Spray Oil

Small infestations can be controlled by spraying plants with a stiff stream of cold water.

Natural enemies include the mealybug destroyer (a kind of ladybug), lacewings, and mealybug parasite (a tiny wasp).

insect picture 5

Scale insects

- Different species of scale insects (insect picture 5) attack various kinds of fruits in all parts of the country. Branches, twigs, and leaf undersides are covered with numerous small bumps. These may be flattened and brown, or thick, white, and covered with a waxy or woolly substance. Leaves on infested plants turn yellow and the overall vigor of the tree declines. Severely infested plants may die within several seasons. Mature females feed, lay eggs, and raise families under their protective shells. Eggs hatch into crawlers that feed by sucking out the plant's juices. They then begin to produce a scale over themselves and lose their legs. There may be several generations per year.

Control this insect pest by :

Spray horticultural oil at dormant season rates in early spring before bud break on deciduous plants. Use horticultural oil at reduced, summer rates on evergreens. Follow label directions carefully./p>

insect picture 6


- There are many different kinds of mites (insect picture 6), also known as spider mites, several of which parasitize plants. They feed in dense colonies, in webs on the undersides of leaves. Their feeding causes a silvering or stippling effect on the leaf top, but the precise symptom varies with the plant. In addition to their webbing, on the leaf undersides you'll also feel a gritiness. They feed on many kinds of plants, edible and ornamental. Houseplants are a favorite target. Hot, dry, and dusty conditions encourage mites. Keep plants well watered and wash them off frequently.

Control this insect pest by :

Spray plants with a forceful spray of water to knock mites from leaves.

Wash plants thoroughly with insecticidal soap or neem oil, covering leaf undersides especially well.

Buy and release predatory mites, and encourage ones already present by not spraying insecticides.

insect picture 7


- There are many species of pest thrips (insect picture 7) throughout North America. Unless you have a magnifying glass, you probably won't see them on your plants. Thrips are tiny, but you may notice signs of their presence, such as black, shiny speckles (droppings), silvery stippling (masses of tiny discolored scars on plant parts), or, in severe cases, deformed growth. Magnification shows thrips to be shiny, elongated blackish or yellowish insects. Adults have feathery, fringed wings, and nymphs lack wings. There are many generations per year. Thrips prefer to feed on new, rapidly growing plant tissue where it is easy to hide. Most feeding by thrips causes only slight damage, but high populations can be quite destructive. Thrips feeding can prevent rose buds from opening, and results in deform petals. Certain species spread viruses to tomatoes and impatiens. Thrips also attack asparagus, cabbage, lettuce, onions, peas, flowers, and fruit and shade trees.

Control this insect pest by :

Natural enemies generally keep thrip populations below damaging levels. Conserve natural enemies by reducing or eliminating pesticide use.

Locate plants away from weedy, grassy borders where thrips live.

Use Canola Spray Oil.

Keep plants well watered, and fertilize judiciously to prevent overly lush growth.

insect picture 8

White Flies

(insect picture 8) are found throughout the United States. These tiny, insects feed in large numbers on leaf undersides of tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, and other plants by sucking out plant juices. They secrete a sticky, sugary substance called honeydew that may cause the growth of a sooty black fungus on leaves. Eggs laid on leaf undersides hatch into larvae that look like flat, oval, semitransparent scales, which change into adult flies in about a month.

Control this insect pest by :

Spray with Canola Spray Oil or neem oil. Make at least two repeat sprays at weekly intervals since different stages of the life cycle are not susceptible to insecticides.

Whiteflies cannot survive freezing temperatures; in northern gardens they are reintroduced on infected plants each spring. Check purchased plants carefully before setting in the garden.

Release and attract beneficial insects, such as ladybugs and lacewings.

Use white fly traps (they love yellow).

(Content provided by NationalGardening.com, the online publisher of the National Gardening Association.)

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insect pictures - pests