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44 Common Garden Pests

You can identify pest damage in one of two ways: You see the insect or the damage it causes. Use chemical sprays only as a last resort. Where possible, try pest traps and barriers, biological controls and organic sprays first.

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Photo: Shain Rievley

How to Spot Plant Pests in Your Garden

Many types of bugs see your garden as a big, free buffet. At first, you may not know there are bugs eating your plants until you find sunken, brown spots on your apples or see tiny, white insects flying around your tomato plants. Holes in leaves, small grubs around the roots of container plants, speckled foliage and skeletonized leaves are just a few signs of garden pests.

The best offense is a good defense. Check your plants often and act as soon as you spot a problem. Some types of bugs can be deterred by knocking them off with a spray of water from your hose. Banish other pests without chemicals, use good organic gardening practices or hand-pick and discard large bugs. Read on to learn how more about common garden pests.

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Photo: Shutterstock/vvoe

Red Spider Mites

The tiny mites live under leaves and suck sap, causing yellow mottling. Fine webs are sometimes visible. Raise humidity and use a biological control under glass. Otherwise try organic sprays.

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Photo: Shutterstock/Stefan Laps

Gall Mites

These microscopic mites suck sap and cause abnormal growths. These include raised pimples or clumps of matted hairs on leaves, or enlarged buds. Most are harmless and can be tolerated.

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Photo: Julie Martens Forney


Bagworms are the larval form of a moth that attacks evergreens and other trees. The worm inside each bag feeds on the evergreen bush or tree, building a case around itself for protection from predators. The case is made from bits of the plant the insect is feeding on and slowly enlarges over time as the insect grows. Females lay eggs in the bags in late fall. The best control, if you only have a few bagworms, is to handpick the bags and drop them into soapy water or put them out with the trash. Predatory insects including wheel bugs or insect-eating birds will attack these insects, even inside their bags. You can also spray traditional or bioinsecticides. Follow directions carefully on timing. Once larvae are more mature and tucked into thicker bags, the chances of a spray reaching the worm itself are small.

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