Even the most organic of gardeners isn’t a fan of insects that wreak havoc on a raised bed full of growing edibles. Luckily, you can keep away these unwelcome visitors with simple, nontoxic methods. The following list of pests..
Learn how to identify these destructive pests and get them out of your garden.
Four-lined Plant Bug
Physical Description: These insects are about 1/4 of an inch long. They have greenish-yellow wing covers with four black lines. Nymphs occur in early spring and are bright red and black.
What Attracts Them: lush new growth and plants with high essential-oil content
Crops Affected: herbs, such as basil, lavender, mint, and sage. Ornamentals, such as azalea, mums, Shasta daisy and viburnums.
Damage: Distinctive damage appears as small, sunken round pockmarks caused by the insect’s piercing-sucking mouthpart. The pockmarks eventually turn brown, and the damaged tissue might fall out, leaving small holes in the leaves. Damage is purely aesthetic and can easily be pruned out.
Where? Everywhere east of the Rockies and into southern Canada.
Season: Four-lined plant bugs feed for only four weeks in late spring.
Control: Prune affected plant material in midsummer after feeding damage ceases. Cover susceptible plants with floating row cover until midsummer when the bugs are no longer present.
Colorado Potato Beetle
Physical Description: Adult beetles are 1/3 inch long with a rounded, hard shell. Their wing covers are black and tan striped with irregular black spotting on the head. Full grown larvae are 1/2 inch long, fat and reddish-pink with rows of black dots on their sides.
What Attracts Them: host plants
Crops Affected: all members of the nightshade family, including potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and tobacco.
Damage: Both larvae and adults skeletonize foliage quickly. They also leave pellets of black excrement.
Where? All areas of the U.S. except the Pacific Northwest and the Extreme South.
Seasons: spring, summer, autumn
Control: Cover potato plants with floating row cover, this technique can remain in place until harvest. You can also handpick adults and larvae, or rotate crops.