The coming of spring brings many joys, such as knowing the time has come to plant a backyard garden. Cultivating fresh fruits and vegetables and coaxing a variety of colorful flowers into full bloom is good for the body and the soul, but you may find that one major roadblock to enjoying the fruits of your labor are invertebrate pests that eat leaves, stems, and blooms or which pose a potential danger to your family. Identifying and understanding the habits of these pests may help you discover ways to eradicate them that can help improve the overall health of your garden.
These small insects, which come in a variety of colors that range from dark red to brown, yellow, and green, are usually oval or pear shaped and destroy plants by sucking the sap from them. They can be found on almost any plant species but prefer fruit trees and flowers. They suck the sap from plants’ stems, roots, and leaves. Not only do aphids cause plants to wilt and turn yellow with their feeding, they secrete a sticky sap called honeydew that may attract other swarming pests, such as ants and wasps.
2. Spider Mites
While spider mites are classified as arachnids and not true insects, they can still cause plenty of damage to your garden. You will be able to identify these tiny creatures as clusters of pale brown specks on the undersides of your plants Like aphids, spider mites feed on the juices of leaves and stems. You may notice yellowing leaves and, in larger infestations, a fine webbing covering your plants. Spider mites eat a wide variety of plants that are not limited to fruits and vegetables and may even infest your trees and shrubs.
3. Garden Scorpions
Like spider mites, garden scorpions are arachnids. While they do not eat plants, they can be aggressive toward people and pets. They are usually attracted to a garden by the presence of prey. Garden scorpions are typically around two inches long, are yellow or light brown, and have six legs on the sides of an elongated body and two in the front that end in pincer-like claws. The long tail arches over its back and ends in a stinger. Because their sting can cause a severe allergic reaction, it is best to call in professional home exterminators to eradicate these pests.
4. Root Maggots
Root maggots are the offspring of adult flies that are slightly smaller than houseflies and lay their eggs underground. The resulting maggots, which are typically a quarter of an inch long and light yellow or white, have no wings and feed on the roots of vegetable plants. Onions, radishes, and carrots are attacked most often. Infested plants may not grow as well as they should, appear wilted, or yellow. Exposed roots may show signs of tunneling by the larvae. Feeding by these pests may also cause other issues, such as black rot, which will ultimately kill the plant.
When you are able to identify invertebrate garden pests and understand their feeding habits, the quicker you can either take steps to prevent invasion or treat existing infestations. Remember that some of these pests can be dangerous to your family and pets and should only be dealt with by a professional exterminator.