5 Garden Insects to Watch Out For

Spring is a time of new beginnings and growth, but unfortunately, it also brings an influx of insects that can cause damage to your plants and turf. While some insects are beneficial to your garden, others can be detrimental to the health and appearance of your landscape. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common spring insects and the damage they can do to your plants and turf.

1. Aphids

Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects that can be found on the leaves and stems of plants. They feed on plant sap and can cause leaves to curl and turn yellow. Additionally, aphids can spread viruses and other diseases to your plants. To control aphids, you can spray your plants with a mixture of water and dish soap or introduce natural predators like ladybugs or lacewings.

2. Cutworms

Cutworms are the larvae of certain types of moths and can be found in the soil around your plants. They feed on the roots and stems of young plants and can cause significant damage. To prevent cutworms, you can use collars made from paper or cardboard around the base of your plants or introduce natural predators like ground beetles.

3. Cranefly 

Cranefly larvae, also known as leatherjackets, feed on the roots of grass blades and can cause patches of dead or yellowing grass to appear on your lawn. Additionally, these areas may become spongy and soft to the touch, as the roots have been damaged.  Chemical treatment is typically needed with cranefly infestations.

4. Pitch Pine Moth

Pitch Pine Moth larvae bore into trunk of pine trees, the tree responds by emitting pitch sap that encapsulates larvae, leaving a golf ball sized white mass on trunk.  This can cause pine needles to turn brown and drop prematurely.  Plucking off pitch masses is the most effective way to eradicate.

5. Root Weevils

Root weevil larvae feed on the roots of plants, which can cause significant damage and even kill the plant. This can lead to stunted growth, yellowing leaves, and even plant death. Additionally, adult root weevils can cause damage by feeding on the leaves of plants. They can leave notched edges on the leaves or chew large holes in them.  This occurs frequently on Rhododendrons and Pieris.  Some control methods include introducing natural predators like parasitic wasps or using insecticides.

March 15, 2023

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