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Harmful Insects That Can Kill Your Garden


Insect attacks are a gardener’s worst nightmare, mainly when you are a beginner and can’t even identify these predatory insects. So the first step towards protecting your garden is by identifying these harmful insects and learning to manage them well.

Japanese Beetles

These are beetles with a greenish appearance that looks metallic and shiny. They are usually half an inch in size, with small white hair protruding from their abdomen. They breed in June and can attack plants when in groups.

Japanese beetles attack foliage and leaves, leaving the remains of the plant to appear like a skeleton. Also, look for dead patches of grass, which is another sign of a Japanese beetle attack. One easy way to treat them is using neem oil. Because neem contains potassium bicarbonate, it causes their larvae to die, thereby reducing their population.

Stink Bugs

There are various stink bugs present in the environment, some of which are native to North America. Most of them you can identify by a solid, robust shield ranging from brownish-black to greenish-red appearance. Most of them feed on fruits and crops and therefore can put your plants in danger.

The characteristic odor is their defense, and therefore you can identify an attack by this characteristic odor similar to rotten cilantro. However, not all stinking bugs are harmful. Using good organic practices is the best way to get rid of them. Row covers can be ideal for making them inaccessible to the garden.

Flea Beetles

These are tiny jumping insects that damage plants by chewing leaves into small bullet holes. Their major attacks include potatoes, eggplants, beans, and cabbage. They are usually 1/10-inch-long with a brown head appearance, and some species may also have yellow stripes on their wings. They lay eggs at the base of the plant.

Placing yellow sticky traps is essential for reducing their mobility throughout your garden. Kaolin clay can also be a broad spectrum botanical protectant and better than chemical pesticides.

Tomato Hornworm

These are the green caterpillars that look at your tomatoes very closely. They have white stripes aligned with horns coming out on either side. These do not come as individuals, so if you identify one, remember there is an entire group out there ready.

Because they’re big, you can easily handpick them out of the garden. Apart from that, their population is usually kept in check by natural predators like ladybugs. Insecticides can be another approach to get rid of them. When ingested by the hornworm, they poison their stomach leading them to death. However, too much use of insecticides is harmful to humans, and therefore, one must have sought to use organic methods.


Because aphids live under the leaves, they tend to suck all sap from the plants. Some can live in the soil, causing damage to the plant roots. In some cases, aphids can transmit the mosaic virus to plants that can cause severe damage.

Many believe that aphids are signs of weak plants, and therefore, the gardener must take this as a warning sign. Handpicking is a better way to get rid of them physically. However, one can also use insecticide spray.


Not all bugs and insects are damaging. Some can be beneficial for pollination or controlling the manure present in the soil. Apart from using insecticides, one crucial factor is to practice safe and clean gardening practices. 

Ensure to have a thorough regular check and act as soon as you see tiny numbers of these problematic garden pests. Nature has its balance, and in most cases, you will find natural predators to these pests. However, things go wrong when you don’t maintain your lawn well and use substances that diminish the presence of beneficial insects.