How to Treat Common Garden Pests

Seeing your garden flourish after dedicating precious time and resources to planting an assortment of flowers, fruits, and vegetables can lead to bursts of unexpected joy. While gardening can offer a series of stress-relieving benefits, maintaining a garden requires a fair share of hard work and patience.

importance-of-building-and-pest-inspectionFor the health and wellness of your plants, it is essential to stay vigilant and proactive in protecting your plants from garden pest infestations. It can be heartbreaking to lose your plants to pesky insects, especially if you depend on these fruits of your labor for food and/or additional income.

Here’s how to properly survey your garden for these common garden pests.


Japanese beetles

Japanese beetles are easy-to-spot, due to their glossy-green backs that resemble a glimmering jewel. However, it can be difficult to control these backyard pests. Even after killing every grub in your garden, they will likely migrate to your yard and will attack small fruits, vegetables, and flowers.

This particular beetle has a special attraction to roses and is known to flock any rose bush in your garden. If your rose bushes are a sacred staple of your garden, you’ll want to be hypervigilant in your pest-control efforts.

The Japanese Beetle is common in every state east of the Mississippi, so it is essential to invest in pest control in Northern Virginia. Develop a habit of shaking these beetles off your plants every morning. Alongside routine shake sessions, use floating row covers, spray these beetles with insecticidal soap, and set baited traps.


These soft, tiny, and pear-shaped insects can be the source of a slew of problems in your garden. Aphids come in a range of colors but are primarily black, green, grey, yellow, and sometimes pink-tinted.

You’ll mostly find aphids in flowers, fruits, shade trees, vegetables, and any ornamentals. It is difficult to spot them until they cause visible damage, as they often congregate on the underside of leaves.

Signs of an aphid infestation include the presence of yellowish spots, curled and sticky leaves, or soot-like mold on leaves’ surfaces. Control these garden pests by spraying plants with water, applying garlic or hot-pepper repellent sprays, and encouraging the existence of the aphid’s natural predators, such as lady beetles and aphid midges.


Scales are infamous for sucking out garden plant’s sap, effectively weakening the plant’s structure. More than 1000 species of this pest live in North America’s greenhouse plants, backyard trees, houseplants, and ornamental shrubs.

Signs that your garden is being overtaken by a scale infestation include the yellowing/sudden dropping of leaves and the excretion of honeydew in fruits and foliage.

You can purchase natural predators like lacewing and ladybugs, prune-infected leaves/branches/twigs, or organic pesticides to mitigate the presence of scales in your garden. Additionally, for minimal infestations, you can spray hand pick or dab each pest with a cotton swab soaked in alcohol.

Mexican bean beetle

These pests are indigenous to Mexico but run rampant in many states located east of the Rocky Mountains, and even thrive in select areas of Colorado, Utah, Texas, Nebraska, and Arizona.

Although they cause most destruction in their larvae life stage, adults can also defoliate plants and cause severe losses for harvesters. They accumulate in fields with widespread bean plantation and feed on plants such as lima bean, soybean, snap bean, and cowpea.

Mexican bean beetles inflict harm on your garden plants by removing the leaf’s lower epidermis, killing the upper-cell layers—which results in a lacy, transparent appearance. Prudent garden owners should inspect their plants early in the summer, so they can respond quickly in the case of infestation.

You can manage these garden nuisances by using floating row covers or treating infected fields using insecticides. Handpicking and planting soybean-trap crops can help treat Mexican bean beetle infestations. You can also buy and introduce Pediobius Foveolatus to the farm at the first sight of larvae.

Flea beetles

Flea beetles are tiny, dark insects with a shiny coat and big rear legs. Upon interruption, flea beetles tend to leap like fleas. There are several active species of this garden pest. While some attack specific plants, others wreak havoc in a wide variety. The crops most susceptible to flea beetles’ damaging effects are kale, broccoli, turnip, cabbage, and radish plants.

Adult flea beetles can cause a multitude of problems during planting seasons, so watch out for young plants with “shot holes” in their leaves. Damaged new leaves can be characterized by their lacy appearance.

To clear your garden of any existing flea beetles, dust plain talcum powder on plants or capture them in-flight using white, adhesive traps. You should also apply insecticides early in the season. Keep in mind, however, that these pesticides are unnecessary on mature plants in your garden.


At night, these fat segmented larvae chew plant stems from the ground up and have the power to entirely devour tiny budding plants between May and June. Some cutworms travel up the tree, resulting in even more damage.

If you are able to spot a cutworm, you’ll find them in young flower and vegetable seedlings. Although, it can be incredibly challenging to identify cutworms, as this backyard pest is most active at night and spends most hours of daylight hiding inside the soil. Cutworms can also be difficult to pinpoint in their broad spectrum of species, colors (brown, grey, black, green, or pink), and patterns (stripes, spots, or soil hues).

All the damages imposed by cutworms occur during their larvae stage. Their level of destruction can be more severe in untilled farms, so make sure you plow your farm well prior to planting. Early plantation and weeding also help. For greater security, create barriers by placing cardboard collars or aluminum foil on transplants to ward off any lurking cutworks. Pesticides always offer guaranteed results and will kill cutworms on-the-spot.

Final thoughts

Taking necessary preventive measures can save you time, resources, stress, and can even raise your chances of reaping plentiful produce. To guarantee the health of your backyard garden, use the correct fertilizer, completely compost waste, cultivate disease-resistant plants, water well, and choose the site mindfully.

Jana Gray