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Garden and Landscape Pests

- Good information, common sense and a little "elbow grease" equals less pesticide!

Summary: Garden and landscape plants are host to a wide range of insect and mite pests. Most of the time your best defense is a healthy plant grown with proper watering and fertilization but sometimes more active measures are needed. Use the links below to find pictures, life history and least-toxic control information.

Jack DeAngelis, PhD
OSU Ext. Entomologist (ret.)
root weevil larvae

Root weevils have larvae (left) that feed on roots, sometimes killing the host plant. Adults notch leaves in early summer.

Beneficial nematodes can be used to control root weevil larvae in fall.

crane fly adult

Many insects damge lawns, some feed on roots, like crane flies, while others feed on the above ground parts.

spider mite (line drawing)

Spider mites are tiny mites that feed on leaf surfaces. Overall, they are the most frequent and damaging pests of garden and landscape plants.

grey garden slug

Slugs and snails damage many landscape and garden plants. Both are easily identified by the slime trails they leave behind.

male scale insect

Scale insects are closely related to aphids. They feed by tapping into plants to obtain sap.

aphids on tulip tree

Aphids tap into plant tissue and feed on plant sap. They may inject the plant with toxins or plant disease while feeding.

<==Tulip tree flower bud infested with aphids.

lady beetle laying eggs

Lady beetles (left), syrphid flies, mantids, predator mites, parasitic wasps, and parasitic flies are among the thousands of species of beneficial insects & mites that help with natural pest control.

spruce spider mite stippling on Doug-fir

Spruce spider mite is the most common spider mite found on conifers like Douglas-fir, pine, and spruce. Damaging populations can develop on landscape trees.

Other garden & landscape pests

Aphid & adelgids on conifers (evergreens) - Conifers like pine, spruce and Douglas fir have their own type of aphids that specialize on these plants.

Chinch bugs are small bugs that feed on the leaves of grasses and grain crops. They often occur in damaging numbers during dry, hot periods.

spotted cucumber beetle

Cucumber beetles are common pests in landscapes and vegetable gardens. Adult beetles look like yellowish-green and black lady beetles while larvae (rootworms) feed on plant roots.

Codling moth larvae are the "worms" in wormy apples, pears and walnuts. Fruit can be protected from codling moth but it requires a concerted effort.

Earwigs feed on tender plant leaves resulting in damage that is similar to slug feeding. Earwigs are easily identified by the pincers at the tail-end of these insects.

Hobby greenhouse pests harbor their own particular pests because of the protected environment that allows both plants and pests to thrive.

Houseplant pests - Like plants grown in greenhouses, plants growing indoors are attacked by a number of pests that can cause significant damage.

Japanese beetles feed on a wide variety of plant leaves causes a type of injury called "skeletonized". Larvae feed on roots often killing the plant.

Jerusalem crickets are harmless but strange looking insects that often startle people. These relatively large insects occur mainly in hot and dry climates.

Rose pests - Roses host a number of serious pests but several fungal diseases, aphids and spider mites are possibly the most important ones.

Sowbugs and pillbugs are actually more closely related to shrimp and lobsters, not insects, but usually don't cause any harm. Occasioanlly they damage seedlings if present in large numbers.

Springtails or collembola are small soil-dwelling arthropods feed on decaying plant matter but may occasionally damage tender garden plants. They are most often noticed following heavy rains when they collect in large masses where rainwater collects.

Tent caterpillars & webworms are caterpillars of moths that feed on trees and bushes under a distinctive silken "tent". These silken tents are sometimes mistaken for spider webs.

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Mission: To provide accurate, up-to-date and unbiased information for solving common insect and mite problems around your home, business and landscape using least-toxic methods.

Jack DeAngelis, Ph.D.

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