What’s Eating My Food Garden? 3 Bad Bugs, 1 Solution

gillnurseryProblem Solving, Timely Tips10 Comments

These three insect groups are or will be the source of many gardeners’ angst this Spring. All three can do serious damage to food gardens from chowing on leaves to boring holes to piercing tomatoes… but don’t worry! One organic solution takes care of all.

Flea beetles are tiny – about ¼” or smaller. They leave their signature pin size chew holes in newly planted herbs & veggies. They’re also fond of flower buds just before they open. 

Flea Beatles

Squash borers are the larvae of the squash borer moth. They lay their eggs at the base of the squash stem where the larvae bores into the plant. This causes the plant to die.

Squash Vine Borer
Squash Vine Borer Larvae

Stink Bugs and Leaf Footed Bugs are famous for the spots they leave on prized tomatoes. They pierce the fruit leaving holes that begin to rot. The immature-nymphs look like red spiders. But not to be confused with the nymphs of the boxelder bugs which are NOT detrimental to gardens. Boxelder bugs are a mild nuisance, but they don’t damage plants.  

Adult Leaf-footed Bug
Leaf-footed Bug Damage
Leaf-footed Bug Nymphs
Nymph Boxelder Bug

Your best solution for all three of these pests is Natural Guard Spinosad Soap. This organic spray controls all of these plus other garden pests very effectively. Plan to spray late in the day or early evening when bees are not foraging. It is safe for bees once the spray dries. Follow the instructions and these bad bugs will leave your food plants alone. 


10 Comments on “What’s Eating My Food Garden? 3 Bad Bugs, 1 Solution”

  1. As a VERY AMATEUR gardener, I am SOOO very grateful for this information!!! I will be treating myself to an outing (first time since March 12th!) to Gill’s for some MUCH NEEDED garden therapy!!!! Many Thanks, Cindy Farmer

    1. Thanks Cindy. I am pleased that so many people are experiencing gardening for the first time this year, it is a healthy hobby that I hope sticks with them. Please call on us as you have questions. And remember to celebrate your gardening successes, and learn from your failures and then let them go!

    1. Insecticidal soap does a good job on aphids, whiteflies, and fungus gnats (this may be your small black fly) when applied on a regular basis. Be careful not to apply during the hottest time of day or you will get foliage burn.

    1. Neem oil is somewhat effective, but not as much as Spinosad. Neem has some repellent property if used frequently, may prevent egg laying, or kill very young life stages of pests.

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