Common Garden Insects and Ways to Control Them

Our gardens and outdoor spaces can sometimes become hotly contested territory, with many uninvited residents claiming their share of the bounty.

While garden insects may seem tiny and insignificant, they can quickly transform carefully curated green spaces into unsightly and infested wastelands if left unchecked. 

With a little know-how and the right tactics, we can establish a somewhat peaceful relationship with these creatures - keeping them at bay without resorting to heavy-handed methods that may harm your garden ecosystem. 

Let's take a closer look at some of the most common garden insects, as well as effective and eco-friendly ways to control them. 


These pear-shaped garden pests are probably the bane of every gardener's existence. They reproduce and spread quickly in dense colonies that undermine and weaken plant growth. If your garden is plagued by aphids, try introducing beneficial predators like ladybugs to feast on them and to keep populations in check. 


Caterpillars are the larval stage of butterflies and moths - and they are virtual eating machines that can quickly devour leaves and even fruits. Watch out for holes in your flowers and plant leaves to catch these pests in the act. 


These tiny, buzzing vampires of the outdoors are more than just a nuisance and need no introduction. They are also carriers of dangerous diseases like the Zika virus and malaria. It is crucial to keep them at bay so you can enjoy your outdoors. In areas with large mosquito populations, using pesticides may be necessary. Also considering using a mosquito misting system for effective control - these systems target specific areas and release a fine mist of insecticide that kills mosquitoes upon contact. 

Squash bugs

These annoying insects suck the life out of pumpkin, squash and other cucurbit plants. When faced with these pests, try applying diatomaceous earth around the base of your affected plants. The sharp particles will slice open the bugs’ exoskeleton, causing eventual death. 

Snails and slugs

These slimy creatures leave a trail of destruction behind as they feed on leaves and fruits. Look for slime trails and holes to identify these culprits, typically hiding under leaves or in wet areas.

Now that you know your enemy categories, let's go over some defense strategies:

Prevention is key

Start your defensive strategy by incorporating pest-resistant plants. Encourage the presence of beneficial insects like lacewings, beetles, and ladybugs as they are natural predators of many common pests. Remember to keep your garden clean and free of cluttered debris - where pests like to take cover.

Identifying pests

You need to identify garden pests correctly in order to choose the right methods for effective control. Target each specific pest with relevant strategies, and avoid using broad-spectrum or harmful insecticides that may also kill beneficial insects.

Natural control 

Natural control methods are always better than chemical pesticides. Apart from encouraging predators, offer extra protection for your plants by covering them with lightweight row covers. This will allow sunlight and water to reach plants while keeping insects out.

To deal with small infestations, simply pick off the insects and drop them into soapy water. This is a simple and effective method that works for slugs, caterpillars and snails too.

By understanding the habits of common garden insects and controlling them with eco-friendly methods, you can enjoy a thriving garden without the hassle of pests. Happy gardening and start enjoying the outdoors pest-free!   

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