It’s frustrating to spend so much time and effort cultivating your garden only to have it destroyed by pests. GardEners have devised multiple sneaky ways to protect their produce, but first, you should know which what you’re looking for! Here are the top five plant-destroying pests!

1. White Flies

White Flies, also known as Aleyrodidae, are tiny little soft-bodied, winged sucking insects that weaken plant growth. They leave behind a sticky residue, or honeydew, which often results in fungal diseases on leaves. They lay eggs in a circular pattern that is easily missed because it’s on the underside of leaves. Whiteflies are also typically attracted to plants like tomatoes, cabbages, sweet potatoes, and peppers.

How to Deter Them

Get rid of whiteflies by blasting them with the watering hose. They’ll scatter immediately, then you can spray or coat your leaves with insecticidal soap or a homemade mixture of dishwashing soap, lemon, and water. If you mulch easily in the season with aluminum reflective mulch, you’ll find that whiteflies have a harder time finding their host plants!

2. Scales

Scales, the second of the top five plant-destroying pests, are common on backyard trees, shrubs, and green and house plants. They are oddly shaped and immobile, but dangerous because they can cause poor growth, reduced vigor, and yellowed leaves. Scales suck sap and attach themselves to twigs, leaves, branches, and fruits.

How to Deter Them

You can easily get rid of scale insects by pruning and disposing of infected branches, twigs, and leaves. They can also be removed by dabbing them with an alcohol-soaked cotton swab. Similarly, you can get rid of these pests by purchasing their natural predators, ladybugs, and lacewing!

3. Japanese Beetles

A species of a scarab, a Japanese beetle is small but can cause monumental damage to crops and plants. They begin feeding in June and emerge from the soil, attacking in groups and covering major ground. They eat a variety of plants but are partial to roses, beans, grapes, and raspberries.

How to Deter Them

Row covers, neem oil, and drop cloths are easy ways to get rid of Japanese Bettles. You can also set traps to control their numbers, though this might result in beetles from beyond your yard joining the ranks. Place traps far away from your plants as a way of insurance or even use a sweet fruit cocktail.

4. Slugs

Slugs are one of the most damaging garden pests and leave a slimy secretion and holes or ragged edges on leaves in their wake. They’ll feed on just about any plant, but are often found on beans, lettuce, cabbage, and tomatoes. Slugs are most prevalent when the weather has been rainy and in humid, moist climates. Slug populations will also grow rapidly in cool, wet conditions because they lay them in moist soil or compost.

How to Deter Them

To deter slugs, fill empty tuna fish cans with beer and place them in the garden. They will fall in and drown. You can also sprinkle salt on slugs or freeze them if you catch them early enough. Sharp sand, wood ashes, crushed seashells around the stems of plants will discourage slugs from attacking.

5. Cutworms

Cutworms are fat, 1 inch-long moth larvae can range in a color. They hide beneath leaves or within the top layer of soil and feed at night. Their damage can be found if a plant appears to be cut off just above the soil surface. This is because cutworms curl their bodies around the stem to feed. In order to find these bugs, you should check in the late afternoon and evening. RUn your hand over the soil to find potential hiding spaces. The cutworms will curl into a “C” shape.

How to Deter Them

To rid your garden of them, place an aluminum foil barrier around transplants. This will stop their larvae from feeding on your plants. You can also cultivate your soil shallowly before planting to remove your cutworms by hand. Cutworms will not typically attack seedlings with a thicker stem, so deter them by setting our flowers a few weeks later.

Pesky Invaders Beware!

To deter any of these top five plant-destroying pests, you could hand pick them or use pesticides or insecticides! The trouble with some of these chemicals is that they can also affect the population of harmless, beneficial bugs and insects as well! In order to properly take care of your garden, it’s important to pay attention to the undersides of plants and find bugs before they do the bulk of their damage! There are also different types of plants that can be used as a natural deterrent for these pests.