Gardens can consist of many types of vegetation, which is an immediate attraction for bugs and insects. Some garden insects are friendly and do not cause any damage to your garden. However, there are several bugs and insects which, during their life cycles, will take on different forms, involving a change in diet that can affect your crops, plants and gardens.
Squash bugs are strong flyers and, during the early summer, they migrate to fields and/or gardens of squash, zucchini, pumpkins and other plants, mainly on the southeast and western slope areas. Squash bugs attach their brown, elliptical eggs underneath leaves in groups and they are among the toughest garden insects to control. To control squash bugs, apply insecticide and diatomaceous earth around the base of the plant when the eggs are first spotted. To control these insects throughout the season, apply again 10 to 14 days later.
Spinach Leaf Miners
The mature spinach leaf miner burrows underneath the soil in the winter and then emerges from the ground during the middle of spring. It will then find young plants where it will lay masses of white eggs on the underside of leaves. According to colostate.edu, during the immature stage, the maggot burrows into leaves of beets, chard and spinach for two to three weeks, causing tan coloured blotchy dead patches. To control spinach leaf miners, find larvae tunnels or tan blotches within the leaves and destroy them.
During the immature stage of the cutworm, it is a ¼-inch long, grey-brown or dull grey and has a voracious appetite for feeding on various plants and vegetation in the spring. After feeding, the cutworm undergoes a radical transformation, pupating in the soil and emerging as an adult moth. These insects are commonly found in lawns and garden debris. Army cutworms usually lay eggs in lush gardens and in dense vegetation. Cutworms do not reproduce during the summer but go through a process called reverse migration, which occurs in late August through September, to lay their eggs.
The tomato hornworm, also known as the tobacco hornworm, is the largest among caterpillars, measuring up to four inches in length. Because of their size, this garden insect can quickly defoliate potatoes, peppers, eggplants, tomatoes and even green fruit. Tobacco hornworm larva or Manduca sexta are generally green with curved, prominent red horns and seven white diagonal lines on their sides. The tomato hornworm, or Manduca quinquemaculata, has blue-black straight horns with V-shaped marks on each side. Hornworms do not like direct sunlight and they eat on the interior of plants. During the day, hornworms are visible when they move to the outside of plants at night.
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