BAD BUG: The Squash Bug. Squash bugs attack squash, pumpkin and cucumber plants by sucking the sap out of leaves, creating holes in the leaves. SOLUTION: You can crush their eggs, knock adults into a bucket of soapy water, trap with newspaper that they'll congregate under at night, or spray an insecticide.
BAD BUG: The Cabbage Looper. Cabbage loopers love to eat cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, collard greens, potatoes, tomatoes, spinach and cucumbers. SOLUTION: You can pick them off by hand, use an insecticide, or prevent white cabbage butterflies from laying their eggs in the Spring. (Photo by Drees.)
BAD BUG: the Garden Slug. Slugs love to eat the leaves of pepper plants and thrive in moist areas of the garden. SOLUTION: pick them off by hand, sprinkle coffee grounds, diatomaceous earth or egg shells around plants, or set small containers of beer as traps.
BAD BUG: Japanese Beetles. These beetles work as a group to skeletonize the leaves of nearly 300 species of plants and trees. SOLUTION: knock them into a bucket of soapy water, spray a chemical insecticide, find store-bought traps (they look like bags), or pour a systemic insecticide near the roots (this option is safe for bees and lady beetles).
BAD: Powdery Mildew. Mildew develops on your plants due dry foliage, high humidity, low light and moderate temperatures SOLUTION: try a fungicide, baking soda, vinegar, mouthwash, or plain water to prevent and/or eliminate the problem.
BAD BUG: the earwig. Earwigs are fond of flowers, lettuce, celery and fruits; you’ll notice holes in the leaves or jagged edges. SOLUTION: Earwigs hate dry areas, so try ‘moats’ of gravel or coarse sand around your garden to keep them out. You can bait them with a rolled up piece of damp newspaper overnight, then pick it up and throw it away each morning.
Not all of the bugs in your garden are pests. Many are helpful crawlers that can eliminate those “bad insects” that love to make your lives miserable, feasting on your favorite herbs for dinner. Discover which bugs are on your side (such as the non-stinging braconid wasp or the hard-shelled ground beetle), and which bugs are not. Then, learn how to build the perfect habitat that will make these beneficial bugs set up camp in your garden for good.