Sometimes green and squishy, sometimes black and crunchy; they fly, crawl, burrow, walk, and feed on our garden plants! Garden pests like insects and other animals interfere with the growth of healthy garden plants include insects and bugs, mollusks, birds, and mammals. They are not welcomed guests!

Insect and creepy, crawly creatures are definitely the most abundant pest. They cause damage by chewing, sucking, and boring into the plant. Often this type of pest is named for the plant it attacks. For example the corn ear worm or boll worm feeds on corn while the carrot weevil grubs feed on the exterior of the carrot and then burrow into its top. There are cabbage loggers, tomato hornworm, squash vine borers, and Colorado potato beetles all named for the plant they attack. Of course, some of these pests are not named after the plant they attack. Among these are blister beetles, aphids, wireworm, and ants. Insects and bugs are among the hardest pests to control. They can feed on foliage, the mature fruit and vegetable, and even the roots.

Mollusks can be a pest in the garden. Two mollusks that attack plants are snails and slugs. They mostly feed on cabbage and lettuce plants.

Birds, our fair feathered friends, can be helpful when they eat bugs but oftentimes they can be pests. Having to replant crops is a lot of work. Crows, starlings, blackbirds and even the farmer’s chickens can eat the seeds and seedlings not long after planting. Ducks and geese can also damage plants when they traipse through foraging for food not to mention they are quite messy as they leave droppings all over.

Mammals can also be a big nuisance. Small rodents like mice and rats may tunnel in the area of the garden. They can also chow down on the vegetables when they mature. It’s not very pleasant to find a big, ripe juice tomato with teeth imprints or a missing bite. Other small animal pests include rabbits, squirrels, groundhogs, chipmunks and opossums. Cats and dogs can also be considered to be pests in the garden when they decide to walk, run or roll around on top of plants. Larger animals like deer and coyotes are pests in some areas and will come to the garden to eat the fruit of the gardener’s labor.

The garden is a source of food, pride, and hard work that you certainly do not want ruined by some unwanted and uninvited guests. Let the pests be gone!

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