Pests can cause chaos in your garden
Bugs and bacteria affecting your plants? Here are the common ones to watch out for…
Box tree caterpillar
A relatively new insect pest to Britain is attacking box (Buxus sempervirens) plants. Box tree caterpillars feed on the plants' leaves within webbing produced over the foliage and can completely defoliate box plants.
Capsid bugs can easily spoil the appearance and displays of many different plants. They give the leaves a tattered and distorted appearance and can even cause flower buds to abort.
Leafhoppers are sap-sucking insects that attack a wide range of plants. One or two won't cause significant damage, but lots of them can cause leaf yellowing and the overall weakening of the plant.
Despite their small size, flea beetles can cause a lot of damage – especially as they like eating the leaves of young plants and seedlings – often leading to them becoming stunted or even dying.
Cabbage root fly
The larvae (maggots) of the cabbage root fly eat the roots of all brassicas – not just cabbages. This reduces the strength of the plant, causes them to wilt and, in the case of small plants, usually eventually die.
Codling moth can be a serious problem of apples, eating out the centre of the fruit, ruining it. And, as the old saying goes: What's worse than finding a codling moth grub in your apple? Half a codling moth grub!
Vine weevils are a devastating plant pest – suddenly otherwise healthy looking plants wilt and collapse and no amount of watering will help them recover. The reason? The vine weevil grubs have eaten all the roots.
Scarlet lily beetle
The scarlet lily beetle may look attractive, but it is the scourge of lily growers. It can do huge amounts of damage to lilies and needs to be controlled whenever it is seen.
Slugs and snails
Slugs and snails are one of the commonest garden plant pests. They are present in large numbers and can quickly eat and destroy a wide range of plants, especially those with young and soft leaves.
Red spider mite
The red spider mite is a very damaging plant pest. They are tiny and very difficult to see until they build up in large numbers and start producing their characteristic webbing. And confusingly, they are rarely red!
Chafer grubs live underground in the soil, where they devour plant roots. They can become a major problem – especially in lawns. They are the larvae of the cockchafer (or maybug), garden chafer and Welsh chafer.
Carrot root fly
Carrot root fly is probably the most serious pest of carrot crops. Although affected roots can still be eaten, it does reduce the amount of usable root and it can take ages in the kitchen cutting out the affected parts.
Some caterpillar species are serious plant pests – the cabbage white butterfly, for instance, can devastate brassica crops. Many plant-eating caterpillars are the larvae of moths.