The Top 10 Bugs to Look Out for in Your Garden This Spring

The weather is warming up and that means it’s time to start thinking about your garden! As you get ready for planting and harvesting your garden, it’s important to be aware of the potential pests and bugs that could cause damage. In this blog post, we will discuss the 10 most common bugs to look out for in your garden this spring. We’ll provide tips on how to prevent them from causing harm, and what steps you can take if they do become a problem.

Bugs in garden
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Colorado Potato Beetle

Adults are yellow-orange beetles with ten black stripes on their wing covers. They infest potatoes, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, eggplant, and petunias across North America. These bugs defoliate plants and reduce yields or destroy young seedlings.

How to control Colorado Potatoe Beetles

  • Pick bugs off by hand
  • Attract native predators and parasites
  • Neem oil should be sprayed onto the leaves of this plant
  • Cover plants with plant covers
  • Grow plants in deep layers of straw material


Adult females are small, soft, wriggling creatures with threadlike mouthparts that resemble bumps on stems, leaves, or fruit; males are tiny flying insects with hard bodies and larvae are tiny soft beings. Scales are found on a variety of fruits, houseplants, ornamental shrubs, and trees throughout North America. All phases of the scale suck plant sap, causing plants to weaken. Plants become yellow, lose their leaves, and may die as a result of the excretion. Honeydew is also discharged onto leaves and fruit.

How to control Scales:

  • Apply Superior Oils
  • Remove the afflicted plant parts (prune).
  • Neem oil should be sprayed onto the leaves of this plant
  • Scrub twigs gently with a soft brush and soapy water to remove scales, then wash well

Cabbage Maggot

Cabbage Maggots, also known as green peach aphids, are tiny black insects that dwell on Chinese cabbages and other cabbage-family plants. The maggots tunnel into the roots of plants, causing them to die directly or indirectly by allowing disease germs access.

To control Cabbage Maggots:

  • Delay planting cabbage to avoid the first generation
  • Around the stems, mound wood ashes or red pepper dust
  • Cover plants with plant covers
  • Get rid of roots from harvested plants by burning them
  • Transplants should be set out through slits in tar-paper squares
  • Apply parasitic nematodes just around the roots

Mexican Bean Beetle

Adults are 1/4-inch oval yellow-brown beetles with 16 black spots on their wing coverings, while larvae are fat dark yellow grubs with long branched spines. They can be found on cowpeas, lima beans, snap beans, and soybeans in most of the eastern United States as well as certain areas of Arizona, Colorado, Nebraska, Texas, and Utah. Adults and larvae gnaw on leaves from the underside, leaving a lace-like pattern.

To control Mexican Bean Beetles:

  • Pick off the bugs by hand
  • Set out lures to attract their predators, the spined soldier bugs to your yard
  • Plant the bush beans in early Spring
  • Cover plants with plant covers
  • Plant a soybean trap crop in your garden
  • Neem oil or insecticidal soap should be sprayed onto the leaves of this plant


Aphids are tiny, pear-shaped insects with long antennae and two tubes that extend out from the rear of their bodies. They usually congregate on most fruits, vegetables, flowers, ornamentals, and shade trees in North America. Aphids drain plant fluids, causing leaves to droop and distort. Honeydew excreted on leaves promotes sooty mold development, and feeding spreads viral infections.

To control Aphids:

  • Hot-pepper or garlic repellent sprays should be used to ward off the insects
  • Wash your plants with a powerful spray of water
  • Apply horticultural oil, insecticidal soap, or neem oil to severe infestations
  • Cover plants with plant covers
  • Encourage native predators and parasites like asaphid midges, lacewings, and ladybugs.


Caterpillars are tiny, soft, segmented larvae with a hard head capsule and six legs in the front and fleshy false legs on the rear segments. They can be found on a variety of fruits, vegetables, ornamental plants, and shade trees. Caterpillars gnaw on leaves or along margins; some tunnel into fruits.

To control caterpillars in your garden:

  • Cover plants with plant covers
  • Encourage natural predators and parasites.


The 1-inch long, fat, gray or black segmented larvae that crawl during the night are called cutworms. Cutworms, also known as chicory rootworm moths (Chicorium intybus), are tiny brown caterpillars that can be found on most early vegetable and flower seedlings and transplants in North America. Cutworms gnaw through the ground level of plants; they may consume entire small plants in May and June.

To control Cutworms:

  • Wait to plant
  • Cutworm collars should be used on transplants
  • Pick out cutworms curled up below the soil surface and discard
Bugs in garden
Image from FreePik

Tarnished Plant Bug

The tarnished plant bug is a brown, mottled green or black insect with forewings bearing black-tipped yellow triangles. They may be found on numerous flowers, fruits, and vegetables in North America. Adults and nymphs suck plant juices, causing leaf and fruit distortion, wilting, stunting, and tip damage.

To control Tarnished Plant Bugs:

  • Keep your garden free of weeds in the spring
  • Neem oil should be sprayed onto the leaves of this plant where the young bugs are living
  • Encourage native bug predators
  • Cover plants with plant covers

Japanese Beetles

Adult Japanese Beetles are metallic blue-green, half-inch beetles with bronze wing covers, while larvae are fat, white grubs with brown heads. They may be found on a variety of plants in all states east of the Mississippi River, including leaves skeletonizing, flowers chewing, and entire plant defoliation.

To control Japanese Beetles:

  • Set out baited traps on two sides and at least 30 feet away from your vegetable garden on both the upwind and downwind sides
  • Cover plants with plant covers
  • Insecticidal soap should be used to spray insects
  • Shake beetles off of plants in the early hours of the day

Flea Beetle

Flea beetles are tiny, dark insects that leap about like fleas when disturbed. They can be found throughout North America and are usually found on most vegetable crops. Adults chew hundreds of little round holes into leaves (particularly harmful to young plants), while larvae feed on plant roots.

To control Flea Beetles:

  • Spray garlic spray or kaolin clay on the veggies
  • Cover plants with plant covers


These are the top ten bugs to look out for in your garden this spring. Be sure to take the necessary precautions to prevent them from wreaking havoc on your plants! If you have any questions or concerns, be sure to consult with a professional. Get outdoors and enjoy your garden. Happy gardening!

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