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Common Garden Pests and How to Deal with Them

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Common Garden Pests and How to Deal with Them

Common Garden Pests and How to Deal with Them

Having insects in your garden, is not always a bad thing. Many of them are actually beneficial as they are eating pests and pollinating the flowers. However, it’s important to be able to identify the insects you want in the garden from those which will damage it. We listed 10 common pests you can find in almost any garden and provided some gardening tips on how to combat them. 

1. Slugs and Snails

Slugs and snails get food with their spiky and rasping tongue. Snails hibernate during the winter and cannot move through the soil. They can climb high when retreating to their shells in order to prevent drying out. On the other hand, slugs are active all year round and can move above and under the ground. Both species feed mostly during the night.


It is fairly easy to identify the symptoms of slugs and snails in your garden. They leave a trail of slime and large holes in leaves, and completely eat the seedlings.

Prevention and treatment

It is essential that you don’t rely on only one method when dealing with slugs and snails. First, you can dig the soil to disrupt the slugs and their eggs. You can rely on natural regulators such as beetles, frogs, birds and hedgehogs. Inspect your plants often and handpick the slugs and snails, if you find some. You can put barriers of dry materials such as grit or sheep wool. Slugs cannot cross over it, but you will have to change the barriers every time after rain. You can try using nematodes, which are microscopic organism, offered to buy online. Conditions for them to function are very specific as they work only once in a season, so do your research about them before buying them online. Finally, you can use slug pellets. However, assure yourself that they are appropriate for organic growing, since some contain chemicals that can affect the rest of your garden.


2. Allium Leaf Miner

Leaf Miners are tiny white maggots which feed on leeks and onions.



If you see white spots, leaf splits or distorted plants which are about to rot, you have allium leaf miners in your garden.


Prevention and treatment

When harvesting, get rid of all debris your garden has accumulated. Dig over the soil in order to expose the pupas to predators. To prevent from getting leaf miners again, shield the susceptible plants with an ultra-fine mesh cover. However, allium leaf miners lay eggs throughout the whole year and those eggs can survive in the soil even through a harsh winter. So, keep in mind that total control over them is difficult.

3. Ants

The most common types of ants you will see in your garden are red and black ants. Red ants are the ones that might stings. On the other hand, black ants tend to be less aggressive. They both create their nests in late summer.


Ants’ nests can undermine your garden causing your plants to wilt and die. Sometimes they create mounds on the lawn which makes it difficult to mow and overall spoils the whole lawn appearance.


Prevention and treatment

There isn’t much to do against ants actually, if you want to completely remove them from your garden. You can encourage their natural predators such as frogs and slow worms to also reside in your garden. Also, you can grease your trees and stems of plants, or put them in a moat of water. Ants won’t cross the water or the greased parts.

4. Aphids

Aphids are one of the most common garden pests, often called greenfly or blackfly. They are sap-sucking pests that you can find in every part of your plants – their roots, stems and leaves. Be wary of them since they can carry viruses.



You can find them in large numbers clustered around a young plant. They cause the plant to become weak and distorted, eventually killing it.

Prevention and treatment

You should regularly inspect your plants for aphids. If you are using fertilizer rich on nitrogen, it will cause to soft leafy growth which actually attracts aphids. So, if you absolutely want to use it, just don’t put too much of it. Birds and bats eat on aphids, so encourage those animals to visit your garden. Blue tis, hoverflies, lacewings and ladybird also feed on aphids, therefore you should grow flowers that will attract these insects. If you see plants that are seriously infected by aphids, pick them up and put them in a bucket of soapy water. Blasting strong streams of water at the plants, should also be able to remove the aphids.  


5. Vine weevil

Vine weevil larvae are up to 1 cm long but usually they are curled into a ‘C’. They have a plump, creamy white body and a brown head. The grown adults are the same size but are dull matt black in colour with ridges going down their back and a distinct snout. They lay between 500-1500 eggs over just a couple of months. This happens two-three months after they’ve appeared from the soil.



Vine weevil can cause serious harm on many plants including Fuchsia, Primula, Cyclamen and Begonia. The larvae can do the most damage and can be found either at the compost of grown plants or their roots in open ground. The grown adult vine weevils leave holes in leaves which, however, don’t harm the plants. If you see your plants wilting and looking dried out, you probably have vine weevils. Take out the plants out of their pots and you will see how their roots are almost gone and the pests are evidently visible.


Prevention and treatment

In order to prevent cine weevils from destroying your plants, there are a few working methods. Adult vine weevils start to appear as the ground warms up in April. You can put a band of a wide PVC tape around your pots and grease it with insect barrier glue. This way wine weevils won’t be able to cross. Next, make sure you check on your plants regularly. If you find newly residing vine weevils, you can save your plants by re-potting them with fresh soil, or even re-planting them somewhere else. Destroy the found larvae. You can also use nematodes that you can buy online. However, their conditions are very explicit in order to have a success in killing the pests. Lastly, their natural predators are shrews, birds, hedgehogs and frogs. So, encourage those animals to reside in your garden as well.


6. Rosemary beetle

The rosemary beetles are yellowish-brown larvae with brown patterns, brown head and a 6-8 mm long body. The matured beetles are 3-4 mm long, covered with fine hair. They lay small creamy-colored eggs in fruit blossoms.



These beetles grub into the fruits and cause them to become hard and distorted. However, they rarely cause and severe damages.


Prevention and treatment

You can puncture the soil around the plants’ stems with a fork in order to bring the beetles and larvae to the surface. Thus, they can be eaten by birds. You can repeat this a few times during the autumn and winter months in order to interrupt the beetle’s life cycle.


7. Wasps



Wasps are one of the most recognizable insects. They can be irritating around food and they tend to attack ripening fruits and give painful stings when feeling attacked. Nonetheless, they are still useful as they feed on aphids, caterpillars and sawflies which are all pests that you prefer to eradicate as well.


Prevention and treatment

There are a few things you can do against wasps. You can hang wasp traps on trees that you can buy or create by yourself. It’s made by a string tied around the tops of a jar, filled with water and a teaspoon of sugar. You can also hire a pest controller or a gardener to help you out, if you are having troubles. Finally, you can use a wasp killer powder that won’t damage your plants.


8. Earwigs

Earwigs can be beneficial as we saw earlies with combating aphids. They also feed on other pests such as the apple codling moth. However, earwigs will cause trouble in your garden since they can damage the petals of some of your flowers. They can particularly be found in your dahlias, clematis, delphiniums, chrysanthemums and pansies.



If you see large holes in your flowers’ petals, you probably have earwigs. They can also be found in holes inside fruits such as peaches, apples and pears. However, usually they are not in fault for the initial damage. But they will extend the wounds made by previous pests.


Prevention and treatment

In order to get rid of earwigs you can devise a special trap. Use flower pots by turning them upside down and place a straw and newspaper inside. Later, empty them in a bucket of soapy water.


9. Spider mite

Spider mites are really small pests – less than one mm in size and can be in different colors.



Spider mites live on the undersides of leaves where they spin their silk webs. They damage the plant cells by puncturing them when feeding. They feed on a big variety of plants, so there is a big chance you have them in your garden. Usually their population increases in hot, dry conditions.


Prevention and treatment

If you want to prevent spider mites in your garden, regularly and gently spray the plants with water.


10. Whitefly

Whiteflies are small insects looking similarly to moths. They are around 1-2 mm long with a white or creamy yellow colour and white wings.



Whiteflies usually damages the crops and cover the undersides of leaves. If your leaves turn yellow or develop moulds, you probably have whiteflies in your garden.


Prevention and treatment

You can place yellow sticky tapes that the whiteflies will stick on. If you already have badly infected plants, spray them with insecticidal soap. And if that doesn’t work, throw those plants out. Whiteflies’ eggs can survive the winter, so make sure that all year-round plants are clear of whitefly infestations. There are also bio controls you can buy that will help and won’t damage the rest of your garden.

Author’s Bio:


Name: Dimo Koev


Dimo has 10+ years of experience in landscaping services, garden design and maintenance, lawn care, turfing, hedge trimming, weeding, fencing, decking, patio and driveway laying, planting, garden clearance, and more. He is the president of Professional Gardening Services, which delivers the bespoke gardening services in London. Dimo believes in constantly adapting, innovating and learning about his industry in order to deliver the best service to his clients. That’s why he is so enthusiastic and eager to share his knowledge and skills with everyone who needs gardening advice.


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Guest Wednesday, 03 March 2021