Insects are the most common creatures found in any vegetable garden. They are also, most likely, the most annoying and bothersome issue gardeners face every year. The good news is that they can also be a gardener's best friend!
Last year, our lettuce and spinach was overrun by aphids! We tried soapy, peppery, water sprays to no avail. But at the same time the aphids were taking over our crop, we began seeing these scary looking little guys pop up:
But fear not! For these spiny, Halloween monsters are LADY BUG LARVAE! Sentinels of garden justice!
Within two weeks, the ladybugs had conquered our aphid infestation.
This year, we purchased 1000 ladybugs for $8 at the first sign of aphids and they took care of them right away.
Every year, the insect situation is different. Last year, we had tons of squash bugs. This year, we've been lucky enough to not have any! Some of the bugs you see year after year and
So let's take a look at some of the different bugs we've found in our garden this year, how they help or hurt, and what you can do about the latter.
Ants & Aphids
The ants are harmless, but the aphids will literally suck the life out of your plants. As the aphids consume fluid from the plants, they secrete a sticky, sugary substance called honeydew. The ants then consume the honeydew. So if you see little black ants, try to follow them to the aphids, often hidden on the underside of leaves. Remove whole leaves, try a home-made or organic aphid spray, or purchase some ladybugs to take care of the problem!
Sharpshooters are tubular shaped insects that suck juices from plants and squirt honeydew from their abdomens. They also have the annoying habit of scurrying to the other side of a stem or leaf whenever you try to grab or squish them. They're sneaky little buggers! Our sunflowers were covered with them this year, which we didn't mind since the sharpshooters stayed away from our cucumbers as a result. Even though we had a lot, they didn't do much damage, so we left them alone.
Honey bees are a gardener's best friend! Without them, our food supply would fall apart and we'd all starve! While I've never been much of a flower gardener, I've come to realize their importance in the vegetable garden. So consider planting flowers in among your vegetables to attract honey bees and other pollinators. Maybe even plant some edible flowers like zinnias and nasturtiums!
Yellow Garden Spider
Yes, that is the actual common name! These spiders are easily identified by their huge size (bodies the size of a quarter), their black and yellow markings, and their large webs, often spun with a thick zipper shape down the middle. While they look super intimidating, they are really beneficial to have in the garden (most spiders are)! They'll eat any flying insect they can capture in their web.
These were the most predominant and noticeable insects in our garden this year, but I'm sure there were others.
What insects did you find in your garden?
What organic or home-made controls have you found to be effective?
Share in the comments here or on Facebook!