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Outdoor Pests


aphids on leaf

Aphids on leaf

Here are some common outdoor pests that could be affecting your vegetables, fruits, trees, shrubs, perennials and roses. Read the descriptions to help you identify any pests that might be attacking your plants.

Vegetable Pests

Aphids: Pear-shaped, soft bodied insects often found in colonies. Can be pale green, yellow, brown, black, red, or pink. Injure plant by sucking sap causing leaf distortion and reduced growth; can transmit diseases. Attack – all vegetables

Colorado Potato Beetle: rounded, hard shelled beetles, alternating black and yellow stripes; larvae are red humpback with two rows of black spots on each side. Feed heavily on leaves and stems, small plants are most severely damaged. Attack – eggplants, peppers, potatoes and tomatoes

Cabbageworm: velvety green caterpillar with a yellow stripe running down its back. Chew ragged holes in the leaves; may bore into heads and contaminate edible portions. Attack – broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, radish, turnip

Cutworms: fleshy, caterpillar-like worms that curl up when disturbed. Sever stems at or just below ground level. Feed at night. Attack – all vegetables

European Corn Borer: large green, brown or pink caterpillars with dark brown head found inside the stalks or within the ears. Feeds on leaves, stalks and ears. Leaves are riddled with tiny shot holes; bores into stalks or ears to feed on the cob and kernels. Attack – corn and tomatoes

Flea Beetles: small black or black and yellow beetles that jump like fleas eat pin-sized holes in the leaves destroying the leaves. Attack – cabbage, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, corn, eggplant, kohlrabi, potato, radish, rutabaga, tomato, turnip

Leafhoppers: small pale green insects that jump and fly. Damage plants by sucking the sap. Leaves may be stippled, curled, puckered or brittle. Carry and transmit viruses and diseases. Attack – carrots, celery, cucumber, lettuce, potato

Root Maggots: small, white, legless maggots Maggots tunnel into roots rendering them inedible. Plant appear stressed, leaves may turn yellow. In severe cases plants may wilt and die. Attack – broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, radish, rutabaga, turnip and others

Thrips: tiny, slender, pale yellow, green or brown insects. Feed by rasping plant tissue then sucking the released plant sap. The injured tissue dies, producing dead spots, distorted blooms and leaves and balled flowers. Attack – bean, cabbage, onion, pea and other crops

Tree, Shrub, Rose, Perennial and Annual Pests

Aphids: pear-shaped, soft bodies insects. Suck sap while feeding on leaves; causes a reduction in plant vigour, wilting and distortion of leaves and flowers; excrete sticky honeydew on which sooty / black molds grow. In some cases can cause red blistering on leaves. Attack – all herbaceous and woody ornamentals

Blister Mites: tiny white mites. Cause reddish, yellow or brown blisters on the leaves. Attack – Mountain Ash, cotoneaster, pears, apples

Box Elder Bugs: brownish-black insects with red stripes on the wings. Suck nutrients from the seeds, foliage and young stems. Damage to trees is minor. Attack – Manitoba Maple

Caterpillars: common types loopers, cankerworms, larvae for moths and butterflies. Chew irregular holes in foliage; severe cases may cause defoliation. Only in severe cases will the overall tree health be affected. Attack – all ornamentals

Flea Beetles: very small, shiny black beetles that hop. Chew holes or skeletonize leaves. Attack – poplar, willow and other woody ornamentals

Forest Tent Caterpillar: large blue-black caterpillars are marked with white spots along the back. Chew large, irregular holes in foliage causing defoliation of entire plants. Voracious feeders that can lead to reduced growth, die back and in really severe cases death of stressed plants. Attack – poplar, apple and many other ornamentals

Gall Insects and Mites: small insects. Cause formation of galls – felty bumps of the leaf surface, petiole or stems. Rarely cause serious damage – more aesthetic. Attack – poplar, elm and other woody ornamentals

Leafhoppers: small, slender pale green, yellow or white insects that hop. Sap-sucking insects that cause bleaching or mottling of leaves. Sometimes the leaves turn brown and curl up at the edges. Plants may become stunted with a decline in plant vigour. Attack – Virginia Creeper, roses, annuals and perennials

Leaf Beetles: small brown or black and yellow insects. Found in clusters on the undersides of leaves; chew holes in leaves or skeletonize them. Attack – poplar, willow

Lilac Leaf Miner: small flattened yellowish caterpillar. Mine between the leaf layers causing yellow or brown blotches; then exit, roll up the leaf from the tip and continue to feed causing skeletonizing of the upper leaf surface. More of an aesthetic problem. Attack – lilac

Leaf Roller: green caterpillar with a brown head. Rolls itself up in the leaf to feed. Chews irregular holes in leaves, chews on buds, flowers and fruit. Attack – most woody ornamentals

Pear Slug: small, olive-green to blackish, slimy, slug-like worm. Feed on the upper and lower surfaces of the leaf. Leaves are chewed between the veins, leaving a lacy, translucent layer of tissue that turns brown. Attack – Pear, Rose and other plant in the rose family

Rose Gall Wasps: wasplike insects. Lay eggs in stems of roses causing large swellings or galls. Attack – Roses

Sawflies: resemble caterpillars but have at least six pairs of legs; usually green with dark head and black or black and yellow stripes. Feed on leaves either skeletonizing leaves or feeding in from the edges. Attack – most woody ornamentals

Spider Mites: tiny, rounded, eight-legged insects. Puncture foliage and suck plant sap; foliage becomes stippled yellow and looks dirty. A fine webbing may be present. Attacks – all ornamentals

Slugs: slimy black-brown speckled mollusks. Cause large irregular holes in leaves and gouging grooves in ripe and unripe fruit. Attack – most ornamentals and fruit

Thrips: tiny, slender, pale yellow, green or brown insects. Feed by rasping plant tissue then sucking the released plant sap. The injured tissue dies, producing dead spots, distorted blooms and leaves and balled flowers. Attack – most ornamentals

Wood Borers: white legless larvae mature into beetles or moths. Larvae bore into the sapwood of the tree. External symptoms – holes in bark through which insects expel sawdust-like excrement, young branches may wilt death of branches or the whole tree. Attack – willow, poplar, birch, elm, ash and many more

Western Ash Bark Beetle: small brown-black beetles; white legless grubs. Larvae chew tunnels in the cambium layer under the bark causing a disruption in nutrient flow; branches and trunks may be girdled and die. Attacks – Green Ash

Evergreen Pests

Aphids: pear-shaped, soft bodies insects. Suck sap while feeding on the branches and needles; causes a reduction in plant vigour; excrete sticky honeydew on which sooty / black molds grow. Attack – all evergreens

Pine Needle Scale: tiny white, flattened scaly insects. Suck sap from needles causing needles to develop a yellow mottling, turn brown then drop. Attack – spruce, pine, fir, hemlock and cedar

Sawflies: small light green caterpillars with a black head or yellowish caterpillars with yellow-orange head. Feed on needles – defoliating branches; causes stress which can make plants vulnerable to other pests and diseases. Attack – spruce, larch, cedar, pine

Spruce Budworm: yellow caterpillar with a dark brown head are covered with white spots. Feed on developing buds and needles; in severe cases all new growth will be consumed. Attack – Spruce, fir

Spider Mites: tiny, rounded, eight-legged insects. Puncture foliage and suck plant sap; foliage becomes stippled yellow and looks dirty. A fine webbing may be present. Attacks – all evergreens

Spruce Gall Adelgid: pear-shaped, white, wooly soft-bodied insects. Cause the formation of galls at the tips of the branches – feed on new growth. Galls emerge green, turn purple then eventually brown. Galls cause tip kill and may distort or yellow needles. Attack – Spruce, fir

White Pine Weevil: white, legless larvae with light brown heads; adult is a dark brown beetle with a prominent snout. Feed under the bark of new leaders eventually girdling the stem. The leader wilts – looks like a shepherds crook. Attacks – spruce, pine

Fruit Pests

Currant Fruit Flies: legless white larvae. Develop within the fruit which turns red and drops prematurely. Attack – currant, gooseberry, Saskatoon

Leaf Rollers: greenish-white caterpillars with a brown head. Feed on fruit, buds and leaves. Leaf in rolled together and fastened with silk, larvae live and feed within the rolled leaf. Attack – most fruit

Imported Currantworm: yellow and black sawflies. Feed on foliage – can completely defoliate shrubs in the spring. Attack – currant, gooseberry

Raspberry Fruitworm: tiny brown beetles. Feed on emerging foliage, damaging foliage, buds and blooms. Wormlike larvae tunnel into flower buds and developing fruit. May cause reduce yields. Attack – Raspberry

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