Methods for Identifying Garden Pests
There are several common garden pests that can be readily identified through various means. These pests are aphids, earwigs, slugs and snails, and caterpillars. There are other common creatures that cause issues in a garden but these are often the most prevalent. Identifying which of the common pests are assaulting a garden is simple. Each has a different method of operation.
Aphids are considered by many gardeners to be the ultimate scourge. They will suck the sap of a plant then excrete the excess from their meal as a sticky residue which causes mold on the plant. They also spread viral type disease among plants such as roses, tulips, and lilies. Aphids are usually identified by the sooty mold they leave behind. Their sticky resin is something fungal life forms love. If flowers start to die back and fungus is found, then you probably have aphids.
Earwigs are another common garden issue. They are rarely seen during the day as they are nocturnal creatures by habit. Earwigs are a double edged sword. They attack and eat flowers such as the dahlia or chrysanthemum. However, they also eat aphids. In point of fact, they will generally eat aphids as often as, if not more often than, they eat the plants. The only way to make certain earwigs are actually the cause of decimated and damaged plants is to go out at night with a flashlight and look for them. Earwigs shred leaves and flowers. The shredded appearance of a plant is the only other sign that earwigs are present.
Slugs and snails are an interesting and easy to spot type of creature that attack many types of plants. Most are easily spotted when above ground but some do live beneath the soil. They feed mostly at night or after a solid rain. If a plant exhibits irregular chewing patterns or has a slime trail (denoting a very recent slug or snail attack) then snails and slugs are probably at work.
Caterpillars are one of the most prevalent types of garden nemesis. These creatures are easy to spot as they are among the largest of the common garden pests. They eat day and night. They leave chewing patterns and have a tendency in some species toward sleeping in a silk-like webbing. If coiled leaves and webbing are found on a plant then most likely these pests are at work. There are a few subterranean species as well so all plants should be monitored for sickness as the caterpillars attack root systems.