Plant Insects

Plant Insects

Insects are a nuisance to gardeners everywhere. They cause damage, destroy crops, spread diseases, and even pose a threat to human health. The good news is that they don't come out at night or hide under rocks. Pest control is simple. To have healthy plants, all you need to do is get rid of them before they ruin your plants 

There are many pests in our gardens. Some of them are beneficial insects that eat harmful bugs. Others are destructive insects that cause damage to the plants. Some are both helpful and destructive. Good bugs like ladybugs, bees, dragonflies help keep the bad bugs at bay and play a role in plant health. Plant pathogenic pests like mealy bugs, aphids, root-feeding insects like grubs, leaf miners harm the plants and affect plant health. Many plant-mediated interactions between insects, either direct interactions or indirect interactions, play a crucial role in balancing the ecosystem.

As a way of natural selection, plants have developed certain plant defense responses like a waxy layer, thorns, trichomes, etc., Certain plants have defensive compounds, either primary metabolites or secondary metabolites, which are toxic to the insects as a response to insect attack. These plant defense responses have been developed through the process of evolution. 

Here are some common pests found in flowering gardens and their solutions.

The Good Bugs

The good bugs are those who eat bad bugs who harm the plants. They are usually solitary and found on any plant ready for the attack. Some of them help you in different ways like helping you in pollination or soil condition.


These are some of the most popular insect pest controllers. These little critters feed on aphids which are harmful to plants. Ladybugs are small with bright green bodies and black spots. They have long legs and antennae. You can find these insects on flowers, vegetables, fruits, and trees. They are natural enemies of aphids.

The Good Bugs


They are very important for the soil because they break down organic matter and add nutrients to the soil. They are also known to be great composting agents. Earthworms are often seen eating dead leaves, decaying wood, and other organic material.


Praying Mantis

This insect looks similar to a praying mantis but it has no wings. It eats aphids and other harmful insects.

A praying mantis is a large insect native to tropical regions of South America. They are known for their ability to eat other insects, spiders, and even other species of mantis. 

Praying Mantis


Bees are everywhere! They pollinate our food crops, they provide us with honey from floral nectar and wax, and they even help out in the fight against diseases. But did you know bees also contribute to climate change?

The bee population has declined significantly over the last decade. Scientists estimate that at least 30% of insect species are threatened with extinction. This means that insects play a crucial role in maintaining ecosystems.

Bees are essential for agriculture. If you want to save the bees, you should support organic farming practices. Also planting lots of flowers and attractive plants will help attract bees to your garden.


Dragon Flies

The dragonfly is a common insect found throughout North America. These beautiful insects are part of the order Odonata (meaning “dragon wing”). Their wings are long and narrow, and their bodies are covered with tiny scales.

You can attract dragonflies into your yard by planting native plants such as milkweed or sunflowers. If you want to keep them around longer, try adding some water features such as ponds or rain barrels.

Dragonflies are beneficial insects that help control pests such as aphids and mosquitos. They also pollinate flowers.

Dragon Flies


Cicadas are known for their loud chirping and annoying presence during summer. But did you know they also play a vital role in nature? They eat the roots of plants and provide nutrients to the soil.

The cicada is a large insect that has two distinct phases: nymph (caterpillar) and adult (locust). There are 17 species of cicadas found across North America.

Cicadas are often confused with locusts because both insects look similar. However, they are very different from each other. Locusts are grasshoppers and belong to the order Orthoptera, whereas cicadas are true bugs belonging to Hemiptera.

Cicada larvae feed on plant roots underground. They also help control aphids and other insects that damage plants.


The Bad Bugs

The bad bugs are the pests that harm the plants by eating them. They feed on the leaves, stems, flowers, fruits, roots, etc. Sometimes they may even suck the sap from the stem and cause plant damage. These insects are nocturnal and usually seen during the daytime. They can be found in a variety of habitats, including urban areas, parks, gardens, orchards, etc.


Aphids are small insects that feed on plants. They cause damage to crops such as tomato plants, peppers, cucumbers, melons, and eggplants. They are also found on indoor plants.

Aphids are tiny, wingless insects that live on or near plant leaves. They suck sap from plants using their mouthparts. This causes them to secrete honeydew, which attracts ants. The ants then carry aphid waste back to their nests where they eat the honeydew and lay eggs.



Termites are common pests found in the tropics and subtropics. They cause significant damage to buildings and wood structures. What are they?

Termites are social insects that live in colonies. These colonies build mounds (or hills) out of soil and plant material. The termite mound contains tunnels through which the colony travels from place to place.

Termites eat plants and other organic matter. They also feed on dead trees and wood. If left unchecked, termites can destroy wooden structures such as houses or bridges.



Mealybugs are tiny insects that feed on plant juices. They cause damage to the host plants by sucking out their nutrients. The problem is they also suck out moisture and essential amino acids from the soil, causing the leaves to wilt and have discolored leaves.

Mealybugs are common pests in homes and gardens. They feed on fruits, vegetables, flowers, and even indoor plants.

Leaf Minors

Leaf miners are herbivorous insects that feed off the leaves of plants. They are harmless to humans, but they cause significant damage to trees. What are some ways to prevent them from destroying our forests?

The leaf miner (Phyllonorycter) is a moth that feeds on the leaves of deciduous trees. These moths lay their eggs on the underside of the leaves. When the larvae hatch out, they eat through the leaves until they reach the stem. This causes the tree to wilt and die.

Leaf Minors


Caterpillar is the common name for the larval stage of the life cycle of some species of Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies). The caterpillar has a chrysalis or pupal stage before becoming a butterfly.

There are over 30,000 known species of caterpillar worldwide. Some caterpillars live only a few days, while others live for years. Caterpillars eat leaves, twigs, fruits, flowers, and even other insects. They also feed on phytopathogenic fungi and bacteria.

Caterpillars come in many shapes and sizes. Many caterpillars are green, yellow, brown, black, red, orange, or striped. Some caterpillars are hairy, while others are smooth. Some caterpillars have long antennae, while others have short ones.



Whiteflies are tiny insects that feed on plant sap and transmit viruses. They cause damage to plants by sucking out their juices. In addition, they also carry diseases such as tobacco mosaic virus (TMV), tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV), and cucumber mosaic virus (CMV). These diseases can severely affect crop plant species and reduce yields. They are usually found on the undersides of leaves. Heavily infested leaves should be detached. Detached leaves should be discarded away from the garden space.  


Spider Mites

Spider mites are tiny arachnids that live in our homes. They don’t bite or sting us, but they can cause serious damage to plants. 

There are over 2,500 species of spider mite worldwide, and each has its unique characteristics. The most common types found indoors include the citrus red mite, brown recluse, and peacock mite.

Spider mites are very tiny creatures that can infect plants and cause severe damage. If left untreated, they can even kill the plant itself. They thrive in warm, humid environments and feed off of organic matter such as leaves, flowers, and stems. They affect indoor plants as well.


Ants are fascinating creatures. They live in colonies and have a complex social structure. They even build their own homes out of the soil. Yet they don't seem to care much about each other. Why?

The ant colony has a queen who lays eggs. She then goes off to die. All the workers take over the job of caring for the young ants. This means that every worker cares for the next generation of ants. There is no division of labor — everyone does his or her part.

This is why ants are often called 'the ultimate team'. They work together to achieve a common goal.

Ants are bad for gardens. Ants will destroy plants by eating them or spreading diseases. They also carry many harmful insects with them when they move from place to place. They are also associated with mealy bugs.


FAQ on Plant Insects

How do you get rid of bugs on plants naturally?

Use natural insecticides. You can use these products on your plants without harming yourself or your family. You can have healthy plants using natural organic pesticides. Organic compounds or secondary metabolites like alkaloids from plants that have a natural pesticide effect are generally used. Here are some examples:

  • Neem oil
  • honey
  • soap
  • vinegar
  • peppermint plant oil extracts
  • Ginger, Garlic, Green chilies

How do I keep plants bug-free?

One way to prevent bugs from infesting your garden is to use organic methods. Organic gardening uses natural fertilizers such as compost, worm castings, and manure. This method also reduces chemical runoff into local waterways. There are several other benefits to using organic methods for growing plants.

Can I spray soapy water on my plants?

Yes, you can use soap to clean your plants. However, you should be careful when using soap because it can damage the leaves and roots of your plants. If you want to use soap, mix 1 part dish detergent with 4 parts water. Soap works best for cleaning dirt from pots and trays.

Is vinegar safe for plants?

Vinegar is made from fermented food. The alcohol evaporates during fermentation, leaving only acetic acid and water. Vinegar is used to prevent mold growth on fruits and vegetables, and also to cure meat and fish.

Is Epsom salt good for plants?

Epsom salt can help indoor plants. It helps plants absorb water better, which makes them grow faster. The best way to use Epsom salt is to sprinkle it around the base of each plant on the soil surface.

Is Coca-Cola good for plants?

Yes, Coca-Cola is can be used for plants! The carbonated beverage contains phosphoric acid which helps to increase plant growth.

Further Steps

Extra reading 


Happy Gardening!
Dr. Vandana K.