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By John Burt, Horticulture, Harald Hoffmann, Biosecurity Communications, Darryl Hardie, Entomology and Hossein Golzar, Plant Pathology, South Perth
Main insect pests of vegetablesin home gardens
Various insects and mites can damage vegetables inhome gardens at all stages of growth. A description ofsome of the more important insect pests is given here,together with general methods for control. There areoccasions when a home gardener may notice a newpest, which is different to the pests they have seen inthe past. Exotic pests are a concern for the farmingcommunity, as they could threaten the agriculturaland horticultural industries and increase the price ofproduction and cost to the consumer. Please reportanything unusual to the Pest and Disease InformationService (see last page).When using pesticides, always follow the directions onthe label. Spraying in the evening is the most effective.The active ingredients of pesticides are shown in the textand there are often a number of commercial pesticidesthat are available with the same active ingredient.
Aphids are small (1 - 3 mm), soft-bodied insects thatvary in colour (green, grey, or black). Most commonlyseen in spring and autumn, aphids can be winged orwingless and are usually slow-moving. Aphids clusteron the tips of the shoots, sucking the sap from the plant,which reduces plant vigour. Aphids can also spreadviruses which can severely reduce yields and quality. A number of natural enemies such as lacewingsand ladybugs will give some biological control. Ifrequired, control with sprays such as dimethoate,imidacloprid, garlic extract or maldison. Soapywater and insecticidal soaps may also reducenumbers.
Caterpillars are usually the larval stages of moths orbutterflies. They are normally hairless, with a longcylindrical body (10 - 50 mm long) and range in colour.Caterpillars may attack leaves, stems, owers, fruitsand roots.Green caterpillars of the large cabbage white butteryand the small diamond-back (cabbage) moth canseverely damage the leaves of the Brassica family (suchas broccoli, cabbage and cauliowers).
Aphids Cabbage white buttery Cabbage white buttery grub
10 mm10 mm3 mm
March 2009Replaces Note: 126