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Pests in the Garden

We all know that some of the bugs we find in our garden are pests and they damage our beloved crops that we work so hard to grow. It can be frustrating and disappointing to find evidence that some type of pest has been eating at your plants, or perhaps has already destroyed a crop.

The most important first step you can take to manage pests is to monitor your garden closely and regularly. Check plants for signs of pests at least twice a week throughout the growing season. Pay extra close attention to young plants that are just sprouting or were recently transplanted. Look at the undersides of leaves and at the inner stalks of plants and inspect for any holes in foliage. Many insects that feed on your crops are easiest to manage early on, when their populations are still minimal.

The second step to managing pests is to identify the culprit. Try to identify what bug might be damaging plants by collecting as much information as you can. Look for any bugs that are around the plants: either on them, in the ground nearby, or flying around. Pay close attention to their appearance: color, size, and any other defining characteristics.

Use this identification chart (3 MB PDF) with pictures and quick descriptions about each pest to help identify what pests might be feasting on your garden. Keep in mind that we only listed the most common pests in urban gardens in the Boston area. You might find other ones so feel free to call or email for further support. And remember, not all bugs are bad! One of the most natural defenses against pests in a garden are beneficial insects that eat the pests, so never kill bugs without knowing what they are!

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