If you have ever undertaken planting and growing a vegetable garden, you have probably encountered some type of insect pest. These bugs, some that specialize in certain vegetable plants, can ruin your garden and make your hard work go for naught. Among these insect pests are a few that go after your tomatoes, some that devour your beans and another that will do in your squash if you are not alert.
Tomato hornworms are a type of caterpillar that can attain some impressive sizes, with some exceeding 3 inches in length. They take their name from the hornlike appendage on their rear portions. These pests will strip a tomato plant of its leaves but are large enough to discover with a keen eye and then remove by hand, if you have the inclination. Flea beetles are tiny black bugs that chew into the leaves of the plant as well as the tomato. They emerge in the springtime, as do greenhouse whiteflies. Whitefly larvae and nymphs attach themselves underneath the leaves of the tomato plant, where they stay out of sight as they chow down on the foliage, hurting the overall vigor of the plant.
Two types of beetles can make their presence known in the bean section of your garden--the Mexican bean beetle and the Japanese beetle. The Mexican variety is in much of the east in the U.S., imitating the much more highly regarded ladybug in appearance, with 16 black dots on its body. This pest will eat bean leaves as an adult or a growing larva until there are none left. The Japanese beetle has made a dramatic westward migration since coming to America. The grubs of this pest emerge after a long underground stay and eat many plants, with beans among their preferred vegetables. They are an attractive insect, with a metallic sheen of green on their body and brown-bronze wings. You can easily spot them, and if you topple them from your beans into a container of soapy water, you will get rid of a majority of them.
The squash bug will employ his mouth, which can penetrate even hardened winter squashes, to feed on the tissue of a plant or its fruit. This can eventually wilt the plant or open the fruit, such as pumpkins and zucchinis, to other problems like rot. The adults are accomplished fliers and will find their way to fields of squash as early as June. They will lay their eggs on the plants and become a nuisance for the entire growing season if not controlled. Squash bugs have a strong resistance to most kinds of pesticides, and the large spreading plants make it hard to cover while spraying. This makes it paramount to spray with certain effective agents, such as those that have pyrethroids, when the plants are still small.