Common Garden Pests and How to Identify and Deter Them

Posted by Mosquito Squad
Common Garden Pests and How to Identify and Deter Them

June 25, 2024

Author: Emma Grace Crumbley, Entomologist

Gardeners beware! These tiny garden pests pack a big punch on your plants. If you see small bugs on your foliage, you might be dealing with aphids, mites, or thrips. Luckily, Mosquito Squad is here to help!


Every plant parent knows the annoyance aphids bring to the garden. These tiny, soft-bodied insects are true bugs (Hemiptera) that feed on the saps and juices in plants. Aphid damage can cause discoloration, leaf curling, and stunted growth in saplings.

  • Size: 2mm-4mm (1/16in – 1/8in)
  • Color: Transparent, Light Green, or Dark Brown
  • Description: Pear-shaped bodies with long legs and long antennae
  • Behavior: Often found in groups covering large patches of plants
  • Diet: Polyphagous, target a variety of flowering plants, ivies, crops, and herbs


These pests MITE be the reason your plants look spotty. Mites are small arachnids that pierce plants to feed on the juices inside. The occasional mite is nothing to worry about, but unchecked infestations can cause plants to turn yellow or brown, leaf stippling to occur, and even death. 

  • Size: 0.5mm – 2mm (1/50in – 1/16in)
  • Color: Varies by species. Common colors include bright red, rust orange, and yellow/brown spotted
  • Description: Oval bodies with eight legs
  • Behavior: Often found spread across plants or in clusters near webs
  • Diet: Prefer targeting fruiting plants and crops, such as berries, beans, and leafy greens


Small, slender, and sneaky, thrips are a common garden pest of flowering plants. These pests target soft parts of the plant, such as buds, new growth, leaves, and flowers, as well as fungal growth and pollen. While some thrips are beneficial insects, many can distress your flowering plants.

  • Size: 0.5mm – 15mm (1/50in – 3/5in)
  • Color: Tan and banded or dark bodies
  • Description: Slender insects with fringed wings
  • Behavior: Found along plants but not in clusters, attracted to pollen sources
  • Diet: House plants and ornamental garden plants, orchids are especially susceptible to damage


You can manage these pests by washing them off your plants. A mixture of water and castile soap should do the trick, but check your plant's sensitivity before applying any household products. Promoting beneficial insects, like ladybugs and lacewings, that eat garden pests will also help keep garden pests at bay.

We’re Here To Help!

Take the guesswork out of pest work and call Mosquito Squad! Our highly trained technicians are equipped to identify and solve your garden pest problems. Call today for a free quote! Services vary by location.