Florida Garden Insects That May Be Eating Your Plants

What’s not to like about Florida? You can golf, swim, fish, and visit Walt Disney World year-round in the sunshine and warm climate—is it really any wonder that an increasing number of Americans are flocking to the Sunshine State in droves?

Those same tropical conditions that make it a haven for humans also make it an ideal setting for insects. Ask any Floridian trying to grow plants for landscaping or food, and they will tell you: some plants provide food for humans, but all plants provide food for insects. And with 1,139 different kinds of native Florida insects, it’s a sure bet that one of them has developed a taste for something in your garden.

Florida garden insects are split into two basic types: chewing insects and sucking insects. The chewing kind are the caterpillar, cutworm, leaf miner, grasshopper, and leafhopper, though most South Florida pests are sucking insects, including aphids, thrips, mealybugs, spider mites, and whiteflies.

Although there are a host of South Florida bugs that love to feast on your plants, we’ll take a closer look at one infamous insect from each category: the cutworm and the aphid. Since it has a well-deserved reputation among gardeners as a particularly annoying pest, let’s look at the cutworm first to find out why.:

Cutworms in Florida Damage and Destroy Plants in the Moonlight

Cutworms are Florida garden insects, around one to two inches long, that can be either green, brown, gray, or black. If you disturb them, they will curl up into a “C” shape, making them easily distinguishable. Their name comes from their practice of cutting or chewing through plants’ bases, especially young ones.

Cutworms in Florida soil can be destructive in your garden or flowerbed, and they do their damage at night or on cloudy days, staying hidden in the ground during the daylight hours. Cutworms are the larvae of night-flying moths, so if you notice moths around your property in the evening, there’s a good chance you’ll have cutworm eggs in your soil.

Other garden soil pests include wireworms, grubs, mole crickets, and cornstalk borers.

Those Tiny South Florida Bugs on Your Plants are Probably Aphids

Aphids are those tiny, pear-shaped insects that seem to show up in almost every garden. The most common aphids in Florida are green, yellow, or black and are typically under a 1/4″ long. These South Florida pests are nourished by sucking the nutrient-rich liquids out of plants, inhibiting the plant’s growth and causing the leaves to curl. If they attack a plant in large numbers, they will weaken it and damage the plant’s fruit or flowers. 

Aphids are prolific breeders, producing 50 to 100 offspring at a time, each of which can begin reproducing in six to eight days. That’s why it’s essential to control them before the breeding season, which peaks during the spring.

Control South Florida Pests Safely and Effectively

Misting systems are an excellent solution to the problem of destructive Florida garden insects. If you’re not familiar with the process, a misting system delivers fine droplets of an insecticide over an affected area. One of the finest products for these applications is the Mistmaster 3-in-1 Compact Misting System. The mist is dispensed via a wand, blower, or fixed station, and the fast and touchless application can treat as much as 110,000 square feet in about 20 minute without refilling or changing out the battery. The particle size of the mist allows it to move horizontally, covering all areas of the plants, including under the leaf where aphids live.

In addition to eliminating the pests devouring your plants, a misting system will nurture your plants, keeping your garden or yard looking its best. Coupled with one of our safe and effective concentrated treatments, the Mistmaster will make short work of any of these issues.

For example, using the Vector Ban Plus Concentrate with the Mistmaster will provide an immediate knockdown–the ingredients of this insecticide are commonly used in farming as a broad spectrum to kill aphids and cutworms that are munching on your plants. Because of the Mistmasters fine droplet sizes, it cuts reentry time making it safer for pets and children.

Another option with the Mistmaster is the Plant Health Bonide 991 Malathion, which is also effective at killing those sucking and chewing insects on your fresh fruits and vegetables.

 If you have questions, talk to the experts at Bask. We can guide you toward the treatment product that works best for your specific problem. Our goal is to provide you with healthy, insect-free plants.  

Please let us know how we can help you by filling out our convenient contact form or giving us a call at 1-888-814-2275.

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