Organic Gardening Insect Identification
Step 2

Insect Identification Starts with Identifying the Problem

See Also:
Insect Pest Finder
Leaf Damage
Root Damge
Step 1 Prevention
Step 2 Identification
Step 3 Assessment
Step 4 Tactic
Step 5 Control
Step 6 Re-assessment
Step 7 Follow-up

Insect pests feeding on vegetables in your organic garden are a fact of life gardeners. You have two choices; to tolerate the damage or attempt to prevent it. For many gardeners tolerating the damage is a reasonable approach. For example, when your tomatoes are ripening, many gardeners have an abundance of tomatoes than they can possibly use (if not canning). So, caterpillars chewing on a few fruits isn’t that big of a deal. Corn earworms usually limit their damage to the tips of corn ears. A practical way to deal with this is to remove the damaged tips before cooking the corn.  If you want to prevent it read on.

When you notice that something is wrong in your organic garden, all you have to work with is a symptom ...yellow leaves, chewed leaves, a dead plant. Often it is difficult to diagnose the cause of the symptom correctly. Plants and animals respond similarly to a variety of problems.

Garden Insects of North America: The Ultimate Guide to Backyard Bugs
The Ultimate Insect Guide! This is one of the most comprehensive and easy to read guide to the common insects and mites affecting garden plants in North America.



For example, plants can become chlorotic (yellowing of the leaves) from piercing-sucking insects, plant diseases, nutrient deficiencies, herbicides and air pollution.

It may take you awhile to become intuitive and knowledgeable about your garden and insect identification.

Its essential to get as much information about the damage as possible.

  1. What part of the plant has damage? Look at the leaves, stems and sometimes you may need to check the roots.

  2. What are the symptoms? Check the type of damage. Is it discoloring, is the plant being chewed on?

  3. Can you see the pest? If you can see the insect, half the battle is over.

Next Step - Step 3 - Once insect identification is made, Assess the Damage. Remember when assessing the insect pest damage, it's easy to overreact to the damage when you've spent a lot of time on your organic garden's care. Careful assessment of the damage is important.

Return back to Seven Steps to Successful Organic Pest Management


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