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Most insects are beneficial and critical to a functioning ecosystem. There is a small percentage of insects (about 2% of all known species) that are considered pests by gardeners. They can damage plants and cause frustration. Let’s take a look at some.
Armyworms get their name because they occur in vast numbers and damage large swaths of grass and plants and they advance.
These woolly caterpillars feed on a wide variety of flowers and plants in spring and summer.
The puss caterpillar, or asp (Megalopyge opercularis), seems harmless enough as it feeds on plants and shrubs. However, under that soft layer of hairs are three rows of spines that deliver a very painful sting if touched.
These bright-yellow insects not only suck sap from oleanders, but also milkweeds. They are a favorite food of ladybugs and lacewing larvae. Photo: Bart Drees.
These large insects are commonly called stink bugs because they emit a foul-smelling liquid when disturbed. Leaf-footed bugs feed on the sap from fruits, vegetables, and shrubs.
Lantana Lace Bug
These sap-sucking insects cause damage to lantanas and reduce their bloom cycle. Lace bugs suck the sap from the leaves, causing them to become speckled and inefficient food generators. Photo: Bart Drees.
June Beetle Grubs (White Grubs)
White grubs are the bane of homeowners who value a lush lawn. These grubs munch on the roots of St. Augustine and Bermuda grasses during the late summer and early spring, causing thin and bare patches to occur in the lawn. White grubs are the offspring of June Beetles. Photo: Bart Drees.
These colorful stink bugs are a bane to anyone with a spring or summer garden in south Texas. They damage fruits, vegetables and cole crops by sucking sap. Photo: Bart Drees.
Springtime in south Texas brings the wonderful fragrance of Mountain Laurel blossoms through the air. The Genista caterpillar feeds on the new leaves produced by the mountain laurels in spring. Photo: Bart Drees.
Field crickets feed on plant roots and cause massive nuisance in late summer as they gather by the thousands around brightly lit areas at night. Photo: Bart Drees.
Anyone with pecan trees or mulberry trees in south Texas expects webs to form on them during the early summer period. Fall webworm moths lay their eggs and the caterpillars hatch and live together inside of a protective tent until the fall. Photo: Bart Drees.
These common grasshoppers begin appearing in late spring and early summer. They can be very damaging to herbs and shrubs. Photo: Bart Drees.
Cinch bugs feed on the sap of St. Augustine grass and Bermuda Grass, causing extensive damage, especially to grasses stressed by extreme heat or drought. Photo: Bart Drees.