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How to recognize plant pests: Symptoms and factors to note in recognizing pest-induced plant diseases.
Having a beautiful and well-kept garden is not easy; nor to take care of the plants at home. Often our plants are affected by parasites that can compromise their health.
How to recognize plant pests
Plant parasites are dangerous and knowing how to recognize them is essential to be able to act. Not all parasites are the same, and not all of them act alike. However, the plant is able to send out alarm signals to recognize pests.
Symptoms of a parasitic attack
First of all, you have to look at the leaves: if they are covered with a white (badly white), brown (rust) or blackish powder, something is wrong. Same thing if you notice that the plant is weakening, losing its splendor and then even seeing the leaves fall.
But what are the most common pests and what are the damage they cause to plants? Our list opens with:
Aphids, insects known as plant lice that infest almost all ornamental plants, both indoors and outdoors. They feed on the sap of plants and produce a particular saliva that causes physiological alterations.
Cochineal, which are very small insects which attack plants and which develop particularly in hot and dry conditions. Responsible for slowing down the development of the plant, the cochineal creates damage to the structure up to cause, in extreme cases, even death. The greatest damage is caused by the females who pierce the tissues of the plants with their stilettos, feeding on the vegetable juices. This causes spots, discolorations, and deformations of the plant;
Whitefly, plants affected by whitefly tend to show yellow and dark spots. When the fly hits a plant, it consequently tends to produce honeydew, a whitish gelatinous substance, which is deposited on the leaves: this substance attracts many other insects as well as fungi that can further attack the plant, which accelerates its deterioration process ;
Bedbugs, these parasites cause various damages, not only to the leaves but also to the fruits.
They infest and attack herbaceous plants, shrubs and trees and are among the major enemies of the stone, causing such an alteration of the shape and flavor of the fruit that it even prevents its commercialization.
Mites, these are not insects, but arachnids, close cousins of spiders. With their mouthparts they prick and empty the tissue cells of their contents to suck their own nourishment, causing the appearance of spots, discolorations and bronzings on over a hundred garden plants
Flies, there are different types and attack different plants. In particular, there is the onion fly, which causes a yellowing of the foliar apparatus, a slow rotting of the bulbs and a progressive deterioration of the plant.
The asparagus fly digs deep tunnels starting from the top and arriving at the base of the shoot.
The tunnels caused by the larvae prevent the normal supply of nutrients to the slowly decaying plant.
The carrot fly is responsible for a bad taste and an unhealthy smell of the carrot itself, destined to rot if hit by the fly.
Some insects, harmless in adult form, can damage the garden at certain stages of their life cycle.
The same beloved butterflies in caterpillar form can feed on plant matter and make holes in our salad leaves. To discover the larvae that feed on flowers, roots, leaves and vegetables, I refer you to the article: larvae harmful to the vegetable garden.
Other plant diseases: fungi and viruses
On this page we talked about parasitic insects. Here we point out two very harmful plant diseases in agriculture. Let's talk about themosaic virusand ofdowny mildew.