Common Pests That May Attack Your Shrubs

There are many common pests that might attack your yard and garden whether it be flowers, shrubs, trees, or grass. Here is some helpful information that I hope will help you recognize and treat some of the pests that may attack primarily your shrubs. Pests can attack your plants and it doesn't matter if they are young plants or older established shrubs. It is always a good practice to try to keep your plants healthy. Always try to keep the area around them free of debris which could be housing insects or diseases. Also encourage natural predators such as birds that might help keep many infestations down.

Any common shrubs can become infected. If you see any infected areas on your plants, you should try to prune out any infected or insect-damaged branches. Don’t panic and drench your plants with a super toxic insecticide if you only see a few insects on one of your plants. If you just see a few, just get them off of the plant and get rid of them. If they come back and you can’t spray them off then your last resort is to use chemicals. Always read the label very carefully and follow directions. Here are a few of the most common pests.

Tent Caterpillars


Several varieties of this pest may attack your shrubs. Most commonly seen are the inchworm, or cankerworm, and the gypsy moth’s larvae. The eastern tent caterpillar can be a real problem especially in the spring when they hatch out and hungrily devour leaves. They have web type nests in the crotches of branches. If you see these, this will be your first signal that you may have caterpillars on their way.

In the early spring you should apply dormant oil spray to smother the eggs of caterpillars that deposit them on twigs or in the bark. In the caterpillar stage, these pests can be controlled with Malathion or diazinon applied to the foliage in the spring and again in the summer.

Mealy Bugs on Leaf

Mealy Bugs

Mealy bugs are tiny, ¼ inch scale insects, often found in small groups or colonies. They are oval and have a grayish-white appearance. Their presence is made obvious by their cottony egg masses. Malathion is very effective against these pests.

Red Spider Mites

Enlarged Red spider Mite

These very tiny member of the spider family are serious plant pests. They cause damage by sucking the plant’s juices, thereby stunting growth and discoloring leaves. Close inspection will show their fine webbing on the undersides of the leaves. Strong, frequent sprays of water will get rid of mites, but a heavy infestation probably will require a miticide such as dicofol or chlorobenzilate, used repeatedly.


Scales are almost invisible and they attach so closely as to appear to be part of the plant. They are very prolific. Adult males develop wings but the females settle in one place and suck the plant’s sap through a long, flexible beak. Shrubs attacked by these pests turn yellow, lose leaves and may die.

Standard control includes using a dormant oil spray or lime-sulphur in early spring. Malathion or diazinon may be used in late spring or summer. Prune all badly infected branches totally off.

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