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Dealing with Common Summer Pests: Identifying and Managing Pests That Appear in Mid-Summer

Summer is a time of vibrant blooms and lush greenery, but it also brings a host of garden pests eager to feast on your hard work. At Nunan’s Garden Center, we understand how frustrating it can be to see your garden fall victim to these invaders. Here’s a guide to identifying and managing common pests that tend to appear in mid-summer.

1. Aphids

Identification: Aphids are tiny, pear-shaped insects that cluster on the underside of leaves and stems. They can be green, black, brown, yellow, or even pink.

Damage: They suck the sap from plants, causing leaves to curl, yellow, and stunt growth. They also excrete a sticky substance called honeydew, which attracts ants and can lead to sooty mold.


  • Natural Predators: Encourage beneficial insects like ladybugs and lacewings.
  • Neem Oil: Apply neem oil to affected plants to disrupt the life cycle of aphids.
  • Water Spray: A strong jet of water can dislodge aphids from plants.

2. Japanese Beetles

Identification: These metallic green and copper beetles are easy to spot. They are often seen feeding in groups.

Damage: Japanese beetles skeletonize leaves, leaving only the veins, and can severely damage flowers and fruit.


  • Hand Picking: Remove beetles by hand and drop them into soapy water.
  • Row Covers: Use row covers to protect plants during peak beetle activity.
  • Neem Oil: Spray neem oil in the evening to target beetles.
  • Japanese Beetle Traps: This is a safe and effective way to attract and trap these pesky pests.

3. Spider Mites

Identification: Spider mites are tiny, spider-like pests that can be red, yellow, or green. Look for fine webbing on the undersides of leaves.

Damage: They suck plant juices, leading to stippled and yellowed leaves, and can cause significant stress to plants.


  • Water Spray: Regularly spray plants with water to reduce mite populations.
  • Insecticidal Soap: Apply insecticidal soap to infested plants.
  • Predatory Mites: Introduce predatory mites that feed on spider mites.

4. Squash Bugs

Identification: Squash bugs are brownish-black, shield-shaped insects that often hide under leaves.

Damage: They feed on squash, pumpkin, and other cucurbit plants, causing wilting and yellowing of leaves, which can lead to plant death.


  • Hand Picking: Remove bugs and eggs by hand.
  • Trap Crops: Plant trap crops to lure squash bugs away from your main plants.
  • Neem Oil: Use neem oil to disrupt their lifecycle.

5. Caterpillars

Identification: Caterpillars come in various shapes and colors, but all are larvae of moths and butterflies. Common types include the tomato hornworm and cabbage looper.

Damage: Caterpillars chew large holes in leaves, and some, like the tomato hornworm, can decimate plants overnight.


  • Hand Picking: Remove caterpillars by hand.
  • BT (Bacillus thuringiensis): Apply BT, a natural bacteria that targets caterpillars.
  • Beneficial Insects: Encourage parasitic wasps that lay eggs in caterpillars.

Prevention Tips

  • Healthy Plants: Keep your plants healthy and well-watered, as strong plants are more resistant to pests.
  • Companion Planting: Use companion planting to repel pests. For example, plant marigolds to deter aphids.
  • Regular Monitoring: Inspect your garden regularly to catch pest issues early.
  • Clean Garden: Remove plant debris and weeds that can harbor pests.


Managing garden pests can be challenging, but with the right strategies, you can protect your garden and enjoy a bountiful summer harvest. At Nunan’s Garden Center, we offer a range of organic and effective pest control products to help you keep your garden thriving. Visit us for expert advice and all your gardening needs.

Happy gardening!

Nunan’s Garden Center Team

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269 Central Street
Georgetown, MA 01833

Garden Center, Nursery,
Florist Shop, and Greenhouse

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8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
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