The Dirt

Chapter 14: Pests of Food and Ornamental Gardens

Chapter 14: Pests of Food and Ornamental Gardens


Flint, M.L. 1990. Pests of the Garden and Small Farm: A Grower’s Guide to Using Less Pesticide. Richmond, CA.: University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Communication Services. 276 pp. This beautifully illustrated publication summarizes IPM approaches to more than a hundred pest insects, weeds, and plant diseases found in the United States and Canada.

Bradley, F.M., B.W. Ellis, and E. Phillips. 2009. Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening, rev. ed. New York, NY.: Rodale Press. 708 pp. 

Dreistadt, S.H., M.L. Flint, and J.K. Clark. 2004. Pests of Landscape Trees and Shrubs, Second Edition. Richmond, CA.: University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Communication Services (Publication 3359). 502 pp.


Blackman, R. 1974. Aphids. London: Ginn and Co. 175 pp. A good introduction to aphid biology, ecology, behavior, and methods of investigation, with illustrations (some in color) of common species and natural enemies.  

Blackman, R.L., and V.F. Eastop. 1984. Aphids On the World’s Crops: An Identification Guide. New York: John Wiley. 466 pp. This monumental work makes the identification of aphid pests of agriculture accessible to the pest manager for the first time. It contains illustrated keys to the more than 250 species of aphids that occur on commercially important crops, including some ornamentals. There are two alphabetized identification lists, the first by crop plant, the second by aphid species.

van den Bosch, R., P.S. Messinger, and A.P. Gutierrez. 1982. An Introduction to Biological Control. New York: Plenum. 247 pp. This is the best introductory work on the subject. It covers the history, basic concepts, and examples of pest control by natural enemies. The first-listed author of this book taught us and provided support for our work at a time when the university community was generally very hostile to our efforts. He was an expert in classical biological control; that is, the importation of natural enemies to control invaded aphids and other pests.

Cucumber Beetles

Branson, T.F., et al. 1983. Resistance to larvae of Diabrotica virgifera virgifera in three experimental maize hybrids. Environmental Entomology 12(5): 1509-1512. Three experimental maize hybrids showed resistance to larvae of the western corn rootworm. This is the first report of resistance to larvae of corn rootworms. 

Fielding, D.J., and W.G. Rusink. 1985. Varying amounts of bait influences numbers of western and northern corn rootworms (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) caught in cucurbitacin traps. Journal of Economic Entomology 78(5):1138-1144. This study reveals that increasing levels of powdered squash bait caught higher numbers of western and northern corn rootworms in cucurbitacin traps. Details on trap use and construction are provided. 

Fisher, J.R., et al. 1984. Use of common squash cultivars, Cucurbita spp., for mass collection of corn rootworm beetles, Diabrotica spp. (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 57(3):409-412.

Of nine cultivars of four Cucurbita species, the blossoms of the winter squash (C. maxima ‘Blue Hubbard’) attracted the most rootworm adults. More females then males were collected from all cultivars. 

Jackson, J. 1986. Personal communication. Agricultural Research Service, North Central Region, Northern Grain Insects Research Laboratory, Brookings, South Dakota. The information about the use of Steinernema carpocapsae was kindly provided by Dr. Jackson. 

Krysan, J.L., and T.F. Branson. 1983. “Biology, ecology, and distribution of Diabrotica” in Professional International Maize Virus Disease Colloquium and Workshop, Wooster, Ohio, August 26, 1982, eds. D.T. Gordon, et al. pp. 144-150. (Available from: Ohio State University, Agricultural Research and Development Center, Wooster, OH 44691.) A short review article summarizing the distribution, life cycles, host plant relationships, and dispersal mechanisms of the diabroticites. Seven Diabrotica species in North America and 333 species worldwide are identified. The numbers and biology of the different groups are described.  

Krysan, J.L., and T.A. Miller, eds. 1986. Methods for the Study of pest Diabrotica. New York: Springer-Verlag. 260 pp. This book is largely concerned with research methods. The preface by R.L. Metcalf provides economic estimates of the costs of beetle control and damage to corn, including the billion-dollar figure cited in this chapter. The introductory chapter reviews the biology, distribution, and identification of pest Diabrotica, and includes maps of the distribution of major pest species. The adult beetle collection technique described in this chapter (p. 311) came from Chapter 8, and the description of cucurbitacin baits (p.313) came from Chapter 4. 

Krysan, J.L., et al. 1982. “Corn rootworm biology” in Eighth Annual Illinois Crop Protection Workshop, March 9-11, 1982, pp. 59-64. (Available from: Cooperative Extension Service, University of Illinois, Champaign/Urbana, IL 61820.) This important review of the biology of the northern and western corn rootworm (then called D. longicornis barberi) also describes the early history of rootworm management. Early cultural practices were successful in controlling corn rootworms through crop rotation. The change in the status of the northern corn rootworm from non-pest to pest in the 1860s was associated with planting corn without rotation. Rotations at that time were long, with corn planted in only one of four years. More recent history is also reviewed.

Krysan, J.L., et al. 1984. Field termination of egg diapause in Diabrotica with new evidence of extended diapause in D. barberi (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). Environmental Entomology 13(5):1237-1240. This article reports that a small percentage of northern corn rootworm eggs (less than 7%) hatched without exposure to field conditions in the laboratory. Some eggs, about 40%, showed an extended diapause that required two chill periods.  

Ladd, T.L. 1984. Eugenol-related attractants for the northern corn rootworm (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). Journal of Economic Entomology 77(2): 339-341. Two eugenol-related substances, 2-methoxy-4-propylphenol and isoeugenol, were comparable with eugenol in their ability to attract northern corn rootworm adults.

Ladd, T.L., et al. 1983. Eugenol, a new attractant for the northern corn rootworm (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). Journal of Economic Entomology 76(5):109-1051. This was the first paper showing that eugenol was attractive to the northern corn rootworm and not the western corn rootworm. 

Ladd, T.L., et al. 1984. Influence of color and height of eugenol-baited sticky traps on attractiveness to northern corn rootworm beetles (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). Journal of Economic Entomology 77(3):652-654. Eugenol-baited sticky traps positioned outside cornfields were most attractive when painted yellow and placed 0 in. to 10 in. (25 cm) above the ground.

Ladd, T.L., et al. 1985. Corn rootworms (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae): responses to eugenol and 8 R-methyl-2R-decyl propanoate. Journal of Economic Entomology 78(4):844-847. Sticky traps baited with eugenol captured as many northern corn rootworm beetles as traps baited with eugenol and the sex pheromone 8 R-methyl-2R-decyl propanoate (MDP). Eugenol traps captured significantly more females than did traps baited only with the pheromone.

Leung, A.Y. 1980. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used In Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics. New York: John Wiley. 409 pp. This encyclopedia includes an extensive listing of plant sources for eugenol.

Lew, A.C., and G.R. Sutter. 1985. Toxicity of insecticides to northern corn rootworm (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) larvae. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 58(3):547-549.

Olkowski, W. 1986. Integrated pest management for corn rootworms and cucumber beetles. The IPM Practitioner 8(11/12):1-8. A short but in-depth review of research written for farmers and pest control advisors.


Bushing, M.K., and F.T. Turpin. 1976. Oviposition preferences of black cutworm moths among various crop plants, weeds, and plant debris. Journal of Economic Entomology 69(5): 587-590. Of 14 crop and weed species and crop debris tested for oviposition preference, curly dock, and yellow rocket mustard were found to be the most attractive; corn and soybeans were among the least attractive.

Bushing, M.K., and F.T. Turpin. 1977. Survival and development of black cutworm (Agrotis ipsilon) larvae on various species of crop plants and weeds. Environmental Entomology 6(1): 63-65. Nineteen of 23 Indiana cornfields with cutworm damage showed moderate to heavy weed growth prior to planting. Of 16 possible food sources offered to larvae, survival was highest on bluegrass, curly dock, and wheat, whereas no larvae survived on giant foxtail or debris.

Flint, M.L., et al. 1985. Integrated Pest Management for Cole Crops and Lettuce. Berkeley: University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Publication 3307). 112 pp. This volume, like others in the series, contains summaries of work done by many investigators, as well as excellent color photographs by Jack Clark. It includes some useful information on cutworm biology and conditions in California cole and lettuce crops. Unfortunately, specific techniques and concepts are not traceable to source documents due to a lack of adequate citations.

Foster, M.A., and W.G. Ruesink. 1984. Influence of flowering weeds associated with reduced tillage in corn on a black cutworm (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) parasitoid, Meteorus rubens (Nees von Esenbeck). Environmental Entomology 13:664-668. Laboratory studies showed that when the major black cutworm parasitoid Meteorus rubens was provided with any of five flowering weed species it lived longer, attacked more hosts, and produced more offspring than those not offered a food source.

Metcalf, C.L., and W.P. Flint. 1928. Destructive and Useful Insects, Their Habits and Control. New York: McGraw-Hill. 918 pp. This classic work contains much useful information about cutworms, including baiting techniques.

Metcalf, R.L., and R.A. Metcalf. 1992. Destructive and Useful Insects, Their Habits and Control, Fifth Edition. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill. 1200 pp. The original is still available and it appears the 5th edition is written by C.L.’s children and has IPM Methods and Tactics.

Redmond, J. 1982. Cutworm integrated pest management: an introduction. IPM Practitioner 4(7):5-8. This short review article describes cutworm biology, monitoring systems, economic thresholds, weed management, and biological control research up to 1982. We used it extensively in preparing the information on cutworms in the original chapter.

Wilson, M.C., et al. 1980. Practical Insect Pest Management, Vol. 2, Insects of Livestock and Agronomic Crops, 2nd ed. Boulder, Colo.: Waveland Press. 198 pp. This book contains a short section on the black cutworm (Agrotis ipsilon).

Yepsen, R.B., Jr., ed. 1984. Encyclopedia of Natural Insect and Disease Control. Emmaus, Pa.: Rodale. 490 pp. Yepsen recommends using molasses in baits and as a sticky trap. He says that mixing equal parts of sawdust and wheat bran with enough molasses and water to make the mixture sticky will operate as a trap in which the cutworms will die after getting stuck.


Carroll, D.P., and S.C. Hoyt. 1984. Augmentation of European earwigs (Dermaptera: Forficulidae) for biological control of apple aphid (Homoptera: Aphididae) in an apple orchard. Journal of Economic Entomology 77:738-740. This article describes methods for augmenting earwig numbers in order to increase predation on apple aphids.

Clausen, C.P., ed. 1978. Introduced Parasites and Predators of Arthropod Pests and Weeds: A World Review. Washington, D.C.: USDA (Handbook 480). 545 pp. Includes information on parasitoid importations for control of earwigs.

Ebeling, W. 1975. Urban Entomology. Berkeley: University of California Division of Agricultural Science. 695 pp. Includes basic information on earwig biology and control.

Fulton, B.B. 1924. Some habits of earwigs. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 17:357-367. A paper describing earwig behavior and other information at the time these insects were first found in North America.


Golan, J. 1985. Personal communication. Jack Golan of the Marin County Department of Parks and Recreation in San Rafael, California, provided information on the lawn mower carbon monoxide fumigation technique described on p. 323. 

Logsdon, G. 1983. Wildlife in Your Garden, or Dealing with Deer, Rabbits, Raccoons, Moles, Crows, Sparrows, and Other of Nature’s Creatures. Emmaus, Pa.: Rodale. 268 pp. This book is for the suburban or rural home owner who wants to attract and understand wildlife around the house and yard. It also contains a discussion of tactics for excluding wildlife when it is pestiferous.

Olkowski, W., and H. Olkowski. 1980. Managing the Transition to an Integrated Pest Management Program on Department of Water Resources Levees, Final Report, July 1, 1979 to June 30, 1980. 289 pp. (Available from: BIRC, P.O. Box 7414, Berkeley, CA 94707.) This report includes a 25-page review of the literature on gopher biology and management and a proposed IPM program for gopher management on levees maintained by the California State Department of Water Resources.

Salmon, T., and R. Lickliter. 2006. Wildlife Pest Control Around Gardens and Homes. Berkeley, CA.: University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Second Edition (Publication 21385). 122 pp. (Available from: ANR Communication Services, 1301 S. 46th Street, Building 478-MC 3580, Richmond, CA 94804.) Some of the methods described in this chapter were based on information from this excellent cooperative extension booklet.

Timm, R.M., S.E. Hygnstrom, and G.E. Larson. Editors 1994. Prevention and Control of Wildlife Damage. Lincoln, NE.: University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 2 vols. This is the most comprehensive source of information currently available on managing wildlife pest problems. It is no longer in print. You can, however, download all sections of the book at the University of Nebraska Lincoln website.: or

Root Maggots

Brooks, A.R. 1951. Identification of the root maggots (Diptera: Anthomyiidae) attacking cruciferous garden crops in Canada, with notes on biology and control. Canadian Entomology 83(5):109-120. Based on a field survey carried out in Canada during 1946 and 1947 and subsequent studies of collections, Brooks identified 30 species of Diptera associated with crucifer roots. A key to these species is provided. 

Clausen, C.P., et al. 1977. Introduced Parasites and Predators of Arthropod Pests and Weeds: a World Review. Washington, D.C.: USDA (Handbook 480). 551 pp. The review of root maggots indicates that Aleochara bilineata and the cynipid Trybliographa (Cothonaspis) rapae were already present in Canada when a relatively large importation program was conducted with the same parasitoids from Europe. Includes a short biological summary.

Colhoun, E.H. 1953. Notes on the stages and the biology of Baryodma ontarionis Casey (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae), a parasite of the cabbage maggot, Hylemya brassicae Bouche (Diptera: Anthomyiidae). Can. Entomol. 85(1):1-8. B. ontarionis, now believed to be Aleochara bilineata, is pictured in the egg and adult stage. Rearing methods and biological details are described. 

Finlayson, D.G., et al. 1980. Interactions of insecticides, a carabid predator, a staphylinid parasite, and cabbage maggots in cauliflower. Environmental Entomology 9(6):789-794. Untreated cauliflower plants averaged 31%, 43% and 62% parasitism by Aleochara bilineata over the three-year period between 1976 and 1978. The article cites another paper where it was estimated that two carabid species destroyed more than 90% of the first-generation cabbage maggot eggs.

Flint, M.L., et al., 1992. Integrated Pest Management for Cole Crops and Lettuce, rev. ed.Berkeley: University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Publication 3307). 112 pp. The sampling system and injury levels described in this chapter and the idea for using purple sticky traps came from this source. 

Moore, I., and E.F. Legner. 1971. Host records of parasitic staphylinids of the genus Aleochara in America (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 64:1184-1185. Lists host records for eight of the 87 Aleochara species known to be from North America at that time. The Hylemya species listed as hosts of both A. bilineata and A. bipustulata are brassicae, platura, and floralis. H. planipalpus is also listed as a host of A. bilineata.

Swan, L.A., and C.S. Papp. 1972. The Common Insects of North America. New York: Harper and Row. 750 pp. An excellent general source book with short descriptions, line drawings, and brief notes about most agricultural pests and other common insect species. 

Whistlecraft, J.W. 1985. Mass-rearing technique for Aleochara bilineata (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae). Journal of Economic Entomology 78(4):995-997. Describes a mass-rearing system capable of producing 10,000 adults per week with five hours of labor. Further details on rearing Delia species are available in The Handbook of Insect Rearing, Vol. II, P. Singh and R.F. Moore, eds. New York: Elsevier. 1985. 514 pp. 

Yepsen, R.B., Jr., ed. 1984. The Encyclopedia of Natural Insect and Disease Control. Emmaus, Pa.: Rodale. 490 pp. The use of diatomaceous earth or ashes around the base of plants is recommended here, but no information is provided on its efficacy.

Rose Diseases

Evans, E., J. Marshall, B.J. Couzens, and R.L. Runham. 1970. The curative activity of non-ionic surface active agents against some powdery mildew diseases. Annals of Applied Biology 65:473-480. A research paper indicating the curative effect of soaps and detergents on powdery mildew.

Forsberg, J.L. 1975. Diseases of Ornamental Plants. Urbana-Champaign: University of Illinois College of Agriculture (Special Publication 3). 220 pp. This publication includes concise descriptions of the biology of common disease pathogens such as rose powdery mildew. 

Hartmann, H. 1984. Biological control of powdery mildew and grey mold on greenhouse cucumbers and tomatoes. Ornamentals Northwest Newsletter 8(3):12. A one-page article with suggestions for the biological control of powdery mildew and botrytis mold. 

Horst, R.K. 1983. Compendium of Rose Diseases. St. Paul, Minn.: American Phytopathological Society. 50 pp. A scholarly text on the biology and ecology of rose diseases. 

Kirby, A.H.M., and E.L. Frick. 1962. Greenhouse evaluation of chemicals for control of powdery mildews: Experiments with surface-active agents. Annals of Applied Biology 52:45-54. This paper indicates that the interest in using soaps against mildews goes back many years. 

Pears, P. 1985. Members’ experiments for 1985. Experiment 1, 1985: bicarb. beats mildew. Newsletter 99:13. (Available from: Henry Doubleday Research Association, Ryton- on-Dunsmore, Coventry, CV8 3LG England.) Anecdotal report of an experiment using baking soda to thwart mildew. 

Perera, R.G., and B.E.J. Wheeler. 1975. Effect of water droplets on the development of Sphaerotheca pannosa on rose leaves. Transcriptions of the British Mycological Society 64(2):313-319. This paper discusses how water sprays can be used to drown spores of powdery mildew on rose plants.  

Sztejnberg, A. 1979. Biological control of powdery mildews by Ampelomyces quisqualis. Phytopathology 69(9):10-47. This study demonstrates the potential for using beneficial fungi to control powdery mildew. 

Wheeler, B.E.J. 1973. Research on rose powdery mildew at Imperial College. Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society 98:225-230. This paper contains excellent advice on cultural methods for preventing or controlling powdery mildew.

Yarwood, C.E. 1939. Control of powdery mildew with a water spray. Phytopathology 29:288-290. This wonderful paper documents Yarwood’s personal experience using water sprays to prevent powdery mildew outbreaks on roses.

Ziv, O., and H. Hagiladi. 1984. Control of powdery mildew on hydrangea and crape myrtle with antitranspirants. HortScience 19(5):708-709. This paper documents the effectiveness of antitranspirants in preventing powdery mildew outbreaks. This technique has been used successfully on the lilacs at Longwood. 

Snails and Slugs

Cole, H.N. 1984. Settling the score with snails Helix aspersa, Rumina decollata. Organic Gardening 31(3):86-90. Includes suggestions for using barriers and other nontoxic control techniques.  

Fisher, T.W., I. Moore, E.F. Legne, and R.E. Orth. 1976. Ocypus olens: a predator of the brown garden snail (Helix aspersa), biological control. California Agriculture 30(3):20-21. Describes the origin and effectiveness of this rove beetle against the garden snail.  

Fisher, T.W., and R.E. Orth. 1975. Differential susceptibility of the brown garden snail, Helix aspersa, to metaldehyde. California Agriculture 29(6):7-8. This paper reports that there are indications of snail resistance to metaldehyde.

Fisher, T.W., and S.C. Swanson. 1980. Snail (Rumina decollata) against snail (Helix aspersa), biological control. California Agriculture 34(11/12): 18-20. Describes the effective control of the brown garden snail by the predatory snail.  

Fisher, T.W., and S.C. Swanson. 1982. Snail Against Snail: Rumina Decollata Against the Vegetable Garden Pest Helix Aspera, Biological Control in California. Van Nuys, Calif.: Sunkist Growers. 2 pp. Further evaluations of the use of the predatory snail in citrus groves in California.

Godan, D. 1983. Pest Slugs and Snails. New York: Springer-Verlag. 445 pp. An authoritative volume on the biology and control of pest gastropods.  

Orth, R.E., I. Moore, and T.W. Fisher. 1975. A rove beetle, Ocypus olens, with potential for biological control of the brown garden snail, Helix aspersa, in California, including a key to the Nearctic species of Ocypus. Canadian Entomology 107(10):1111-1116. This publication contains information that is useful for identifying the different rove beetles.

Orth, R.E., I. Moore, and T.W. Fisher. 1975. Biological notes on Ocypus olens, a predator of the brown garden snail Helix aspersa, with descriptions of the larva and pupa (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae) citrus pest. Psyche 82(3/4):292-298. A discussion of the biology of Ocypus olens, an introduced predator.  

Picart, F. 1978. Escargots from Your Garden to Your Table: How to Control, Raise, and Process Common Garden Snails. Santa Rosa, Calif.: F. Picart. (Available from: F. Picart, c/o Snails, 1550 Ridley Ave., Santa Rosa, CA 95401.) This short book has numerous recipes and drawings as well as good information about snail management and rearing.


Edwards, C.A. 1958. Ecology of symphyla, Pt. I: populations. Entomologia Experimental and Applied 1:308-319. This article suggests that symphylans are found in grasslands, forest litter, cultivated soils, and greenhouse soils. Up to 88 million per acre were found, with the greatest number seen in greenhouse soil. 

Edwards, C.A. 1959. A revision of the British symphyla. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, 132: 403-439. This taxonomic revision summarizes previous biological information on the order Symphyla and its two families. Keys and illustrations are included. 

Edwards, C.A. 1959. Ecology of symphyla, Pt. II: seasonal soil migrations. Entomologia Experimental and Applied 2:257-267. This article details results from greenhouse and field sites on vertical movement within the soil of two symphylans. One, Scutigerella immaculata, is an economic pest, the other, S. vulgaris, is believed to subsist on decaying matter and soil microorganisms. Even under adverse soil conditions, growing plants attracted S. immaculata to the surface. 

Edwards, C.A. 1961. Ecology of symphyla, Pt. III: factors controlling soil distribution. Entomologia Experimental and Applied 4:239-256. As well as summarizing previous work, this paper shows that symphylans migrate in response to soil moisture and cannot survive when the relative humidity is less than 100%. The most favorable conditions are soil temperatures in the range of 59°F to 70°F (15°C to 21°C) and a relative humidity in the soil of 100%, with growing plants at the soil surface.

Harpenden Laboratory. 1981. Symphylids. Northumberland, England: Ministry of Agriculture, MAFF Harpenden Laboratory Entomology Department (Leaflet 484). 6 pp. This bulletin contains hard-to-find information on cultural management of symphylans.

Michelbacher, G.E. 1938. The Biology of the Garden Centipede Scutigerella Immaculata. Newport. Hilgardia. 11:55-148. An extensive work on the biology, ecology, and control of S. immaculata under California conditions.

Rude, P.A. 1982. Integrated Pest Management for Tomatoes. Berkeley: University of California Agricultural Sciences Publications (Publication 3274). 104 pp. This booklet is the source of the recommendation to rotate symphylan-susceptible tomatoes with a crop of sorghum to reduce symphylan numbers. 

Swenson, K.G. 1966. Infection of the garden symphylan, Scutigerella immaculata, with the DD-136 nematode. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 8:133. This study reports that Steinernema feltia (=Neoaplectana) carpocapsae DD-136 is capable of infesting the garden symphylan (Scutigerella immaculata) in the laboratory.


Mound, L.A., and S.H. Halsey. 1978. Whiteflies of the World: A Systematic Catalogue of the Aleyrodidae (Homoptera) with Host Plant and Natural Enemy Data. New York: John Wiley. 340pp. This book lists the 1,156 Aleyrodid species in the world, and describes their taxonomy, geographical distribution, host plants, and natural enemies. The introduction has a short overview of whitefly biology.

Chapter 14 Webography

Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management.

A website consortium of Cornell University, Clemson University, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Utah State University.

University of California IPM Online.

UC-IPM has many free publications on agricultural and home and garden pests in their PestNotes, but be wary of their standard pesticide advice.

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