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Top Vegetable Insect Threats in 2019

April 16, 2019

As the growing season continues into the summer, vegetable growers need to stay on top of scouting their fields to identify and address any insect pressures that may be present. The pests below are some of the most common pests that will be a concern for vegetable growers this season.

this agronomic image shows a vegetable leaf miner

Vegetable leafminer

  • Larvae are about 2.25 mm in length.
  • Larvae become greenish to yellowish as they mature, with black mouths throughout development.
  • In warm climates, there are many overlapping generations per year.

The primary damage concern with this pest occurs during the larval stage of development. Vegetable leafminer larvae feed on a range of crops, leaving irregular mines across the foliage. Larvae mine through the foliage after hatching and are often visible in the leaf tissue through the mine. Additional damage is possible by adult females, as they poke holes in leaves as they lay eggs and feed.


this agronomic image shows green peach aphid

Green peach aphid

  • Adults are 1.8 mm to 2.1 mm in length.
  • Winged aphids have black heads and thoraxes with a yellowish green abdomen.
  • Potential for up to 8 generations per season.

Green peach aphids can cause wilting and reduced growth in young plants through feeding. However, the major damage is caused by this pest’s propensity to transmit plant viruses. The green peach aphid is one of the biggest disease vectoring pests in the world. Adults are very mobile, so they present a higher risk of transmission, but both adults and nymphs can transmit diseases.


this agronomic image shows beet armyworm

Beet armyworm

  • Larvae are about 15 mm to 20 mm in length.
  • Young larvae are pale green to yellow in color, and develop stripes and turn darker as they mature.
  • Potential for up to 6 generations per season.

The beet armyworm threatens a wide range of vegetable crops. This pest damages foliage and fruit in the larval stage. Larvae skeletonize foliage as they feed, and as they mature, they eat even larger holes in the foliage.

Pressure from these insect pests can lead to devastating yield losses and infestations that last from season to season. Take the Insect IQ Quiz to test your knowledge of insect pests. If you are a certified crop adviser (CCA), you’ll be eligible to receive CEUs for completing the quiz.

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All photos are either the property of Syngenta or are used with permission.