Common garden pests

February 16, 2021 3 min read

Common garden pests

Whilst not all bugs are bad, some are very unwelcome in our gardens. We’ve put together a quick guide on some of the most common pests you might want to identify and some quick tips on what to do before your garden starts to suffer!

Vine Weevils

Vine Weevils love plants in pots and containers. Their grubs feed on the plant roots and the adult weevils eat their way through the leaves. Plants start wilting and sustain damage both above and below ground with devastating effects.

The best way to remove them is to hand pick them from plant leaves during the evening. Sticky barrier products, such as insect glues, will discourage them from settling. You can also encourage natural predators into your garden to feed on them, for example frogs, birds and hedgehogs. 



Aphids are sap sucking pests that distort plant growth and damage stems and leaves. They move slowly and leave a sticky residue that can spread viruses through the plant.

Wasps and ladybirds are the best natural predators against aphids. A quick blast of water from the garden hose can also be effective as is simply brushing them off or pruning back the affected stems. You can also spray with a natural pest control product or squash the bugs when you first see them.


Spider Mites

Spider mites are so small you’ll hardly see them, but you may see the webbing they produce around the leaf which can also lead to fungal disease. Leaves discolour and a mottled dotted area will start on the top of leaves, which will eventually die.

Check plants regularly, these pests multiply rapidly. Prune away any badly affected parts of the plant, spray regularly with water to deter spider mites as they like the dry and do not like humid conditions.

Spider Mite

Tortrix Moths

 At caterpillar stage they cocoon inside the rolled-up leaves and emerge to feed inside the leaf structure.

Crush them when inside the leaves to kill them and stop the cycle. Using a pheromone trap will trap the male moths, stopping the cycle of reproduction.

Tortrix Moth

Box Tree Month

These moths are still fairly new to the UK and cause damage when they are a caterpillar by burying within the webbing of a leaf to feed.

Hand-pick the caterpillars from the plants and prune out stems that have a webbing on. 

Box Tree Moth

Wire Worms

Wire worms lay their eggs in soil during late springtime. The larvae cause damage to plant roots and tubers of root vegetables.

Turning the soil will expose wire worms to predators, or hand pick them from the soil.

Wire Worm

Cabbage White Butterfly

These white butterflies can be seen round your cabbages. Damage is inflicted when they are caterpillars, by stripping the leaves, tunnelling into the roots and feeding off them.

A barrier like netting around plants will protect, as will a natural predator like birds. Pick off caterpillars and their eggs when you see them to stop the cycle.

Cabbage White Butterfly

Slugs & Snails

These pests are a problem all year round. Slugs and snails eat through leaves, flowers, stems and bulbs.

Encourage natural predators like birds and frogs, to keep the population under control. Traps vary from the traditional slug traps to creating a dark, damp hiding place so you can relocate them away from your plants. Other solutions like broken eggshells, sand and old coffee grounds will repel them too.


Glasshouse Thrips

These sap sucking pests are around from April through September in both outdoor plants and greenhouse plants. They cause pale silver mottling and brown marks on plant leaves. Shrubs will mostly survive the effects of this pest.

Remove by pruning off the areas of the plant that is damaged. Inside greenhouses methods like hanging sticky insect traps amongst plants will trap them. 

Glasshouse Thrip