How Can Pests Damage Your Plants?

Closeup shot of an insect on a green leaf damaging it with a blurred background

How can pests damage your plants?

  1. Chewing
  2. Sucking
  3. Gall Formation
  4. Transmitting Diseases


Pests can destroy your plants in many ways. Some can bring minor harm that can be neglected, but if an infestation grows, it may decrease the amount of greenery in your garden. If you know what these insects can do, you can take action immediately after seeing the signs. To help you, we listed down the ways how pests can damage your plants. Read on!



Some pests like to chew on leaves for their meals. That’s why you can see ragged edges or even holes. Some common culprits would be caterpillars, grasshoppers, slugs, snails, and beetles. Although beetles can be helpful insects in your garden.

Caterpillars like to eat the leaves and even flowers. They can eat a whole leaf, only leaving the middle vein. They can get inside greenhouses because of adult butterflies and moths that can fly into openings such as doors. Caterpillars are generally not a problem if there are only a few. Besides, they can grow to butterflies which are beneficial pollinators.

Grasshoppers are also leaf-eaters. They live in semi-arid areas and like to chew on the leaves and stems of grain plants. Having a few in a garden may be good because their excrement can fertilize plants. But in some cases when massive infestations occur, a whole field could be damaged.

If you see slime trails aside from holes and ragged edges, this may be a sign that you have snails and slugs in your garden. They like succulents, and fruits that are near the ground.



Detail of an aphid infestation, Aphididae, feeding on the sap of

Some pests can suck the life out of your plants if you let them. Some of these are thrips and mites. Because they like to eat the sap from your plants, it may cause some deformation and discoloration in your leaves and flowers. Some signs of damage are wrinkled and curled leaves.

Thrips are pests that are so small that finding them can be difficult. It is easier to find traces of their feeding such specks of excrement. If you get a magnifying glass, you will see silver insects that resemble lobsters. Leaves will also have white streaks and patches.

Another sucking pest similar to thrips is mites. The most popular type is the spider mites who produce webbings in plants. After feeding, they can leave bronze specks on the leaves.

Other examples of these insects are aphids, scales, mealybugs, and whiteflies. If you leave these pests alone, they can cause plants and fruits to have stunted growth.


Gall Formation

Pests can also cause damage to plants through abnormal growth or galls. This may be caused by oviposition, infection, or pest feeding which irritates the plant cells. Oviposition is the process of laying eggs on plant tissues which can also cause the death of stems and fruits.

Galls can grow on any part of the plant, including the leaves, stems, flowers, and even roots. Some will look like warts, lumps, or balls.

Galls cannot technically kill your plants, but they may look unsightly especially on a flowering garden. They can also serve as homes to pests where they lay eggs and develop.


Transmitting Diseases

Leaf infectious (leaves disease) in bad environment isolated on

Some pests who feed on your plants can also become carriers of diseases. Some examples would be mosaic viruses that are transmitted by aphids, and yellow-type viruses that leafhoppers bring. Symptoms of mosaic viruses can be similar to what plants look like after a sucking pests feed. These include discolored and deformed leaves and can lead to plant death.


Key Takeaway

 If you’re asking how pests damage your plants, we hope that the information in this blog can help you. Insects can harm your garden by chewing, sucking, gall formation, and transmitting diseases. If you see a few caterpillars here and there, you can leave them be as long as the damage is not large. Some insects can be beneficial to your plants after all. But if the infestation is starting to grow, it may be time to take action.

If you’re looking for a pest control service near you, you can contact us here for a free inspection. We are experts in helping both residential and commercial establishments through non-toxic solutions that can be customized to each client.