How To Protect Vegetables From Fall Insects

Proven Methods for a Succesful Fall Crop

How To Protect Vegetables From Fall Insects-a-snail
A Snail- Garden Pest

Reaping a good harvest during the fall months requires our continued monitoring of our edible plants, insect pests can still be found lurking in our gardens seeking to reap on what we have laboured hard for. Why should these pests wreak havoc by consuming our food crops when we can strike back with good management practices that have proven to bring great results?

Producing a late crop during the fall months before winter arrives is a great way to extend the season while eating fresh and healthy, there is just something about growing our very own food crops. But before you can reap the benefits here is what to do to ensure that you harvest the best crop ever.

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Fall Vegetable Garden Insect Pests Management

1. Cutworms

How To Protect Vegetables From Fall Insects-a-cutworm
A Cutworm

Cutworms spend the daytime hours resting in the soil, except for cloudy days when they surface. Cutworms are active at night time, these worms cause partially or completely cut stems. Vegetables that are infected by cutworms show signs of wilt. Transplanting for a fall harvest along with late-season seedlings are a favorite of these garden pests.

A single cutworm can lay hundreds of eggs per season, in the north however 3 generations per year are common, and gardens in the south may produce more. Plants that are targeted by these worms are carrots, peppers, cabbages, lettuce, tomatoes, onion, celery, sweet corn, cold crops, etc…

During the fall months, it’s best to till your garden because cutworms overwinters as larvae in the soil and will emerge once spring arrives. These worms can be controlled in several ways. Going into your garden at night time (cutworms are most active) pick them off your veggies and throw them into a bucket of soapy water. You will have to repeat this move every few nights to bring control.

Surround your plants with diatomaceous earth (D.E.) which is a natural powder, Sevin Insect Killer Ready to Spray or Sevin Insect Killer Concentrate will also bring control.

2. Corn Earworms

Corn Earworms have alternating dark stripes and a tan that’s light, as the name says the corn earworm’s favorite is corn but they also have a taste for tomatoes as well.  This caterpillar will consume bean pods, seedlings boring into lettuce heads. They may also feed on flowers, leaves, and buds, these caterpillars make deep watery cavities in fruits as they leave their frass. During the summer months, a new generation is produced around 28-35 days.

Late-season corn crops and the year-final tomato crops are vulnerable, to control this garden pest apply Safer Garden Dust, Caterpill Killer Spry 8oz. Bacillus thuringiensis

Handpicking and throwing them into a bucket of water is a safe and natural way that can bring results.

3. Aphids

How To Protect Vegetables From Fall Insects-and-aphid-insect
An aphid garden insect pest on plant

Aphids are common garden pests that are most active during the summer, these garden pests can still be found even during the fall months. Aphids are small pear-shaped soft body insects that dose damage by piercing and extracting or sucking the plant’s fluids. The excrement or waste that aphids produce is known as honeydew which is a sugary substance that attracts ants and causes sooty mold to form on the plant’s foliage.

Sooty mold can reduce the appearance of garden plants causing them to look sick, sooty molds also interfere with photosynthesis the process by which plants manufacture their food.

Aphids give live birth, their young can reproduce in about 7-10 days, there are several ways to aphid control, they can be knocked off plants with a strong stream of water from a garden hose, they can be biologically controlled with hoverflies, ladybugs or parasitic wasp. Chemical control involves insecticidal soap, neem oil, Sevin Insect Killer Ready to Spray

4. Cabbage Loppers

The cabbage loppers have a huge appetite for a host of veggies some of which include potatoes, cabbage, tomatoes, bok choy, cucumbers, kale, spinach, lettuce, peas, parsley, beets, etc… cabbage loppers do damage by chewing holes in the leaves that are ragged they also bore into the heads of cabbage

The color of the cabbage lopper is white-pale-green with stripes that are somewhat whitish, several generations are produced in a single season, the fall season is the peak season for the cabbage loppers, but in climates that are moderate reproduction continues year-round. This is a serious pest that can cause severe damage to edible crops, they are most active during the morning hours and late evenings when the temperature is cool.

There are several methods involved when seeking to bring control, the easiest method however is hand-picking them and throwing them into a bucket of water, if using insecticides then reach for Sevin Insect Killer Ready to Spray, Sevin Insect Killer,  or Caterpill Killr Spry 8oz, Bt Bacillus thruingiensis

Neem oil, the use of beneficial insects for example parasitic wasps are the enemies of the cabbage loppers, before using pesticides read and follow the manufacturer’s directions for the best results.

5. Stink Bugs

How To Protect Vegetables From Fall Insects-stink-bug
A Stink Bug

All life stages of stink bugs are known to cause damage to plants (ornamental and edible plants) and can be found in areas where there is an abundance of vegetation. Stink bugs can be easily recognized by their broad-body and shield-shaped, the adults overwinter under tree barks or in dead leaves emerging in the spring when temperatures reach between 60 and 70 degrees.

These bugs love late-season crops for example, okras, beans, cabbage, peas, tomatoes, fruits, nuts, etc… stink bugs produce several generations per year. This is a one-of-a-kind bug because these insects find their way into homes where they overwinter.

Because of their waxy coat that makes it hard for most pesticides to penetrate their body Insecticidal soap, Pyrethrin, and Neem oil will bring control. Before using pesticides read and follow the manufacturer’s directions for the best results. (Only pesticides that are labeled for edible plants should be used). You can purchase stink bug traps to Catch the adults.

6. Cucumber Beetles

How To Protect Vegetables From Fall Insects-a-cucumber-beetle
A Cucumber Beetle

The adult larval stage of the cucumber beetle is a serious threat to many crops including beans, melons, cucumbers, and eggplants. During the cold season, these pests overwinter in areas that are taken over by weeds.

The adult female will lay her eggs in the soil near the host plants, once the larvae hatch they will begin to feed on the roots of food crops for several weeks up to about 6 weeks. These beetles cause damage to flowers, leaves, and stems.

Several generations are produced throughout the growing season, cucumber beetles have been known to carry and transfer viral and bacterial disease, the use of Sevin Insect Killer Ready to Spray will bring control. A combination of neem and pyrethrin insecticides will work also.

7. Colorado Potato Beetle

How To Protect Vegetables From Fall Insects-colorado-potato-beetles
Colorado Potato Beetles

The female Colorado Potato Beetle lives in the soil but surfaces to lay as many as 350 eggs, this insect’s pests do damage by defoliating plants and restricting potato tubers from developing.

These garden pests consume eggplants potatoes, beans, tomatoes, and peppers, there are multiple generations if not controlled can do server to a garden. To bring manage apply Sevin Insect Killer Ready to Spray,  Bonide Colorado Potato Beetle Beater Concentrate.

Additional information

  • Before using insecticides read and follow the manufacturer’s directions for the best results.
  • Keep kids and pets out of treated areas
  • Practice good garden management, keeping your garden free of weeds and debris
  • Give your veggies the right amount of water, no more no less
  • Ensure that your veggies are also getting the right amount of nutrients

The word on how to protect vegetables from fall insects

Protecting your fall crops doesn’t have to be a daunting task all it takes is some knowledge and you have come to the right place, following this guide will give the insights that you need to manage fall garden insect pests. Why let these pests rob you of your harvest after all the work you have put in? You deserve to benefit from your time spent in the garden by reaping a bountiful harvest.


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About the author

+ posts

Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.