Tips for Managing Insect Pests in the Landscape

Did you know that 99% of all insects are not harmful to you or your landscape? Use the photo gallery on this website to learn which insects are pests, and which are helpful. Head off insect pests by following these tips:

  • Don't treat a problem until you've identified the cause. Many plant problems result from non-living problems, such as too much or too little water, too much or too little sun, poor soil, or incorrect planting.
  • Stressed plants are susceptible to pests. Make sure your plants are placed in an appropriate spot, the soil is healthy and you're watering and fertilizing appropriately.
  • If you find insects on your plants, get them identified. Contact your local Extension office for help.
  • Remember, not all bugs are bad! Some insects help manage the pests. Beneficial insects are natural enemies that kill or reduce the number of bad insects in your yard.
  • Accept a few insects in your yard. They'll provide food for birds and beneficial insects.
  • If you do have a pest problem, try simple methods, such as hand-picking, washing them off with a strong jet of water from the hose, or using sticky traps.
  • Be cautious about using insecticides. They may kill beneficial insects, and when used repeatedly, can actually increase pest problems.
  • Learn the most vulnerable stage in the insect's life cycle, and apply an effective control at that time.
Photo of a yellow sticky trap with insects trapped on it.

This sticky trap is helping to control an infestation
of fungus gnats in houseplants.

photo of a Green lacewig

Green lacewings are beneficial insects.
The larvae eat aphids and other pests.

Photo of a leaf with two circles cut out of it by cutter bees.

The circles in the edge of this leaf were made by leaf
cutter bees. Leaf cutter bees are beneficial and their damage
does not interfere with the leaf's ability to make food.

Hefner, M. 2019, Tips for Managing Insect Pests in the Landscape, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno. IP.

Learn more about the author(s)

 

Also of Interest:

 
Photo of mayweed chamomile plant with white flower
Nevada Noxious Weed Field Guide – Mayweed chamomile
Mayweed chamomile is a noxious weed that has been identified by the state of Nevada to be harmful to agriculture, the general public, or the environment. Learn more about this weed.
Blecker, L., Creech, E., Dick, J., Gephart, S., Hefner, M., Kratsch, H., Moe, A., Schultz, B. 2021, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, Field Guide
Native bee on desert marigold
Using native plants to attract pollinators and other beneficial insects - workshop and plant giveaway
These workshops in Reno and Elko will cover the fascinating ecology of our native pollinators and how to use native plants to provide critical habitat for them and pest control services for you. In addition, there will be a plant giveaway at the end of the workshop!
Burls, K.J. and H. Kratsch 2021, University of Nevada, Reno Event Calendar
Macrosiphum rosae, the rose aphid.
Know Nevada Insects: Aphids
This publication explains the biology and general management of aphids, one of the most common garden pests in Nevada. There are many alternatives to chemicals when treating aphids, including using native predators and protecting plants with lightweight physical covers.
Burls, K. and H. Kratsch 2020, University of Nevada, Reno, FS 20-30
African mustard plant
Nevada Noxious Weed Field Guide - African mustard
African mustard is a noxious weed that has been identified by the state of Nevada to be harmful to agriculture, the general public, or the environment. Learn more about this weed.
Blecker, L., Creech, E., Dick, J., Gephart, S., Hefner, M., H. Kratsch, Moe, A., Schultz, B. 2020, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, Field Guide
Photo of Common St. Johnswort plant
Nevada Noxious Weed Field Guide – Common St. Johnswort
Common St. Johnswort is a noxious weed that has been identified by the state of Nevada to be harmful to agriculture, the general public, or the environment. Learn more about this weed.
Blecker, L., Creech, E., Dick, J., Gephart, S., Hefner, M., Kratsch, H., Moe, A., Schultz, B. 2020, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, Field Guide
 

Associated Programs

ladybug larva eating aphids on a pepper plant

Integrated Pest Management

Integrated Pest Management program is a long-term management strategy that uses a combination of tactics to reduce pests to tolerable levels with potentially lower costs for the pest manager and minimal effect on the environment.