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Common Lettuce Pests

common lettuce pests

Leafy greens, such as lettuce, are an excellent source of nutrition and are relatively simple to grow.

While growing lettuce should be an easy task, like many vegetables, numerous types of pests can destroy your lettuce crop. If pests are continually destroying your lettuce, read this lettuce pest control information to help you deal with common lettuce pests.

With all the kinds of pests out there which destroy lettuce, you should be informed of which ones are particularly dangerous to this vegetable.

These pests will target romaine, iceberg lettuce, or whatever other lettuce you grow.

You might find only some of these lettuce pest insects in certain climates or regions, but in other places, you might have to deal with all of them.

Lettuce Eating Insects and Lettuce Pest Control Tips

The following are some of the most common lettuce pests:

Lepidoptera Family Caterpillars

One of the most damaging lettuce pests is the larva Lepidoptera family, or caterpillars as they’re more commonly known.

There are many kinds of caterpillars, and while each one’s feeding habits are different, they ultimately destroy your lettuce.

With caterpillars, you can remove them with insecticide or introduce natural predators of caterpillars such as birds. If these don’t prove useful, contact a Tulsa pest control company to help you.

Snails and Slugs

Slugs and snails will obliterate any lettuce you’ve planted, hiding during the day in weeds, tall grass, and stones, and coming out at night to eat your plants.

Controlling slugs and snails can be difficult, but keeping the area around your garden clean should help eliminate their hiding spots.

There are natural ways to repel them, too, by using plants like lavender, sage, or geraniums, which all naturally repel snails and slugs. If you aren’t afraid to get your hands dirty, pick them off by hand after dark, but be sure to wait for two hours to ensure they’ve come out to feed.

Aphids

Aphids (or plant lice) pose multiple threats to your lettuce.

  • Firstly, they suck out the lettuce tissue’s nutrients and water, which will kill young lettuce plants.
  • Secondly, aphid corpses are usually covered in parasites, and they can’t be rinsed off of the lettuce.
  • Thirdly, aphids spread viruses and can cause lettuce mosaic.
  • Fourthly, the honeydew deposits aphids leave behind leads to sooty mold on the lettuce leaves.

Since systemic insecticides for aphids are not available, one of the ways you can control them is by introducing natural predators of aphids, like ladybugs, damsel bugs, or birds. 

Thrips

The thrips of order Thysanoptera suck the sap from the lettuce and can cause lettuce damage throughout all of the plant’s lifecycle. In addition to thrips damage to lettuce, they are also disease vectors.

Controlling thrips requires vigilance. For thrip control, you will need to prune leaves and only use insecticidal soap. Some species of thrips will help your lettuce, so you don’t want to kill them.

Leaf Miners, Moth Larvae, Fly Larvae, etc.

The term leaf miner describes several types of insect larvae, from moths to some beetle varieties. They all have in common that they live in leaf tissue, lettuce leaf included.

Only use insecticides as a last resort, and instead utilize row covers to prevent adult moths, beetles, or flies from laying their offspring in your lettuce.

Furthermore, if you continuously water the plant and prune any leaves which are infested already, you can save the rest of your lettuce. If the infestation is substantial, contact pest control near you for assistance.

Beetles

The primary threat beetles pose to your lettuce is when their offspring (which hatches beneath the soil) eats the lettuce roots. Different beetles require different methods of control, and Tulsa pest experts are the best equipped to handle it.

Insecticides and Lettuce Pest Control

While you can get rid of pests by removing debris, so they have no hiding spots, using mulch, or introducing natural predators, these sometimes aren’t enough.

If you need to, you can use insecticides to handle the pest population.

For example, Neemix is a natural insecticide for caterpillars and aphids made from the neem tree’s seeds.

Alternatively, using spinosad can remove caterpillars and leaf miners, but be warned, some insects have developed a resistance to it.

If you need pest control quickly, then contact a Tulsa pest control expert. They’ll have the training and experience to remove any pest problem.

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