Texas Vegetable Garden Insects Field Guide

You WANT Insects in Your Vegetable Garden

The lack of prolonged cold in Central Texas means that insects and other bugs don’t die out over the winter. This creates a varied and active ecosystem all year long that must part of your vegetable growing plan. No amount of insecticide will eliminate pest problems. In many cases, pesticide use may throw everything so off balance that the problems may become worse. The best practices for managing Texas vegetable garden insects start with Integrated Pest Management, (IPM) and include a healthy amount of tolerance for minor levels of damage.

What is IPM?

Integrated Pest Mangement (IPM) is a process that solves pest problems while minimizing risks to people and the environment. There are four key strategies:

Mantid hanging out in the garden - Texas Vegetable Garden Insects

Stagmomantis sp. (Mantodea: Mantidae) hanging out in the Earth-Kind® demonstration garden

  • Prevention – use cultural practices and plantings with genetic resistance to pests and disease
  • Monitor and Identify – begin with an accurate identification by using the resource links on this page
  • Set Action Thresholds –  determine when damage warrants control efforts, learn to tolerate a minor level of damage
  • Use Least Damaging Strategy of Control –  choose effective, less risky pest controls first before turning to any type of chemical (even if it’s organic)
Use these guides to help identify insects. They are listed by name and by vegetable type. You can click on the links to see color photos to help you identify what you are seeing in your garden.

Insects By Name


Pest By Vegetable Type













More Vegetable Resources

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