Wage War on Vegetable Enemies

If you keep a watchful eye for signs of trouble and have a well-stocked pesticide shelf to draw upon at a moment’s notice, insects and diseases will have difficulty trying to conquer your garden. 

Vegetable EnemiesPin

Here are some of the most common pests to watch for and some precautionary measures to take for a pest-free vegetable patch.

Cutworms And Root Maggots

For, cole crops—cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, etc., dust 5% percent chlordane or 1% percent dieldrin around the base of each plant to protect it from cutworms and root maggots after planting in early spring. Do not disturb the soil for about a month. 

White butterflies fluttering about the young plants herald the arrival of worms that chew the leaves. Dust with rotenone every two weeks until the plants are strong and reach a good size.

Dust bean, sweet corn, and pea seed with Spergon or Arasan before planting to avoid seed rot and ensure good standing.

Mexican Bean Beetles

Beans are plagued by Mexican bean beetles that usually appear when the early-sown beans produce their second set of leaves. 

Apply rotenone or sevin at this time and again three weeks later if yellow spiny larvae appear on the foliage.

Cutworms And Flea Beetles

Like members of the cabbage family, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants require a 5% percent chlordane or 1% percent dieldrin dust around their base to control cutworms. Dust weekly with rotenone to prevent flea beetles from peppering the foliage.

When blossoms appear, spray weekly with maneb to prevent leaf blights and spots. Add malathion and methoxychlor to the sprays when pink and green potato aphids, hornworms, and blister beetles appear.

Aphids, Squash Borers, And Cucumber Beetles

Cucumbers, squashes, and melons are sprayed weekly with combination sprays containing maneb, malathion, and methoxychlor to control blights, leaf-spots, aphids, squash borers, and cucumber beetles and to prevent viruses and wilt transmitted by these beetles. 

Start spraying when plants put out runners—sooner if the beetles are present—and continue until close to harvest. Phaltan added to late summer sprays discourages powdery mildew.


Onions are protected from maggots if the soil surface is dusted with chlordane or dieldrin as soon as the seedlings appear. 

When warm weather arrives, dust weekly with rotenone or dieldrin to control thrips, using rotenone only if some onions are to be harvested as scallions.

Corn Borers and Earworms

A 5% percent DDT dust is applied to sweet corn, starting when the corn is 6” inches tall and continuing at weekly intervals through June. Repeat in August to control second-generation borers. 

Granulated DDT sprinkled like salt over corn plants works as well as dust in this case. Dusting the silk every other day with 5% percent DDT until it dries serves to keep ears free of corn earworm.


Slugs chew vegetable leaves indiscriminately, working at night. Scatter slug pellets containing metaldehyde and calcium arsenate or dieldrin around the plants in the early evening. 

The pellets will melt into mounds by morning—mounds that are not attractive to birds or animals.

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