Skip to main content

Entomology

Neutral
Staphylinidae

Rove Beetles

Staphylinidae is the largest family of beetles with over 63,000 described species. Estimates suggest over 75% of tropical species have yet be discovered!

Learn more

Helpful
Salticidae

Jumping Spiders

(Family: Salticidae)
Jumping Spiders can be distinguished from other spider families by their large eyes and quick jumping abilities.

Learn more

Harmful
Thysanoptera

Thrips

(Order Thysanoptera)
A thrips (no, that’s not a typo—there’s no such thing as a thrip!) is a bizarre, minute insect. They are typically less than 1 mm long with slender bodies, fringed wings and weird lopsided mouth parts.

Learn more

Neutral
Diplopoda

Millipedes

(Class Diplopoda)
Millipedes are looooooong bugs that generally have round, worm-like bodies with lots of tiny legs. They are generally nocturnal and hide in leaf litter and soil during the day.

Learn more

Harmful
Pseudococcidae

Mealybugs

(Family: Pseudococcidae)
These unarmored scale insects damage tomatoes by feeding on their plant saps and secreting a sweet concoction known as “honeydew,” which encourages the growth of sooty molds. They also are known to transmit diseases.

Learn more

Neutral
Dermaptera

Earwigs

(Order Dermaptera)
Earwigs are small, long insects that are most easily identified by their abdominal pincers and short wings that cover a small portion of their body.

Learn more

Helpful
Chrysopidae

Green Lacewings

(Family: Chrysopidae)
Adult green lacewings are generally about ¾” long with light green bodies and delicate wings that are often the same color.

Learn more

Helpful
Chalcidoidea

Chalcid Wasps

(Family: Chalcididae)
Chalcids are parasitoids of several groups of insects including Diptera (flies), Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths), Coleoptera (beetles), and Hymenoptera (true bugs). Some deposit eggs inside their hosts’ eggs while others attack the nymphs.

Learn more

Helpful
Coccinellidae

Lady Bugs

Ladybugs, ladybirds, and lady beetles (Family Coccinellidae)
These beetles have been loved by gardeners for years.

Learn more

Harmful
Sphingidae

Hornworms

(Family: Sphingidae)
These large caterpillars often reach 5 inches in length and are most easily identified by the “horn” protruding from the tip of their abdomen.

Learn more

Harmful
Tetranychidae

Spider Mites

(Family: Tetranychidae)
Spider mites are not insects but arachnids (think spiders, scorpions, etc.) that damage plant cells by piercing them to feed. These are VERY SMALL and are often not noticed until their population has exploded.

Learn more

Helpful
Syrphidae

Syrphid Flies

(Family: Syrphidae)
If you can get close enough, make sure to count the wings. Two wings, and you’ve got a fly; four wings, and watch out – it’s a bee or wasp!

Learn more

Helpful
Mantodea

Mantids

(Order Mantodea)
Mantises are ambush predators are usually green, brown, or gray in color to camouflage from not only their predators but their prey! Mantises are known for their extra bendy forelimbs that give the appearance that they are praying.

Learn more

Helpful
Coccinellidae

Mealybug Destroyers

(Genus: Cryptolaemus)
The adults have the general shape of ladybugs but usually lack the bright colors and spots. The larvae are fluffy, white, and actually resemble mealybugs.

Learn more

Harmful
Coccidae

Soft Scale

(Family: Coccidae)
Soft Scale is a very diverse family of insects so there is often exceptions in physical appearance. Though they may not look like insects, these Hemipterans are related to aphids, whiteflies, and mealybugs.

Learn more

Harmful
Galerucinae

Flea Beetles

(Family: Chrysomelidae)
These little cuties are unfortunately a huge issue for many tomato growers.

Learn more

Neutral
Staphylinidae

Assassin Bug

Family: Reduviidae).
These “true bugs” (Order: Hemiptera) are often misidentified as pest insects. The tip of their proboscis (the pokey mouth-part thing) differentiates them from similar bugs.

Learn more

Harmful
Noctuidae

Cutworms

(Family: Noctuidae)
These caterpillars are the larvae of some moths in the family Noctuidae. They get their name from their behavior of cutting small plants at the base of the stem. Since there are so many species, they come in a variety of colors and patterns, so damage is the best way to identify them.

Learn more

Harmful
Aleyrodidae

Whiteflies

(Family: Aleyrodidae)
Whiteflies (Family Aleyrodidae). Despite their name, whiteflies are not actually true flies but rather closely related to aphids and mealybugs.

Learn more

Neutral
Anthocoridae

Minute Pirate Bugs

(Family: Anthocoridae)
Minute Pirate Bugs (Family Anthocoridae) are small Hemipterans that are often used as biological controls. They are very small, 1-5mm, but feed on a wide variety of insect pests. They have elongated bodies covered in wings that are often black and white spotted.

Learn more

Harmful
Pentatomidae

Stink Bugs

(Family: Pentatomidae)
Like other pest Hemipterans, these insects feed on plant sap with their piercing-sucking mouthparts. They can greatly weaken plants especially if the population is large.

Learn more

Helpful
Braconidae

Braconid Wasps

(Family: Braconidae)
Braconids are usually small wasps that are often black or brown in color. The antenna have 16 segments or more and the females generally have long ovipositors (egg laying organs).

Learn more

Harmful
Liriomyza

Leaf Miners

Leaf-mining flies
(Genus: Liriomyza)
The larva create tunnels in the mesophyll, leaving the epidermis intact. This will resemble light colored “squiggles” on the leaves.

Learn more

Harmful
Diaspididae

Armored Scale

(Family: Diaspididae)
Armored scale insects are known as one of the more frustrating pests and often don’t look like insects at all. These tiny sap-suckers create protective, waterproof coverings to fend off the elements and predators.

Learn more

Neutral
Blattodea

Cockroaches

(Order Blattodea)
Cockroaches often have a small head and a broad, flattened body. If wings are present, they are folded over the backside of the body.

Learn more

Harmful
Caelifera

Grasshoppers

(Suborder: Caelifera, grasshoppers and relatives)
Grasshoopers generally have wings and large back hopping legs. You can differentiate them from crickets by looking at their antennae—cricket antennae are usually long, since they’re nocturnal insects, so they use those long “feelers” to help with walking around.

Learn more

Harmful
Aphididae

Aphids

(Family Aphididae)
This is one bug I think most people can identify immediately.

Learn more

Helpful
Araneae

Spiders

(Class: Araneae)
Though spiders are often feared by many people, they are quite beneficial in your garden! They are efficient predators and primarily feed on insects.

Learn more

Helpful
Polistinae

Paper Wasps

(Subfamily Polistinae)
Though these wasps can be known for stings, they are not usually aggressive unless they are protecting their nests. They are also not scavengers such as yellow jackets, so they are less likely to aggravate your next picnic. However, they are fantastic pollinators and predators.

Learn more

Helpful
Tettigoniidae

Katydids

(Family: Tettigoniidae)
These cryptic insects are closely related to crickets and grasshoppers.

Learn more

Harmful
Coreidae

Leaf-Footed Bugs

Leaf-footed Bugs get their common name from the leaf-like extension found on the hind legs of many species.

Learn more

Harmful
Noctuidae

Fruit Worms

(Species: Helicoverpa zea)
This moth species belongs to the dreaded family of moths called Noctuidae. Within this family, you can find other agricultural pests often referred to as cutworms.

Learn more

Sign up for our Newsletter

We respect your privacy. Your information will not be shared.

Join Our Exclusive Global Community of Tomato Enthusiasts

Be the first to know about the latest in tomato trends - directly to your inbox twice a month!

Just enter your email address below to join

Holler Box