9 Common Carrot Pests and How to Control Them

If you’re growing carrots in your backyard garden, these pests can be a nuisance. Here we discuss 9 different types of pests that can cause problems for your carrot garden. We’ll discuss the insect and the best methods for controlling them.

Carrot Pests

1. Aphids

Several aphid species are pests of carrots. Most aphid damage is caused to young carrots when aphids feed on tender growing plant tissue.

Carrot leaves will often become yellow and wilt and the distorted growth of roots and shoots often results. Aphids have many natural enemies such as lady bugs and green lacewing larvae that help to keep them under control.

Horticultural Oil Spray Controls aphids, mites, galls, mealy bugs, and other insects. Kills insects by blocking their pores and smothering them. Aphid & Whitefly Traps are another simple and economical way to get rid of aphids, whiteflies, and other small insects in your garden.

2. Celery Worms

The Celery worm, also known as the carrot caterpillar is the larva of the black swallowtail butterfly.

The adult butterfly is black with two rows of yellow spots on the outer border of the wings and light blue areas on the lower wings.

The most common host plants are carrots, celery, parsley, dill, and parsnip. This pest chews leaves and stems and destroys tops.

Hand-picking the caterpillar is generally sufficient.

3. Wireworms

Wireworms are the slender, yellowish-brown, hard-bodied larvae of various beetles There are many species of wireworms, various species attack Beans, Carrots, Beets, Celery, Lettuce, Onions, Sweet potato, Turnip, and Mustard.

These worms wreak their havoc by puncturing and tunneling stems, roots, and tubers. Carrots are a particular favorite.

Wireworms Pest Control

  1. Clear the garden bed of weeds, mulch, and plant debris.
  2. Lay down a wooden board or boards in your garden bed – 2X4, plywood – whatever you have space for, and leave it there overnight.
  3. Check under the boards the next morning and you should find wireworms as well as other pests attached.
  4. Take the board, bugs, and worms to an area away from your garden where you can either have a bug massacre or release them where they can’t do any harm to your plants.
  5. Add compost to where the wireworms infestation occurred. Add organic fertilizer that contains green manure, which also will help to kill any wireworms you may have missed.
  6. Continue managing your garden by removing weeds and applying organic fertilizer. Don’t spray pesticides on the area to remove or prevent the wireworms from returning as it could easily do more damage than the wireworms ever could.

Garlic Spray is another way to get rid of wireworms as well as ants, aphids, caterpillars, Colorado Potato Beetle, diamondback moth, whitefly, cabbageworm, mice, mites, moles, and termites as well as some fungi and bacteria.

Related: Garden Flies

4. Carrot Rust Fly 

The maggots of the Carrot Rust Fly damage plants by eating the small fibrous roots and by tunneling in larger roots. A rust-colored material develops in the tunnels, giving the insect its name.

Affected plants may become yellow, stunted, and die. Usually, the plant tops continue to look healthy. Maggots often continue to feed in stored carrots. Disease organisms may enter the feeding tunnels and cause them to rot. Neem has proven effective against this pest.

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5. Carrot Root Flies 

The worm stage will attack carrots and other root crops. They feed directly on the root system.

If you identify these pests in your garden, harvest immediately to avoid them spreading and living on after the harvest. Crop rotation and deeply tilling your soil can also help eradicate this pest.

The main host plant is carrots but they also attack celery, celeriac, parsnips and parsley.

Carrot Root Flies Pest Control

  1. Remove damaged plants to reduce the smell of carrot which attracts the flies.
  2. Companion plant with strong-smelling plants to mask the carrot smell, such as onions.
  3. Avoid sowing susceptible plant seeds during the early spring and late summer when carrot flies will be laying eggs.
  4. Thin seedlings in the evening when adult flies are less active and then destroy all thinned plants.
  5. Firm the soil around the plants after thinning as this deters the flies from laying eggs.

Related: Why Are My Carrots Deformed?

6. Carrot Weevil

The Adult carrot Weevil is a dark-brown snout beetle about 6 mm long It over winters in plant debris in and about carrot fields that were infested the previous year.

They feed on foliage, chewing out notches, damage is usually not severe.

The use of broad spectrum pesticides in home gardens for this purpose shouldn’t be necessary. Predatory nematodes will parasitize the larvae. Pyrethin sprays, used as directed on the label are effective against the Adult.

7. Flea beetles

Flea Beetles will attack carrots as well as many other vegetables, cabbage-family plants, potatoes, eggplant, and spinach are some of their favorite venues.

They are most commonly seen early in the gardening season.

They eat small holes in the leaves of carrots and other plants. They also carry plant diseases.

Cedarcide is an effective deterrent of flea Beetles and many other insect pests.

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8. Leaf Miners

Leaf Miners are basically any insect that lays its eggs in the spongy layer between the upper and lower surfaces of leaves. The vast majority of leaf-mining insects are moths and flies, some beetles and wasps also exhibit this behavior.

A few mining insects utilize other parts of a plant, such as the surface of a fruit. Various varieties attack various plants, There are over 200 species of leaf miners. Some are know to attack carrot plants.

They are generally only a problem on seedlings. Healthy adult carrot plants will withstand substantial leafminer damage to the foliage. Heavy damage, at times can cause leaf drop.

Leafminer holes can also provide an access point for microbial pathogens.

Recommended Control For Leaf Miners is Neem, it’s effectiveness is based on several modes of action. It disrupts insects’ hormonal balance so they die before they molt to the next life stage.It suppresses some insects’ desire to feed and also repels in areas that have been sprayed.

9. Nematodes

Nematodes are microscopic worms that live in the soil and feed on the host plant roots preventing the plants from taking up the nutrients they need to grow. Some forms of nematodes are highly beneficial, while others can wreak total destruction. Predatory nematodes are effective against destructive nematodes.

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