Swiss chard is both attractive and delicious, which makes it extra aggravating when the leaves appear to have ugly holes or withering leaves.
When pests attack, you must act quickly not only to protect your plants’ picture-perfect foliage but also to prevent an infestation from destroying them totally.
Now, before we get started, you’re going to think this list is ridiculously large. That must imply that Swiss chard is continually infested with various bugs, not really.
Despite the fact that a variety of insects and gastropods will happily nibble on your chard, this vibrant vegetable is rarely gravely harmed.
In this article, we are going to discuss in detail 13 pests that attack Swiss chard.
13 Swiss Chard Pests
The easiest way to get rid of any unwanted garden guests is to deal with them as soon as you notice them. What ate those pests?
Aphids are opportunists, and roughly a dozen species will eat chard if given the opportunity.
However, bean aphids (Aphis fabae), which are dark olive in color, and green peach aphids (Myzus persicae), which are green or yellow in color, are the two species that most frequently seek out plants in the Amaranthaceae family.
In tiny numbers, these typical sap-suckers aren’t a major deal to find.
Simply blow them away from your plant with a hose blast. They can diminish plant vigor and can cause leaves to turn yellow and die in big quantities.
The larvae of a variety of night-flying moths in the Noctuidae family produce these chunky, inch-long worms.
The beet armyworm (Spodoptera exigua), bertha armyworm (Mamestra configurata), fall armyworm (S. frugiperda), and Western yellow-striped armyworm (S. praefica) are the four
most frequent armyworm species that attack Swiss chard plants, while there are others depending on where you live.
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These caterpillars gnaw through the plant’s foliage, creating ragged holes or even skeletonizing the leaves.
Keep an eye out for worms creeping along the edges of your leaves and pick them off as soon as you spot them.
3. Blister Beetles
Blister beetles aren’t very frequent in the home garden, but they may do a lot of damage when they attack. They migrate in big bunches and can defoliate a plant very quickly.
Species in the Meloidae family come in a variety of colors, including gray, brown, and black. They can also feature yellow, red, or cream stripes, as well as gray banding.
If you disturb the leaves and see the pests fall to the ground and scramble away, you’ve got a blister beetle infestation on your hands. When they eat, they begin at the borders and work their way inward.
4. Flea Beetles
These tiny, black sap-sucking hoppers bounce from plant to plant, leaving minute shot holes in the regions where they’ve been feeding; the harm they do appears to be caused by a teeny-tiny shotgun, hence the name.
These holes may extend all the way through the leaf, or they may only reach halfway through.
If the infestation is severe enough, these holes can impair the plant’s vigor or possibly kill a young plant.
Worse still, these pests spread disease. There can be several generations per year, and they emerge once the temperature reaches 50 degrees F or higher.
Beet leafhoppers (Circulifer tenellus) are disease-carrying pests that eat the leaves of your chard. They carry the beet curly top virus (BCTV), which is a disease you don’t want to infect your plants with.
Adults are pale green or yellow in color, with a wedge form and a length of about an eighth of an inch.
Alternatively, set up floating row covers in the early spring to prevent an infestation. Leafhoppers are also a favorite food of parasitic wasps, lacewings, and assassin bugs.
In the event that this fails, pyrethrin can be used to kill both adults and larvae.
6. Leaf Miner
Leaf miners are difficult to observe since they are little and prefer to stay inside the leaves, but the damage they wreak is more visible.
Pea (Liriomyza huidobrensis) and vegetable (Liriomyza sativae) leaf miners are the two types that typically attack Swiss chard.
These tiny larvae wind tunnels into the leaf’s center as they eat. When you go outdoors one day, you notice that someone has drawn small mazes on your vegetables. As the tissue dies back, these trails can sometimes extend.
While the tunnels are unsightly (and may include live larvae), the main issue is that they limit photosynthesis and provide entry points for pathogens.
7. Lygus Bugs
The chard stems turn black and the buds dieback due to Lygus bugs (Lygus lineolaris), often known as tarnished plant bugs. The terminal growth will be yellowed and deformed, with crinkled leaves.
The adults have yellow and brown markings and are about a quarter of an inch long. The nymphs are around a millimeter in length and have a pale yellow color.
They not only harm your plants, but they can also spread diseases. You don’t want them crawling around in your garden, do you?
But what are your options for dealing with them? To begin, take precautionary actions such as weeding the garden and clearing up any garbage. Dock, goldenrod, vetch, and wild mustard are favorites.
8. Slugs and Snails
Slugs and snails rarely damage plants unless they appear in great numbers or if the plant is a seedling. They simply gouge ugly holes in the foliage if they don’t do so.
Simply pick the snail or slugs if you notice that they are much in your garden, this prevents them from eating all the plant leaves.
9. Cabbage Worms
Artogeia rapae, also known as cabbageworm, eats irregular holes in the leaves of a variety of plants, including Swiss chard. They grow up to an inch long and are green with slight yellow stripes.
The adults are white butterflies with black dots on their wings that are very common.
The larvae live in the veins of the leaves, and the dark feces or frass that they leave behind is often visible. Clusters of webbing may also be seen, either empty or with minute brown pupae or green worms inside.
One of the advantages of Swiss chard is that, while green worms blend in nicely with other plants’ green foliage, they stick out against the chard’s brilliant neon stems.
10. Cucumber Beetles
The spotted cucumber bug (Diabrotica undecimpunctata) and the Western striped cucumber beetle are two types of cucumber insects that can attack Swiss chard (Acalymma trivittatum).
Cucumber beetles with spots are cute. They resemble yellow ladybugs in appearance. The striped cucumber beetle, as you might expect, has black stripes on a yellow body rather than spots.
Unfortunately, the damage they cause to your crops is anything from cute.
You’ll need to adopt a multi-pronged approach if you’re experiencing a lot of damage. Sticky traps can help catch some of the adults, and both species of larvae can be treated with beneficial nematodes.
Cutworms get their name from the fact that they nibble through the base of immature vegetables, fully severing them. That means all of your hard work raising chard seedlings has gone to waste and will end up in the compost heap.
These worms are related to armyworms, and they are also the larvae of Noctuidae moths that fly at night.
12. Darkling Beetles
Darkling beetles of the genera Blapstinus, Eleodes, and Staphylinid, sometimes known as rove beetles, are abundant in household vegetable gardens across the United States and the rest of the world.
These bugs prefer young seedlings, which they can completely consume, but they can also eat the foliage of older plants, leaving ragged holes in the process.
They’re scavengers who will eat rotting plant debris on the ground, so keep your garden beds tidy. Dead stuff should not be left on the ground.
You can ignore these pests until they have a huge infestation on your plants. They may dull the appearance of your leaves, but they rarely kill a plant. Seedlings are the most vulnerable.
13. Diamondback Moth Caterpillars
All varieties of cole crops, such as broccoli, cabbage, and kale, are attacked by diamondback moth larvae (Plutella xylostella).
If you try to touch or catch one, it will drop from the plant with a silk strand to tether it.
Caterpillars vary in size and color, but most are approximately a third of an inch long and cream, yellow, or green in color.
Adult moths overwinter in garden trash, which is another incentive to tidy up your yard in the fall.
How Do You Protect Swiss Chard?
Allow plenty of space between plants to allow for enough air circulation to avoid and treat fungal Swiss chard illnesses. It’s possible that the Swiss chard leaves will need to be thinned out as well.
Avoid soaking the leaves by watering at the plant’s base. Avoid excess moisture and only water as necessary, as Swiss chard only needs to be watered in hot, dry weather.
How Do You Stop Leaf Miners On Chard?
Protecting the plants with a layer of floating row cover is one of the simplest ways to reduce damage from these insects.
This lightweight translucent fabric is draped over the plant tops and acts as a protective barrier, preventing adult leafminers from gaining access to the plants.
Install the row cover as soon as possible after planting. Because Swiss chard doesn’t need to be pollinated before harvest, the cover can be left on all season.
Why Are My Chard Leaves Turning Yellow?
Changes in leaf color might indicate nutritional shortages. Chard plants with lower leaves that turn from dark green to pale green or yellow could be deficient in nitrogen.
This nutrition is provided via a side dressing of blood meal, cottonseed meal, or manure. The sulfur shortage is a plausible suspect when top leaves turn yellowish or pale green.
Despite the fact that there are a lot of them, ordinary Swiss chard bugs normally don’t ruin your harvest.
However, if they do show up, you want to be able to act quickly. Hopefully, this advice has given you more confidence in dealing with any problem that comes your
We’d appreciate it if you could return and tell us which pests you encountered and how you dealt with them in the comments.