Insects that affect vegetable crops

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Soil insects: Soil insects are a constant problem in Florida unless soils are fumigated regularly. Most annual crops are subject to attack. All plant parts from germinating seed to roots and stems of young developing plants are susceptible. Damage ranges from reduce plant vigor to plant death.

Foliage and stem feeders: All chewing insects feeding on foliage will be considered in this section, although the armyworms and tomato pinworms feed on fruits as well, especially in their later stages.  

Insects that consume seeds, pods or fruit: this group of insects constitutes probably the most dangerous of those discussed. A plant, particularly one possessing good health and vigorous growth often can overcome attack by soil and foliage feeders, and piercing-sucking type. Most plants (if the foliage is not consumed) can also stand quite a bit of foliage loss before actual seed, pod or fruit loss occurs. However, if the final product is fruit or seed and that is attacked, serious economic loss can be incurred.

P.A. Stansly
University of Florida IFAS Extension