The Bugs Course

aka Protecting Plants 101, aka Prosecuting Pests 101

Learn to identify common pests and fungal issues and effective methods to deter and treat them. The course cost of $30 covers instruction and a notebook with all slides and handouts. This class is offered on two dates:

  • February 25th, Saturday, 4-5:30 pm
  • March 3rd, Friday, 11:30am-1pm

Call Martin Garden Center at 864-277-1818 to register.

We will cover aphids, worms and caterpillars, lacewing bugs, spider mites, mealy bug, japanese beetles, flea bettles, thrip, white fly & slugs. We will also cover black spot, powdery mildew and downy mildew.  


Aphids are discriminate.  Once they establish with one plant, they stay with it until that food source is gone and then they find another, and quickly.  Aphids are born pregnant and can reproduce within 7 days after birth. That’s why infestations can happen so quickly.

Worms and Caterpillars

Moths and small butterflies can lay eggs in amazing amounts everywhere.  And, even one or two small caterpillars and worms can create havoc on target plants.

Lacewing Bugs

Lacewing bugs love azaleas and also go for rhododendron with azalea type leaves. They also love pieris.  The lacewing bugs suck from beneath the leaves and turn the leaves a mottled gray and white.  Very unattractive.  Most lacewing bugs emerge in May and should be dealt with BEFORE they get a chance to damage the newly emerged gorgeous green spring foliage.

Spider Mites

Spider Mites are probably the worst of the indiscriminate pests.  They will go for anything.  They prefer roses, sun king aralia, ivy, elephant ears, butterfly bushes, rosemary and dahlias.  In shrubs, we have found them on fatsia, pieris, boxwoods, beautyberry, and spirea.  In the greenhouse, they tend to gravitate toward ivy, citrus, diffenbachia, elephant ears (colocasia) & alocasia, cast iron, nephthytis, calathea, palms, peace lilies, dracaena, aglaonema, philodendron, hibiscus, mandevilla, & ficus.  They like all spring and summer veggies. Did I miss anything?

Infected plants have mottled white or gray discoloration on the tops of their leaves.  Underneath the leaves, you can typically see gray webbing along the spines of the leaves. 


Like spider mites, mealy is indiscriminate.  In fact, mealy is a hateful insidious little B$$@%#$ that hides in the nooks and crannies of plants that are generally impossible to see or to reach by conventional spraying methods. 

Japanese Beetles

Japanese beetles don’t tend to show up until late May or June.  They appear almost overnight and in large numbers and are quite devastating if not caught in time.

Flea Beetles

The Flea Beetle is a little black beetle that jumps like a flea from one plant to another when you attempt to kill him by hand.  They are tough on ornamental shrubs but they are devastating on food crops grown in mass. And, they are hard to kill.


Thrips are found in all plants and can’t be eradicated entirely.  For most plants, thrip don’t cause damage.  For some plants such as verbena, they make a mottled gray or white leaf that is aesthetically unattractive.  Thrip damage on lobelia, along with thrips-vectored viruses such as INSV (Impatiens Necrotic Spot Virus) are deadly.  


White flies are also indiscriminate pests that can overwinter in nearby soil and show up EARLY in the spring. They like bearded iris. We have seen them most attracted to sage, but they don’t tend to show up as problems till late July or early August in herbs and perennials. 


Slugs are just gross. But, easily controlled if you are proactive. If not, bye bye hosta … or should we say buy buy hosta again.