Pansy Pest Problems – Controlling Bugs That Eat Pansies

Pansy Flower Next To A Snail
pansy pest
(Image credit: eli_asenova)

Pansies are very useful flowers. They are excellent in both beds and containers, they come in a huge variety of colors, and the flowers can even be eaten in salads and desserts. But while these plants are very popular with gardeners, they’re just as popular with insects and other pests. Keep reading to learn more about the most common pansy plant pests and how to combat bugs that eat pansies.

Managing Pansies and Pests

Of all the pansy plant pests, aphids are probably the most prevalent. There are several species of aphid that feed on pansies, including crescent-marked lily aphid, green peach aphid, melon aphid, pea aphid, and violet aphid. They tend to appear on pansies in the spring, attacking the ends of new growth. It can be hard to treat aphids chemically because they reproduce so quickly and effectively. If you miss even a single one, the population will be able to bounce back. Because of this, the best way to manage pansies is to introduce natural predators, such as ladybugs, parasitic wasps, and lacewings. Planting Queen Anne’s lace will help attract these predators. Another of the common pests on pansies is the two-spotted spider mite. Especially during hot, dry weather, you may notice tiny pinpricks on your pansies’ leaves, which eventually spread to light brown spots. If an infestation gets bad, you may notice a fine webbing, and leaves will begin to die. Spider mites are treatable with insecticidal soap or other pesticides.

Other Pansy Pest Problems

Snails and slugs can cause serious damage to pansies during the night, especially during damp weather. In the morning, you will notice irregular holes chewed through leaves and petals, as well as slimy trails left behind. You can discourage slugs and snails by removing litter from around the plant. You can also set out slug and snail traps. Western flower thrips cause scarring on flower petals and may cause flower buds to be deformed when they open. Thrips can be controlled with insecticidal spray and the introduction of predators, like the minute pirate bug and green lacewing. Several caterpillars, including cutworm, greenhouse leaftier, omnivorous leaftier, omnivorous looper, and coronis fritillary, are known pansy plant pests. They are best managed by hand picking.

Liz Baessler
Senior Editor

The only child of a horticulturist and an English teacher, Liz Baessler was destined to become a gardening editor. She has been with Gardening Know how since 2015, and a Senior Editor since 2020. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University and an MA in English from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. After years of gardening in containers and community garden plots, she finally has a backyard of her own, which she is systematically filling with vegetables and flowers.