Black bugs on plants: The most common black insects

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:18 pm

In today’s article we are going to learn how to identify which are the black bugs on plants that appear in the orchard or garden.

In addition, it is important to differentiate between black bugs that are harmful, pests, and those black bugs that are beneficial to plants. In this way we will be able to know when to apply treatments or not.

Black bugs on plants: The most common black insects
An example of black bugs on plants are aphids

Black bugs in the orchard: the black aphid

Black bugs on plants: The most common black insects

As we have already seen in other articles, there are many different species of aphids. Sometimes these species can change color due to the type of feeding and sometimes the color is characteristic of the species to which they belong.

For example, the black bean aphid (Aphis fabae) is one of the aphid species with this color. One of the most characteristic damages of this species is the secretion of honeydew, a sugary substance that can provoke a possible subsequent fungal attack.

Black bugs on plants: The most common black insects
Ladybugs are one of the most widely used insects in biological conservation control. Especially against aphids

Weevil

Weevils are another of the black bugs on plants that we can find. They belong to the order of coleoptera (beetles). The truth is that although they damage plants, they have a very friendly appearance because their head is prolonged forming a beak.

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These insects mainly affect leguminous plants, for example lentils. They are also one of the most common pests in food stores.

Black bugs on plants: The most common black insects
Weevil

Crop rotation, the use of netting or eliminating affected grains can be effective methods against the weevil.
Wireworm or Agriotes lineatus

This species causes damage especially when it has the “worm form”, that is, before transforming into an adult. But it is important to know how to recognize what the adults look like in order to detect problems in our crops. Adults are small black beetles.

The main damages caused by the wireworm are galleries in tubers, damage to roots, stems and seeds.

Black bugs on plants: The most common black insects
Adult wireworms or wireworms

Thrips: little black bugs on flowers

Thrips are one of the most common greenhouse pests. They can affect many crops such as tomatoes, onions, eggplants, fruit trees or indoor plants. They are very small insects (between 1 and 3 millimeters) and can transmit viruses to plants.

Black bugs on plants: The most common black insects
Trips, very small black insects

Ants on plants

Well, I don’t need to take a picture of ants because you know what they look like. We must not forget the special relationship that ants have with aphids. Ants love the honeydew produced by aphids and, in return, ants protect them from insects that want to eat them, such as ladybugs.
Beneficial black bugs: Ladybug larvae

We start with a classic in the world of beneficial insects: ladybugs. We are used to always see the adult ladybugs when they are red, pretty and “count our fingers two by two” (this last one comes from a song).

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However, we rarely see what ladybug larvae look like, that is, the state of ladybugs before they become adults. This may be because their larval stage is very different from their adult stage. Ladybug larvae are black (with some orange spotting), elongated, with legs and jaws.

The most important thing is that both the adult ladybug and the larvae can eat many harmful insects in the garden such as aphids.

I leave here a photo I took the other day so that you can identify them:

Black bugs on plants: The most common black insects
Larva of a ladybug

Staphylinids

Staphylinids are a family of beneficial insects belonging to the order Coleoptera (beetles). They are usually black to brown in color. They are elongated, not very large (from 1 to 35 millimeters) and with elongated antennae. They are also very curious insects because when you touch them they fold their tails as if they were a scorpion. In this way they can intimidate other insects.

Here is a photo I took of one of them the other day under a microscope:

Black bugs on plants: The most common black insects
Staphylinid, a beneficial insect

One of the best known species is Ocypus olens.


Black beetles: carabids

Carabids are other beneficial black beetles that can help us with pest control.

They feed on small slugs or aphids. Like the previous cases, they belong to the order of coleoptera and differ from the rest because they have highly developed mandibles with which they hunt their prey. In addition, another of their characteristics is that they move very fast on the ground.

One of the best known species present in crops is Pterostichus melanarius. It measures around 20 millimeters and is black in color.

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Black bugs on plants: The most common black insects
Carabid

Author

  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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