How To Identify Insect Eggs On Leaves And Get Rid Of A Pest Problem?

Have you noticed any egg clusters that appear to have a questionable origin on the plants in your garden? Likely, a severe pest infestation has already negatively impacted your houseplant. However, you need not panic! Not all insect eggs are indicative of a problem with pests. Understanding the basics of insect egg identification will help you determine what kind of eggs you have and when you should be worried about their appearance. Let’s take a look at the different insect eggs on leaves.

Photo Credit All bugs hatch from eggs, which are typically found on the undersides of leaves or in obscure locations on plants.

There are many different kinds of insects; some lay their eggs on plants or in the soil around them. These eggs can be of beneficial insects like dragonflies, lacewings, ladybugs, and hoverflies, or they can be of harmful bugs like aphids, whiteflies, Japanese beetles, mealybugs, cicadas, or scales, among others. Eggs of different bugs will have varying sizes, colors, and shapes which could be used to identify the insect and select the right course of treatment.

The following is a comprehensive guide that will assist you in treating an infestation of pests by identifying the insects and the eggs they lay.

Insect Eggs On Plants

If you don’t already feel like an expert in insect eggs, continue reading. We will provide you with information on the most common insects found on garden plants, as well as the types of eggs they lay. To get started, you can begin distinguishing eggs of different insects by their color, look, and location on the ground or the host plant. 

White and yellow eggs are two of the most common colors when it comes to insect eggs in the garden. Of course, not every white or yellow egg will grow into an insect that may harm your plants. Some won’t hurt your plants in any way and may even be helpful to them. Therefore, it is essential to know the difference.

So, let’s take a more in-depth look at it, shall we?

Beneficial Bug Eggs | Identification Guide

Before you freak out and begin removing all types of eggs you find in your garden, let me say: You need to be aware that some eggs that can be beneficial to your garden should not be removed. They develop into harmless and beneficial garden bugs after hatching, which eat harmful plant pests and contribute to pollination. Here are a few examples.  

Dragon Flies

 Dragon Flies - insect eggs on leaves

Photo Credit Female dragonflies can deposit hundreds of eggs in batches over a few days or even weeks during their adult life.

The presence of dragonflies in your garden can benefit you in several ways. They eliminate bugs like mosquitoes and flies and other creatures like spiders and moths, which can wreak havoc on your plants. Furthermore, they appear elegant and graceful in the yard. So, if you spot dragonfly eggs in your yard, there is no need to remove them.

Dragonfly Eggs

Dragonflies lay their eggs in a substance similar to jelly, and the eggs themselves are spherical. Dragonfly eggs must be laid in water for them to hatch. 

As a result, these eggs can only ever be found in the vicinity of bodies of water, such as ponds, streams, or water puddles in gardens.

Lacewings

lacewings

Photo Credit  Lacewing eggs are typically attached to leaves or twigs and are placed on the end of long, delicate stalks.

The larvae of lacewings are the words enemies of aphid pests. Although several insects eat aphids, the larvae of lacewings are the ones that have gained the most popularity among gardeners and lawn owners. 

The larva of the lacewing is known as the “aphid lion” (or “aphid wolf”) since it consumes aphids so rapidly. A single larva can eat up to two hundred aphids in a week.

Lacewing Eggs

Lacewing adult females can lay up to 600 eggs in their lifetimes. The hue of these eggs is either white or yellowish-white. You will discover these eggs dangling from the underside of the leaves, and a slender stalk supports each egg sac.

Related: How To Identify, Control, And Prevent Brown Soft Scale Bugs On Plants?

Lady Bugs

Lady Bugs - insect eggs on leaves

Photo Credit There are numerous types of ladybugs, and their eggs vary in appearance.

Aphids are a favorite food of the predatory ladybug. A ladybug can swallow up to 5,000 aphids in its lifetime. In addition, they can help remove insect eggs, ants, and other pests with soft bodies such as mites, mealybugs, and leafhoppers from your garden. So, don’t you think keeping ladybug eggs near your plants is a good idea?

Ladybug Eggs

Eggs laid by ladybugs can look quite a bit different from one another, depending on the species. They can range in color from pale yellow to almost white to a bright orange-red. 

However, no matter the species, ladybug eggs are arranged in close proximity to one another and always have a greater height than width. 

Most are 1 millimeter tall, but others are even smaller.

Hoverflies

Hoverflies

Photo Credit Adult hoverflies lay eggs that are about the size of a single grain of rice.

Adult hoverflies, which play an important role in flower and other garden plants’ pollination, can be seen eating on flower buds or in the vicinity of aphid colonies, which is also where they deposit their eggs. The larvae of hoverflies are essential in managing agricultural pests like aphids, scales, thrips, and caterpillars.

Hoverfly Eggs

Adult hoverflies lay white, creamy eggs that are about the size of a grain of rice and about 1mm long. The female adult hoverflies unusually lay these eggs near aphid colonies, providing the larvae that hatch with a direct food source.

Harmful Bug Eggs | Identification Guide

Some eggs are classified as harmful because they will hatch and spawn harmful pests. The following list provides a synopsis of how these pests cause damage to your plants and the reasons why their presence is problematic. 

However, there is also the question of identifying these eggs. So, we will provide you with clear indicators that will allow you to identify these harmful eggs at first look. 

To make things easier for you, we’ll categorize the harmful eggs based on their two most prevalent colors, Yellow and White.

Harmful Pests That Lay Yellow Eggs

Aphids

Aphids - insect eggs on leaves

Photo Credit Aphid eggs are elliptical to chisel-like and range in color from yellow to orange

Aphids are known to attack ornamental plants such as roses, stunting their growth. They never stop suckling the sap from your plants. They come in various colors: red, green, yellow, and black. Aphids can produce numerous generations in a single year, which is the primary reason the infestation can quickly become unmanageable.

Aphid Eggs

Eggs laid by aphids can range in shape from elliptical to chisel-like and are attached to support either by gluing them on or by using a thread.

Aphid eggs are bright yellow and are commonly seen on milkweed and roses. These eggs can be found on the leaves lower and upper sides.

Related: Aphids on Indoor Houseplants: 10+ Smart Ways to Get Rid of Them!

Mealybugs

Mealybugs

Photo Credit Eggs of the mealybug are typically found clinging to crowns, leaves, bark, fruit, or twigs of the host plant.

Mealybugs are tiny insects with soft bodies that live on the undersides of plant leaves and the stems of plants. They also consume the plant fluids from the greenhouse and garden plants like aphids. They leave behind honeydew, a sticky material that attracts other pests and promotes mold growth on the plant.

Mealybug Eggs

Most female mealybugs will lay anywhere from 100 to 200 eggs in papery egg sacs over the course of ten to twenty days. 

These egg sacs can be found connected to the host plant’s branches, fruit, leaves, or twigs. They usually have a  yellowish or orange color.

Related: How to Kill Mealybugs on Plants With Organic and Inorganic Methods?

Colorado Potato Beetles & Flea Beetles

Colorado Potato Beetles & Flea Beetles

Photo Credit Female adult flea beetles can lay approximately 100 smooth, yellow, elongated, oval eggs in one go.

The Colorado Potato Beetle is known for mainly feeding on plants that are members of the evening night shadow family. This family includes eggplants, tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers. Flea beetles, on the other hand, feed on both ornamental and edible plants, including fruits and vegetables. Adult beetles chew tiny holes in the leaves they feed on. These pinholes can significantly impact the plant’s look and use.

Colorado Potato Beetle & Flea Beetle Eggs

Both the Colorado Potato beetle and the flea beetle lay eggs that are either yellowish or orange in color. That should make determining the identity of these eggs a little bit simpler for you. These eggs can be found in the soil near the base of the afflicted plant.

Earworms

Earworms - insect eggs on leaves

Photo Credit Eggs of corn earworms.

Earworms are a pest that feeds on various vegetable crops’ leaves, buds, and flowers. They leave frass behind, eat lettuce heads and bean pods, create large cavities filled with water in the fruit, and damage seedlings. The maize earworm is the second most harmful insect in the United States and can also be quite damaging to ornamental crops.

Earworm Eggs

Their eggs start off being a pale green color, but as time goes on, they start to turn yellowish, then gray. The egg’s shape also changes from a flattened sphere to a tiny dome. They have a diameter and height of roughly 0.5 millimeters. 

Squash Bugs

Squash Bugs -- insect eggs on leaves

Photo Credit Female squash bugs lay their eggs in tiny clusters on the undersides of leaves, particularly between the veins.

Squash Bugs use their needle-like mouthparts to suck plant juices and assault the various parts of plants. As a direct consequence of this, yellow spots appear on plants that eventually turn brown, and the leaves themselves wind up drying out. In the event that the infestations become severe, the insects will also feed on flowers and fruits.

Squash Bug Eggs

The eggs that squash bugs lay are oval, about 1/16 of an inch long, and range in color from yellowish to bronze. They are present on the underside of the leaves and the stems.

Scales

Scales - insect eggs on leaves

Photo Credit Eggs of scales are placed under the female’s body, protecting them from predators.

Plant scales look like small flat or domed shells adhering to plant stems or the underside of leaves, mainly surrounding the main veins. Scale insects are one of the most prevalent and devastating garden pests. They can be found on outdoor plants and indoors, and identifying them can be challenging. Scale insects thrive in areas that are warm and dry.

Scale Eggs

You will see these insects but not their eggs. These insects are armored. They live in a waxy, nearly impenetrable shell. This protective shell is where the female lays her eggs. 

Once the eggs hatch, the motile “crawler” stage will move on the host to find a feeding spot. Scales are easily eliminated by insecticides when they are in the crawling stage of growth.

Harmful Pests That Lay White Eggs

Whiteflies

Whiteflies

Photo Credit Whitefly eggs are pale yellow when first laid and turn brown just before hatching.

Whiteflies are tiny, 1/16-inch long, white, wingless insects that feed on the sap of many different plants, including weeds, houseplants, garden flowers, and vegetables. Whiteflies can cause significant damage to plants by sucking their juices, which makes their leaves turn yellow, wither, and die off too soon. Yellow leaves, a sticky film on them, and restricted development indicate that you may have whiteflies or one of their relatives.

White Fly Eggs

Whiteflies are little, white insects that lay their eggs in a circular pattern just under the plant’s leaves and work their way up the plant from the bottom to the top. These insects can lay between 200 and 400 eggs in a single batch.

Cicadas

Cicadas

Photo Credit Cicadas do not bite and are harmless. However, they can damage small trees and shrubs if there are too many.

The difficulty with cicadas is that they feed on young woody plants of various kinds; in total, about 270 distinct species are susceptible to attack. Nevertheless, even during a significant emergence, the only damage adult cicadas are likely to inflict on plants is ovipositing, which is the only way they can reproduce. Cicada damage is rarely deadly or long-lasting, and the most vulnerable plants – young trees — may be quickly netted.

Cicada Eggs

Cicadas begin their life as eggs. The females will create tiny holes in the branches of trees and plants and then lay anywhere from 200 to 400 eggs in those holes. 

These eggs take between six and ten weeks to hatch. The immature insects fall to the earth, tunneling underground and attaching themselves to the plant’s roots.

Cutworms

Cutworms

Photo Credit Black cutworm eggs.

Cutworms are a bothersome pest that can be found in gardens. They are the larvae of moths that fly at night and take the form of caterpillars. When cutworms awake from their hibernation in the winter and begin feeding on seedlings, they cause the most harm. If you have a cutworm infestation during the night, it is not uncommon for an entire row of just planted vegetables in a garden to be uprooted. And that is where they get their names!

Cutworm Eggs

Cutworms also produce white eggs, but just before they hatch, the eggs turn darker. These eggs have a diameter of between 0.5 and 0.75 mm and are typically spherical.

Cutworms may lay hundreds of eggs on plants or in the ground. You can find these eggs around August and September.

How To Get Rid Of Harmful Eggs On The Plants

When you discover insect eggs on your plants and are positive that the eggs do not belong to beneficial insects, it is essential to take preventative measures. When faced with a challenge like this one, it is always advisable to adopt natural and organic remedies. 

The following is a list of some suggestions.

  • When you discover egg-covered leaves, spray a burst of water on them to knock the eggs off. This approach works best early in the season before the outbreak has completely taken hold of plants in your garden.
  • If water fails to remove eggs from plants, put on a pair of gardening gloves and knock them off the plants, branches, flower buds, or anywhere else you see them. Collect them in a bucket containing soap water to destroy them.
  • You can also apply a mixture of soap and water immediately to the aphids and the afflicted plant sections using a spray bottle, being sure to wet the undersides of the leaves where the eggs and larvae take shelter most of the time.
  • You will need something a bit harsher than soap solution to get rid of pests like mealybug and scale insects. So, dab a cotton swab soaked in alcohol over the leaves and rub these nasty pests off your plants.
  • You can also use some essential oils to produce your own insecticide spray. In a tiny spray bottle, combine water and four to five drops of the essential oils of peppermint, cloves, rosemary, and thyme. Spray the plants to kill any aphids, including their larvae and eggs.

How To Prevent Insect From Laying Eggs On Plants?

You must have heard that care is better than cure. So, if you live in an area prone to infestations from harmful bugs, you should try and stop the pest from laying eggs in the first place. Here are some tips to help you achieve that.

  • Every three days, check the leaves to ensure that all of the insects have been eradicated and that no further eggs are present.
  • Water your plants early in the morning, so they dry quickly and don’t attract pests.
  • Maintaining healthy soil through organic and chemical fertilizers can help increase the natural resistance of leaves to insects and their eggs.
  • You can also use olive oil. It is economical to supply the plant with extra nutrients and ward off egg-laying pests. Oils produce an unsuitable surface for insects to cling onto, and because the eggs do not have a dry base to attach to, they slip.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are these eggs on my plants?

The yellow or white eggs discovered on plant leaves could be the eggs of moths, beetles, aphids, or stink bugs. The eggs may have a pale yellow color when first laid, which can vary with time. The undersides of leaves are also home to spider mites that feed and lay their eggs. They’re pretty small, so a magnifying glass helps recognize them.

How do I get rid of insect eggs?

When you find eggs on certain leaves, you might be able to remove them by spraying a solid stream of water at the leaves. However, if it doesn’t work, you can also try scrubbing them off with your hands. That will, however, necessitate a strong stomach, particularly in the case of scale insects.

Which insect lays eggs on the underside of a leaf?

Insects will lay their eggs on both the upper and lower sides of plant leaves, protecting the developing larvae while also providing a source of nutrition for them. For instance, adult whiteflies lay their tiny white eggs in circular patterns from the base to the top of a plant on the undersides of leaves.

How do I get rid of insect eggs in my soil?

Dry the top layer of soil if it contains insects or bug eggs. After that, prepare the insecticide solution by mixing 1 part “3% hydrogen peroxide” with 4 parts water. Allow the mixture to sit for 30 minutes. Water your plants with it. Any gnat eggs or larvae in the soil will perish in a hydrogen peroxide solution.

What are the little white eggs in my soil?

It’s possible that you’ve confused soil mites, which are tiny white insects that forage in the soil, for eggs. However, if you are sure that the objects you observe in your garden soil are bug eggs, you must act quickly to take precautions before it’s too late.

What do aphid eggs look like on a plant?

Eggs laid by aphids can range in shape from elliptical to chisel-like and are attached to support either by gluing them on or by using a thread. Aphid eggs can be yellow, orange, or black in hue. During asexual reproduction, Aphids can give birth to live nymph clones without laying eggs.

What insect egg looks like rice?

Many Hymenoptera eggs, including honey bee eggs, resemble tiny grains of rice and are stored in separate chambers within the hive or nest. 

Ladybugs, a beneficial insect predator, also deposit their rice-like eggs in large heaps on vegetation close to concentrations of prey.

Sources For Further Reading

How do plants identify the harmful insect egg? 

Beneficial Bugs

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Morgan Daniels

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