Common Pests of the Midwest

By Kelly Roberson

Are you frustrated by mystery pests that eat your vegetables and destroy your plants? Do you wonder why you have an overabundance of spiders everywhere you turn? It can be difficult to identify the guilty party, or if you know what they are, how to get rid of them. Insect and animal pests are problems throughout the country, but certain regions are more prone to specific types. Below are some of the most common pests that affect the Midwest.*


Unattractive, gray and squat, squash bugs are hardier than you might think. They overwinter in soil and emerge with the warm weather to decimate a variety of crops, including squash and pumpkins. Squash bugs suck the sap out of leaves, which causes wilting and plant death.

  • Designation: nuisance and harmful
  • Remedy: Avoid overwatering plants and practice healthy growing habits. Also practice crop rotation from year to year.

If possible, move spiders found in the home to outside, where they can do more good than damage.


Outside, spiders are a homeowner's good friend. They generally eat other nuisance and harmful insects and, in most cases, do no harm to humans. Some spiders bite and deliver painful venom, however, especially when they feel threatened.

  • Designation: nuisance, in most cases; generally helpful
  • Remedy: Apply Amdro Quick Kill Ant & Spider Killer granules around the home perimeter; keep yard and home free of debris; clear or trim plants so that they do not crowd the perimeter of your home; and seal any cracks in the home foundation.


Reduced habitats and prolific breeding have led to an explosion of deer in populated areas. Deer are often destructive, eating everything from small flowers to trees in all seasons.

  • Designation: nuisance and harmful
  • Remedy: Repellants only work for a short period of time, so add fencing and consider species of plants less palatable to deer.

* Remedy time and difficulty will vary by the size of the garden or yard; most involve taking simple steps. Follow all product label recommendations to ensure the greatest chance of solving the problem.