Common Pests of the Northeast

By Kelly Roberson

What's digging up your lawn, eating your vegetables or destroying your flowers? The identity of the destructive culprits depends on where you live and what's in your yard. Although insect and animal pests are problems nationwide, certain areas of the country are more prone to vermin. Here are some of the most common insect and animal pests and ways to get rid of them by region.*


Japanese beetles have spread from the northeast to the west. They're voracious, with a wide-ranging appetite. They eat the leaf between veins and can decimate landscape plants, trees and flowers.

  • Designation: nuisance and harmful
  • Remedy: Choose Japanese beetle-resistant flower and plant species, and treat with a relevant insecticide, such as Sevin. For spot treatment, consider Sevin Dust; for all-over application, try Sevin Ready-to-Spray.


Prodigious destroyers of vegetable gardens—particularly anything in the Brassica family, including Cabbages, Brussels Sprouts and Broccoli—cabbageworms move slowly along plants, eating leaves and leaving droppings.

  • Designation: nuisance
  • Remedy: Keep your garden free of debris and weeds; adequately water to encourage beneficial insects, such as parasitic wasps; and use row covers to protect plants until they are healthy.


Moles live underground where they eat grubs and dig seemingly endless tunnels, destroying lawns from below. Gophers, on the other hand, live above ground and quickly eat through garden beds in a constant search for food.

Their telltale green color provides cabbageworms a useful disguise.

*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.