Difference between pests and diseases in plants

When agriculture or gardening is concerned, we hear about “pests” and “diseases”, although the differences are not completely clear, especially when it comes to fungal infections.

Although we have spoken in previous articles about all kinds of conditions, both pests and diseases, in this post we will dedicate ourselves to explain the difference between them. Recognizing these differences will help you understand any problems that affect your plants and how to treat them properly.


The plant pests

Plague can be define as the “sudden and massive appearance of living beings of the same species that cause serious damage to animal or plant populations.” When we refer exclusively to plants, a pest is a series of living organisms that attack and destroy crops and plants, creating some kind of food relationship with the host.

One of the main differences between pests and diseases , is that the pests are reproduced in a sexual way by eggs or offspring depending on the species. The species can be classified into: Nematodes (worms), Molluscs (snails and slugs), Arthropods (insects and mites) and rodents (rats, mice, etc.). The most common and relevant in terms of agricultural damage caused are insects and mites.

Although the pests are annoying and can cause damage to our plants, they are usually easy to identify and treat.

Pests, in simple terms, are animals that feed on them, causing physical damage due to their way of extracting water and food from plants. The damages produced by the pests in the plants can be:

  • Wilted plants.
  • Stains on the leaves (yellow, brown or black).
  • Nibbling on leaves and stems.
  • Fall of the leaves.
  • Bad appearance on the floor.
  • Dry leaves.

The plant diseases

The diseases, on the other hand, are alterations of the physiology or morphology of the plants produced by the action of biotic or abiotic agents. These are reproduced sexually and / or asexually by spores and seeds according to the type of organism.

Biotic or parasitic diseases are caused by fungi, bacteria and viruses. While abiotic or non-parasitic are alterations caused by non-living beings such as climatic conditions, deficiencies in the supply of nutrients, presence of pathogenic molecules, chemical toxicity as a result of insecticides, etc.

Unlike pests, diseases are more difficult to detect and treat.

Symptoms of plant diseases :

  • Abnormal local swelling
  • Loss of rigidity and fall of plants.
  • Dead areas.
  • Incapacity in its development or abnormal development.
  • Distortion of the plant in its branches.
  • Stains on the leaves or fruits.
  • Inclination in the leaves due to lack of water.
  • Non-uniform coloring in the foliage.
  • Change in floral structure or leaves.
  • Death of the tissues of the plant.

The pests and plant diseases are conditions that can cause major or minor damage to your plants, so it is very important to always watch for signs to diagnose any problems pest or disease in time to treat them . Control and health, as well as providing your plants with the environmental conditions you need for their healthy growth, is the key to keeping your garden free of pests and diseases .


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