14 Types of Yellow Bugs on Plants

Yellow bugs on plants are insects with a yellow hue found dwelling on foliage and stems. They vary widely, with some causing significant harm to the flora, while others are benign or even beneficial to the plant ecosystem. Identifying whether these yellow critters are friends or foes is crucial to managing plant health and ensuring a thriving garden.

Yellow Bugs that are Pests

Yellow bugs that are pests are small insects with a yellow color. They live on plants and cause harm. These bugs feed on the plants’ parts, like leaves and stems, or suck their sap. This can make the plants sick. Some yellow bugs can also give plants diseases. These pests can stop the plants from growing well.

They might even kill the plants if there are too many bugs. Farmers and gardeners try to keep these yellow bugs away to protect their plants. It is important to know about these pests to keep plants healthy.

1. Aphids

Aphids are small bugs often found on plants. They have a yellow color and a big appetite for plant sap. When they feed, they use their mouthparts to suck out the sap. This causes problems for the plant. Leaves may twist or curl, turn yellow, not grow properly, or the plant might even die.

Aphids can quickly become a big issue because they multiply fast, especially in warm weather. They are common pests to many gardeners and farmers.

aphids on plant leaf


2. Thrips

Thrips are thin bugs that poke holes in plants to drink their juices. This hurts the plants because it makes the leaves twist, turn yellow, and not grow well. They are tiny enough that you might not see them without looking closely. When thrips attack, they can do a lot of damage, especially if there are many of them.

Since they go after a lot of different plants, gardeners often have to deal with them. These insects can also spread diseases from one plant to another, which makes the problem worse. Therefore, it’s important to stop thrips early on to keep your plants healthy.



3. Striped & Spotted Cucumber Beetle

The Striped & Spotted Cucumber Beetle is a type of yellow bug. It mainly attacks plants like cucumbers, squash, and melons. These bugs have bright colors with stripes or spots. They chew on the plants and cause damage. The leaves get holes, and the fruits can rot. Sometimes, the beetles can kill the plant. Gardeners try to keep them away to protect their crops.

These beetles not only harm the plants by eating them but can also spread diseases, making the plants sick. Therefore, these beetles are pests that can cause big problems for farmers and gardeners.

Spotted Cucumber Beetle

4. American Rose Chafer

The American Rose Chafer is an insect that likes to eat parts of plants. It has a preference for the pretty parts of a plant, such as flowers, leaves, and the part that becomes fruit, which we often enjoy, like on roses and grapevines. These bugs are yellowish-green in color and can be spotted by their long, spindly legs.

Gardeners usually know them well because they can cause a lot of damage to their beloved plants. When they group up, the American Rose Chafer can quickly eat through a plant, hurting its ability to grow and bloom. Despite their name, they don’t just focus on roses; they will attack many different plant types if given the chance.

American Rose Chafer

5. Stink Bug Nymphs

Stink bug nymphs are the young bugs that have not yet grown into adults. They are yellow and feed on the juices found inside plants. These bugs use needle-like parts in their mouths to pierce the plant and suck out the nutrients. Their feeding can be harmful because it can lead to adult stink bugs coming around.

When these bugs grow up, they can create large groups, known as infestations. Infestations can damage a lot of plants in gardens or farms. Therefore, even though the nymphs are small, their action of feeding on plants is a big problem. It can lead to more bugs coming and eating plants, which can be difficult to manage.

Stink Bug Nymphs

6. Termites: Dampwood and Formosan

Termites are small, yellow insects that often eat wood. Two types, dampwood and Formosan termites, enjoy wet wood and can weaken structures like houses or decks. They chew through the inside of wood, making it hollow, and over time this can lead to serious damage.

Dampwood termites usually live in logs or trees with a lot of moisture. Formosan termites are more aggressive and can destroy a lot of wood quickly. These termites can be a big problem for homeowners because they can cause the house to need expensive repairs.


7. Yellow Flies

Yellow flies are a type of flying insect known for their aggressive behavior. They have a yellowish body and tend to bite people and animals. Their bites can be very uncomfortable. When a yellow fly bites, it often causes a swelling. This swelling is red, itchy, and can hurt quite a bit. They can turn a sunny day outside into an unpleasant experience.

These flies mostly appear in warm, humid areas, especially near water. Since they can bite through clothing, they can be hard to avoid. It is important to protect yourself by wearing bug repellent or staying away from areas where yellow flies are common. They are not just a nuisance because of the itching; their bites can also become infected if not cared for properly.

Yellow Flies

8. Yellow-Striped Leafhopper

The yellow-striped leafhopper is a small insect that lives on plants. Its body is slender, and it has distinctive yellow stripes. This bug sucks the juice from plants as its food. While doing this, it can spread diseases from one plant to another. However, even though it can cause some harm, it is not seen as a big threat to plants.

It does not destroy plants as severely as some other pests do. People who grow plants keep an eye out for these leafhoppers but do not worry about them too much. They focus on controlling bigger threats to their plants.


Yellow-Striped Leafhopper

Yellow Bugs that are Not Pests

Some yellow bugs found on plants do no harm. They either help the plant or simply live around it without causing problems. These bugs can have roles that benefit the environment and don’t damage your garden.

For example, yellow ladybugs eat pests like aphids, protecting plants. Springtails break down dead plants and help nutrients return to the soil. Booklice feed on mold and keep storage areas free from decay. Yellow velvet ants, which are not true ants, hunt other insects but leave plants alone.

Mayflies only live as flying insects for a short time and are not a threat to plants. Water mites are essential predators in ponds and streams, keeping aquatic life in balance, and they steer clear of terrestrial plants. These bugs might be bright and noticeable, but they’re not plant destroyers.

Yellow Ladybugs

Yellow ladybugs are helpful bugs you might find on plants. They eat aphids, which are tiny bugs that harm plants by sucking their juices. This makes yellow ladybugs good for your garden. Even though they look cute and small, they are like warriors that protect plants from being damaged.

Not only do they eat aphids, but they also munch on other pests that could ruin your plants. With yellow ladybugs around, your plants have a better chance of staying healthy and strong. So, if you see these yellow bugs with black spots, know that they are friends to your garden.

Yellow Ladybugs


Springtails are small yellow bugs often found on plants. They prefer to feed on decaying roots and fungi. These insects jump around in the soil, which is how they get their name. Springtails are very important in breaking down dead plant material. This process of breaking down is called decomposition.

They play a role in creating healthy soil that helps plants grow. Even though they are bugs, springtails do not harm humans. They don’t bite or cause any diseases. Instead of being pests, they help gardens by improving the soil.



Booklice are tiny bugs that enjoy eating mold. They don’t bite or sting, which means they aren’t dangerous in that way. However, they can be a problem when they get into places where food is stored. If booklice find their way into your pantry, they can spoil the food by being present in large numbers.

They do this not by eating the food, but by being where the food is. Since they prefer mold, they are often found in moist environments. It’s important to keep areas where food is stored dry and clean to prevent booklice from moving in.


Yellow Velvet Ants

Yellow velvet ants are insects that hunt other bugs or live off them like parasites. Despite their name, they are not true ants but are a type of wasp. They are quite uncommon to see. While their sting can hurt a lot, they don’t usually cause problems for plants. These insects are often bright yellow with fuzzy bodies, which is why they are called velvet ants.

They are mostly seen alone and not in large groups. If you find them in your garden, they are probably hunting small insects or laying their eggs, but they are not there to harm your plants. Therefore, even though they might look scary and can sting, yellow velvet ants are not considered plant pests.


Mayflies are a type of yellow bug that come out mostly when the weather is warm. They eat many different things, but they usually don’t hurt plants. These bugs have a very short adult life. They are known for swarming around lights at night. Mayflies spend most of their life as nymphs in water before they become flying adults.

When they are active, they do not focus on plants, so they are not a threat to your garden. They are part of a healthy ecosystem. Mayflies can sometimes be seen near ponds or streams. They are important because they are food for fish and other creatures.

Even though they have yellow in their color, mayflies are friends to plants, not enemies.


Water Mites

Water mites are tiny creatures that live in water. They hunt for food by preying on even smaller animals, like zooplankton and various tiny water creatures. These mites play a role as predators in the water ecosystem. They do not harm plants because their food sources are different.

They focus on catching and eating their small prey in the water. This way, water mites help control populations of other aquatic critters without affecting the health of plants.

Pests   Updated: November 27, 2023
avatar Hi, I'm Amy, a devoted horticulturist and the creator of PlantIndex.com, where I use my expertise to help beginners foster their green thumbs. My blog is a vibrant community where I unravel the complexities of gardening and share my profound love for nature.
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