Beneficial Insects

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Give your Good Bugs a Hand!

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Pest Control

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Insect Problems
Fungus Problems
Beneficial Insects
Critter Problems
Azalea Problems
Invasive Plants
Houseplant Helper

 

Bugs, what are they good for?  Don't be too hasty - some are "good bugs."  These critters kill the "bad bugs."  

So if you see them around your garden, give 'em a hand - don't chase them away. 

Provide some egg-laying areas for them so they'll stay around and raise a family!

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Western Green Lacewing GREEN LACEWINGS

Lacewing larvae are voracious feeders upon aphids and other small insects, insect eggs, and spider mites. Attract them by planting pollen and nectar producing flowers.

Lacewing eggs or larvae may be purchased, but success may require practice. Holding eggs at room temperature until the larvae begin hatching, then sprinkling them on plants (about one to five per square foot of garden space), may be most effective.

Convergent Lady Beetle Larva LADY BEETLES

Convergent lady beetles are the most popular natural enemies sold, although their value is doubtful: they have a natural tendency to disperse when freed. To keep them around, try wetting plants first, and releasing beetles on the ground and under plants in the late evening (the beetles don't fly at night). Lady beetles feed on aphids, mealybugs, scale insects, or spider mites. One lady beetle female may eat 2,400 aphids during her life span.

photo PARASITIC WASPS

Too small to be noticeable, these miniwasps don't bother people or pets. These parasites reproduce by laying their eggs in a pest host (adult or egg). The immature wasp feeds inside and kills its host, causing the insect or egg to turn dark. A round hole can be often seen where the adult parasite has chewed its way out.

Different species may attack aphids, whiteflies, and butterflies or moths, such as cabbage loopers and hornworms. Many are available for sale to home gardeners.

mealybug destroyer MEALYBUG DESTROYERS

Both the larvae and adults of this lady beetle feed on mealybugs. They may also feed on aphids and immature scale insects. Each adult female lays hundreds of eggs in mealybug egg masses. When the beetle larvae hatch, they feed on immature mealybugs.

Mealybug destroyers need warm temperatures and high humidity, so are better suited for greenhouses. If you purchase them, they are shipped as adults and should be released as soon as possible.

adult carabid GROUND BEETLES

These very common garden insects feed on many soil-inhabiting pests such as cutworms and root maggots. Some types eat slugs and snails.

While shapes and colors may vary widely, they are usually shiny. Black is a common color, sometimes with a metallic sheen of another color on their wing covers. Most ground beetles feed at night and hide in the soil or under debris during the day.

ASSASSIN BUG ASSASSIN BUG

This aptly-named, vicious-looking bug is a voracious predator of many garden pests including flies, mosquitoes, beetles and large caterpillars. Adults measure to one inch long and have a cone-shaped head and wide curving beak. They can cause a painful bite to a human if captured. Some species are know to squeak if caught.

Females lay single eggs in cracks, under rocks or in other sheltered spots in summer, and new adults emerge around the following June. There is only one generation per year.

BUMBLE BEE BUMBLE BEE

Large and lumbering, black and yellow bumble bee adults are important pollinators of a variety of plants. Measuring up to one inch in length, these fuzzy insects make a loud droning buzz as they fly somewhat awkwardly from flower to flower.

Bumble bees nest in soil or leaf litter where a single queen lays 8 to 12 eggs in spring. Emerging workers are able to fly in very cool weather, making them a very valuable pollinator.

CENTIPEDE CENTIPEDE

This long (1/2 to three inches) many-legged creature is light brown to black in color and moves quickly. Centipedes have only one leg per segment. Millipedes, on the other hand, have two per segment. Centipedes prey on pests and insects in the soil including slugs, worms and fly pupae. They prefer moist areas in the garden and compost piles.

HONEY BEE HONEY BEE

Adults measure -inch long and are fuzzy, with gold and black stripes and transparent wings. Honey bees can often be identified by the balls of yellow pollen they carry on the backs of their legs. Honey bees are an important pollinator of many plants.

MINUTE PIRATE BUG MINUTE PIRATE BUG

So small (1/4-inch) they are often unnoticed but these little black-and-white checkered insects are fast-moving and prey upon thrips, spider mites and small caterpillars.

Grow goldenrod, daisies, yarrow and alfalfa to attract minute pirate bugs to your garden.

PREDATORY MITES PREDATORY MITES

Adult mites are tiny, about half a millimeter in length, and are beige to reddish tan. They resemble pest mites but are faster moving and have fewer hairs.

Predatory mites are valuable predators of pest mites such as spider and citrus mites, and are sold commercially for use on house plants, in greenhouses and on orchards and farms.

ROVE BEETLES ROVE BEETLES

These fascinating insects may resemble a tiny scorpion when they hold the tip of their abdomen up in the air. They are fast moving and measure 1/10 to one inch long. Depending upon species, rove beetles prey upon aphids, apringtails, mites, nematodes, slugs, snails, fly eggs and maggots. They also eat and help break down decaying organic material.

TACHNID FLY TACHNID FLY

Resembling house flies, tachnid flies are 1/3 to 1/2 inch in length and may be brown, gray or black in color. There are many species, many of which are predators of pest caterpillars including cutworms, codling moths, tent caterpillars, cabbage loopers and gypsy moth larvae.

Attract these valuable flies by planting flowers, and herbs such as dill, parsley and Queen Anne's Lace.

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