BENEFICIAL INSECTS FOR THE GARDEN
What benefits can insects have? The 3 P’s: Pollination for more and bigger harvest, Products such as honey, wax, silk, and medicine. Predation on pests.
- GROUND BEETLES: These bugs hide under rock, stones, groundcovers, and logs and feed on cutworms, slugs, snails, Colorado potato beetle larvae, root maggots. They can be black, brown or blue and are large with large pinchers.
- HOVERFLIES: (flower flies or syrphid flies). They are similar looking to small bees with gray green larvae that are similar to looking to slugs. The adults are great pollinators, especially for raspberries and strawberries.
- HUNTING AND PARASITIC WASPS: There are hundreds of tiny parasitic wasps, so small they are unseen by the human eye. They attack pest insects and caterpillars. Aphidus wasp are about 1/8” long with clear wings and a small waist. They lay their eggs in over 40 different kind of aphid nymph and mummify them.
- LADYBUGS: There are over 400 species in North America and most feed on aphids. They are attracted to nectar and pollen. Adults and larvae feed on aphids.
- LACEWINGS: Adults can be green or brown and are known for their large crimes wings “lace”. Adults feed on nectar, but larvae feed aggressively on aphids, caterpillars, mites, moth eggs, scales, and thrips.
- PREDATORY BUGS: This is a group of bugs that prey on other INSECTS and caterpillars. Included are:
Ambush bugs, Assassin bugs, (soldier bugs and big eyed bugs). There are many species of assassin bugs. They are about ½ “ or larger and have long spindly legs. The front legs are bristly for capturing prey. They have a long beak that injects toxin which liquefies the insides of prey. Then they drink the insides. Now that is a distinctive drink! The soldier bugs are attracted to shelter such as shrubs or grass. They attack aphids, cabbage worms, caterpillars, Colorado potato beetle, cucumber beetle, cutworms, earwigs, Japanese beetles, lace bug, Mexican bean beetle, tobacco budworms, and tomato hornworms. Damsel bugs, minute pirate bugs, big eyed bugs, praying mantis, and robber fly are other examples of predatory bugs.
- SPIDERS: All spiders eat insects. They can be attracted with mulch and perennials.
- TACHINID FLIES: Look like houseflies with big orange eyes. They attack armyworms, cutworms, gypsy bugs, Japanese beetles, sowbugs, and squash bugs. They are attracted by pollen and nectar.
- To attract beneficial insects they need places to hide, depending on which bug it could be stones, rocks, plants, mulch, etc. Some species also need pollen and nectar to feed on. All the more reason to plant a poyculture with perennials, herbs, vegetables, mulch, etc.
- A nice link to a chart of beneficial bugs: http://www.minifarmbox.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/natural-enemies-poster-9.jpg
- URBAN HOMESTEADING LINK: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Take-Back-Urban-Home-steadings/167527713295518
- Free Permaculture Course Link: http://www.permaculturedesigntraining.com/