All bugs are not created equal. All bugs are not pests. Many bugs can be beneficial to your home
garden and should be left alone to reduce the actual PESTS. The only problem is that to the untrained eye, a bug is a bug is a bug. O’ ye of little training! Let’s do some research and start letting Mother Nature work in our favor by using our good guy insects to control the bad guy pests.
Two regularly touted best bugs of the garden are the Ladybug/ladybird beetle and the Praying Mantis.They are easily distinguishable to the untrained eye, but may not always be the best choice as pest control for your garden.
The Praying Mantis lay in wait for their prey, so they do not move from plant to plant, actively hunting. They will also eat any insect, beneficial or not. The larger mantids may even eat smaller salamanders and frogs, both of which can be beneficial to the positive balance of your garden eco system.
The Ladybug is a good controller for aphids, asparagus beetle larvae, Colorado potato beetle larvae, lace bugs, mealy bugs, Mexican bean beetle larvae, scale, spider mites, whiteflies, and eggs of several other insects. Up to 5,000 aphids can be eaten by one ladybug in its’ life span, which is 4-7 weeks from egg to adult. Ladybugs do emit a distinct odor that may ward off other Bad Pest consuming insects, so that’s ten of one and fifteen of the other. You’ll have to decide which good bug is most needed to eradicate the pests in your garden. Some lesser known good bugs that can eat away at your bad pests are Aphidius Wasp and the Parasitic Wasp.
The Aphidius Wasp is about 1/8 inch long and dark brown, has clear wings, and a smaller waist between the head and abdomen. They are hard to notice due to their small size, but if you see aphid “mummies” you will know that you have them in your garden. The wasp actually lie their eggs
in a single aphid nymph and when the egg hatches, the wasp larvae feeds off of the aphid as it matures. YUCK! But, on a good note, aphid+aphidius larvae=dead aphid. Good plants to have around to attract the good guys are; alyssum, buckwheat, oregano, sage, sunflower and thyme.
The Parasitic Wasp is another small non stinging wasp and can be a huge benefit to your garden in reducing the number of bad insects. There are over 200 species of pests that they act as a parasite to. They work the same way as the aphidius wasp does, in laying eggs inside or on the host insect. The wasp eggs then hatch and feed off of the insect, resulting in the death of the host insect. They can kill bag worms, cabbage worms, corn ear worms, and cucumber beetles, to name a few. The adult wasp eats nectar and pollen, so you should plant many blossoming flowers and herbs. Zinnia, dill and fennel are good choices.
Keep your garden and our environment healthy by using some of the featured natures’ exterminators today!
Much of today’s information was gathered using, “Good Bug,
Bad Bug” by Jessica Walliser