Indeed, not all insects can be considered pests. Many bugs are helpful for your garden. Experts recognize the help provided by these beneficial insects and the injury done by the harmful pests.
As such, in this guide, you will learn about the bugs that are helpful in your garden.
Beneficial Insects: Aphid Parasite
This is one of the beneficial insects in your garden. These tiny parasitic wasps called Aphidius Coleman
can lay their eggs inside the aphids, resulting in their death. Aphids
are small-sucking insects that feed on the plant sap. When the plant is infested with aphids, it can wilt or turn its leaves into yellow.
The Aphid parasite can detect the aphid's honeydew secretions. It can also sense the distress signals of the infested plants. When it is on the plant, it will inject its egg into the aphid.
As the egg hatches, the larvae will start to consume the pest from the inside. Then, the resulting wasp will emerge from the rear of the dead aphid and find another prey. The surviving aphids will react by emitting an alarm pheromone. Then, this will lead to the flight of the colony, such as falling to the ground and they die.
Indeed, the aphid parasites are appropriate for greenhouse
and garden use
. It can be used to both combat infestations and prevent further harm to the plant. The adult wasps can survive for two to three weeks. They can lay eggs in as many as 300 aphids throughout their lifetime. If you wish to check if they are working, search the brown and mummified shells from the dead aphids.
To release the aphid parasite, spread the material on the Rockwool slabs or soil. Remember that the aphid parasites thrive at higher temperatures that are greater than 80 degree-Fahrenheit. Then, you must repeat this procedure for 2 to 3 weeks or as needed. Take note that you will start to see 'mummies' in the plants for 10 to 14 days after your first application of the parasites.
Beneficial Insects: Nematode
The Beneficial Nematodes
are considered soil-dwelling parasites. They are microscopic, yet they actively hunt pests beneath the soil. They can penetrate and destroy over 230 various problems that mature in the ground. Examples are fleas, Japanese beetles, fungus gnats, and borers.
They find harmful insects to our garden
plants and shrubs. They can also help the trees in their soil-born stage and destroy the pests on the trees from inside out. Studies provide that beneficial nematodes are present in soils around the world.
When the nematodes are released into the soil, they will find the larvae and pupae of the pests. They can do this by sensing the carbon dioxide and heat that they can generate. Meanwhile, they can enter the pests' bodies through their orifices. Sometimes, they also stick directly to their skin. Furthermore, they will continue to feed on the pests' remains and multiply when needed. They do this before exhausting it and leave it to look for another food source.
Remember that the nematodes do not prey on earthworms, ladybugs, and other beneficial insects. They are also harmless to plants, animals, and humans. Since these organisms consume their hosts in the soil, they do not leave any traces behind. As such, it isn't easy to find evidence of their effectiveness.
However, they are appropriate for use in gardens, lawns, shrubs, and trees. They will need to have moist conditions so they can facilitate more significant movement underneath the soil.
To release the nematodes, scatter them over the infected area and then water them. Ideally, nematodes must be applied at sunset to prevent their death from sunlight.
Meanwhile, if you wish to control other insects, you must prepare a water suspension. After that, inject or spray the solution into the burrows. Repeat this step for a minimum of three weeks.
are effective pollinators compared to other pollinating insects, just like honeybees. Bumblebees or the Bombus impatiens are considered the environment's most industrious pollinator. Because of their existence, they have facilitated the yielding of fruits of various tree fruits and vegetables. The intensive pollination of bumblebees leads to greater yields. This is true for tomatoes, strawberries, peppers, and cherries. Indeed, bumblebees help feeds the world.
On the hind legs of the bumblebees, one can find that they carry large pollen baskets. The pollen will stick to their hairy abdomens that will be deposited during their visits from one blossom to another. They do these successive visits before they return to their hives. The hives are where the gathered pollen is being stored and converted into food. In this area, the bumblebees feed their offspring. During the flowering season, the hive itself will increase because of the increase in food sources.
According to experts, bumblebees can defend their homes from other intruders, similar to other pollinators. They also keep the hives cool during hot weather. They do this by aligning themselves in staggered lines, and they use their wings to fan the hive. Indeed, the bumblebees are among Mother Earth's most fascinating and necessary creatures.
To release the bumblebees, you can put the hive 1 to 3 feet above the ground in a protected area. See to it that you do not place the give in the foliage. After setting it, let the hive calm down for an hour before you open the flight hole. If possible, open the flight hole, especially when the ventilation windows are closed, especially during the early evening. This will prevent the loss of workers.
Beneficial Insects: Fly Predator
The fly predator is small and beneficial insects that attack and kill the flies. They do it whenever the pests are still in their immature pupal stage. Studies show that fly predator is harmless to humans and animals.
The fly predators are nature's first line of defense against the flies, even the common housefly. The female predator will find a host pupa. Then, it will drill through its cocoon. After that, it will lay several eggs inside it. The parasitoids will kill the pupa and consume it.
The adult predator will emerge from its host after two to three weeks. Then, it will seek out other pupae for its eggs, destroy the filth flies before reaching the adult stage, and lay more eggs. Indeed, these parasites play an essential role in controlling flies in the chicken coops, manure piles, garbage sites, corrals, and other places that keeps flies and their maggots.
This predator is best introduced in the early season before the flies have a chance to survive. The parasite does not bite or sting. It is also harmless to plants, animals, and humans.
The release rates will depend on various factors, similar to other beneficial insects. Large animals like horses and cows must be 500 per animal, and for medium animals like goats and sheep, it must be 250 per animal. In the case of small animals like rabbits and birds, it must be five per animal. Lastly, for manure and compost piles, it must be five per cubic foot.
Indeed, it is recommended throughout the pest season since flies have a much shorter life cycle than parasites. They can produce more eggs in a shorter period. It will become more effective than one significant release whenever you release small amounts of parasites each week or month.
Remember that the fly predators will not attack the adult flies. As such, it is best to keep the existing population as low as possible. Use one flytrap and even baits. If there is a quick knockdown, you must avoid spraying near the breeding sites where the beneficial insects live. This will only do more harm than good to the insects.
Apart from this type of beneficial insect, you must employ a combination of measures to achieve the biggest reduction of flies. Try cultural control or sanitation, water management, and manure management.
Beneficial Insects: Fungus Gnat Predator
The root-feeding fungus gnats
can be damaging to the plant seedlings. It can prevent growth and even transmit disease. This fungus gnat predator or Hypoaspis miles
is a brown mite that feeds on fungus gnat larvae. It also feeds on springtails, thrips, and other soil-borne larvae.
The predator has long legs and a fine-hair back. Its punctures will damage the pest larvae and the feeds on the inside. Indeed, the gnat predator is hard to spot. It lives in the top layers of the soils and prefers to have moist conditions.
To release it, turn the shake bottle to mix the contents. Then, spread the material evenly on the rock wool block or soil. Make sure not to apply in a pothole near the plant stem.
Beneficial Insects: Green Lacewing
Despite its beautiful name, green lacewing
or Chrysoperla Rufilabris
is dangerous to all soft-bodied insects plus its eggs. During its adult stage, it feeds to nectar and pollen only. Aphid wolf or aphid lion is in the larval stage, and it now becomes a consumer of problem insects. It can even consume around 200 aphids in one week. If the food runs out, it will eat other lacewing larvae.
The green lacewing can lay around 200 eggs near a colony of aphids or a slender stalk popularly known as egg stalk. This is attached to the underside of a plant leaf. After it hatches, the larvae will climb the branch to look for their prey. Then, the larvae will continue to feed for two to three weeks. After that, the spin cocoons are now ready to lay more eggs.
You can release this whenever a few tint larvae are seen moving out of the container. Then, turn and shake the container to mix the contents. You can spread the material evenly over the infested area. You can opt for the second release after two weeks later, whenever necessary.
The ants will feed on the honeydew that sucking insects produce. This will protect these pests from their natural enemies. As much as possible, control the ants before release.
The lady beetles
are the subject of popular children's books. It is even considered is a universal sign of luck. The lady beetles, also known as ladybirds or Hippodamia convergens, spend their lives in adult and larval stages. They feed on mites, aphids, eggs, and soft-bodied bugs.
Every gardener will share with you their experience of finding the bright yellow eggs of the lady beetles on the plant leaves and stems. After one week, the eggs will hatch, and the larvae will emerge and seek food. The larvae will continue to go through the three molting stages, depending on several factors. It will pupate after three to four weeks. After one week, another adult will emerge, which is ready to resume feeding.
During a growing season, the lady beetle will go through one or two generations. It is often synchronized with the advent of aphid infestations. The plants that provide the adults with a source of pollen and nectar will benefit the insects that stay in your garden.
The adult ladybugs are shipped in cotton bags with wood shavings. To release it, you have to water the area to be protected first. Then, gently shake the contents evenly over the pest infestation. Make sure that you do not release the ladybugs during the sunny part of the day. Please wait until the evening or do it in the early morning. With enough food available, the ladybugs will more likely stay in the area. But, it is not uncommon for them to fly away, especially if not enough food is available.
The larvae can eat around 400 aphids before pupating. Meanwhile, adults can consume 5,000 aphids during their lifetime.
In sum, correct plant maintenance will go a long way to minimize diseases in the garden. If you have a healthy garden, it will attract lizards, ladybugs, and other beneficial insects. For each undesirable insect in the garden, also a predator will eat that insect. The beneficial insects stated above are available for purchase. However, they will not stay long in your garden unless they have a food source.
Remember, find out which beneficial insect will work best for your situation and get to work. Biological control methods, such as using these insects, must not be viewed as immediate solutions. It will take a few days or weeks to see results. Be patients and make sure that you play your part by providing suitable habitat for these insects.