Knowledge from Olle Garden Bed: Some Garden Bugs You Should Never Kill
For many of us, seeing a creepy creeper in our beautiful garden will arouse an ancient instinct - squeezing it. But wait! Look again before you smash that small animal. Many insects living in the garden are there, because this is their favorite food - other insects - a veritable buffet. Usually, these insects are eating insects that damage your garden. The following content also has some reference value for raised garden beds.
By allowing, and even purposefully adding, useful bugs to your garden, you let nature take some of the work away from keeping your garden pest free.
It may be preferable to use these little guys, and they are usually more effective than pesticides.
Insecticides are indiscriminate and will eventually destroy all insects, good or bad. As the population of all insects is declining due to climate change, we need to think more carefully about how to deal with pests in the backyard. We can start by shelving pesticides and let insects work for us.
Let me introduce some insect allies who are friendly to the garden.
You can even buy some of these useful insects and add them to your garden. It's strange to think, isn't it?
- Aphids and midges
Aphids and midges are members of the Cecidomyiid family. They like to eat more than 60 different types of aphids. The best part is that if you have aphid problems, midges may already be on the way. Aphids make "honeydew" to attract aphids and midges.
Pay attention to the small orange eggs under the leaves of plants. They will become fat small orange larvae. Larvae eat aphids, they eat a lot!
The aphid midge larvae will happily eat about 50+aphids every day, and they will continue to eat for up to a week.
Once they eat enough, the larvae fall off the plants and drill into the soil. Here, they will become adult midges and start the whole process again.
If there is one thing that scares tomato growers everywhere, it is to find hornworms on your favorite tomato plants.
These giant caterpillars are the epitome of Eric Carle's "very hungry caterpillars". They have a greedy appetite. It takes only a few hornworms to destroy your entire tomato crop.
Enter wasps from Hymenoptera Wasp family (think wasps, bees and ants).
The wasp is nature's cruel answer to the huge and clumsy hornworm. These slender and delicate wasps are parasites. This means that the larvae of wasps live on the host insects, and the host inevitably dies.
These slender wasps have slender legs, orange bodies and black wings. They have a long sting, but don't worry. It's for hornworms, not for you. Wasps do not sting.
The female wasp lays eggs in the body of the hornworm caterpillar. The larvae finally come out of the caterpillars to feed. Then they spin tiny white cocoons on the caterpillar's body, where they pupate into adult wasps and kill the host insects.
- Maiden worm
The maiden bug comes from the family Nabiaceae. They sound delicate, don't they? Maiden insects get their name because of the way they lift their forelegs in the air - like lifting the hem of a skirt. Yes, I don't know. I also think it's a bit far fetched. They range from green to brown to brown, and have pulse wings on the back.
I won't bring your bloody details, but do you remember those cute forelegs that are said to hold up skirts? No, those legs catch and catch the prey.
The good news is that their prey is common garden pests, such as insect eggs, aphids, mites, and even small caterpillars.
Girls are so-called "versatile predators", which basically means they are not picky eaters. Girls also eat other predatory insects, such as tiny pirates or assassins. If prey is scarce, they will eat each other.
Although you can't buy girl bugs, you can encourage them to wander in your garden. Stop using pesticides and provide a variety of plants to attract them to hang out.
- Ground beetles
I bet you've seen ground beetles everywhere in your garden in the past, but do you realize what a good bug it is?
They are often black or brown, ranging in length from 1/8 inch to 11/2 inch. Usually, when you move a stone to their hiding place, you will find them. These guys are also double eating pests on the ground and underground.
The ground beetle is part of the Karabid family. It usually lives for about four years and winters underground.
As larvae, they live under the soil and eat many common underground garden pests. On the ground, these beetles eat almost all the other insects caterpillars, slugs, maggots and other pests. Some ground beetles even eat the seeds of certain weeds, such as thistles, foxtail and ragweed.
Who doesn't want this industrious insect to appear in their garden?
To encourage ground beetles to roam your garden, provide them with a place to stay during the day, as they are nocturnal. A log or several large flat rocks is a good starting point.
Give the ground beetles some perennial plants, provide shade and shelter, and you will have a happy little garden helper.
Aphids belong to the Silphidae family. Because of their color and pattern, these flies are often mistaken for some type of bee or wasp. never mind; They don't bite.
Their name comes from their ability to hover in the air. Think of them as drones in the fly world.
When you have aphids wandering in the garden, aphids have no chance. Aphid honeydew naturally attracts aphid eating flies. If you have aphid problems, you may be looking for help, so watch out for these lively flies.
The larvae look a little like small green sea cucumbers. They are people who eat everything. Not only aphids, they also sometimes eat small caterpillars and thrips. As adults, aphid eaters become small pollinators, making them a popular addition to any garden.
Green lace is another example of a generalist predator - not a picky eater.
These small insects are small and delicate, with slender green bodies, long antennae and nearly transparent wings. Like many bugs on our list, they are just waiting for the next meal to reveal their true nature - predators.
The eggs of the green lacy bird are very beautiful. Each egg sits at the end of a thin stem, only the thickness of the silk thread.
After hatching, the larvae are hungry worms. Although their favorite food is aphids, they can eat almost any soft insects, including mealybugs, leafhoppers, and even small caterpillars.
In adulthood, lace wings become useful pollinators, feeding on aphid nectar and plant nectar and pollen.
Similarly, the best way to encourage the emergence of these useful insects is to put away pesticides. If you like, you can even buy lace larvae to fill your garden.
Whether you call them ladybugs, ladybugs or ladybugs, these shiny shelled creatures are known for their beneficial insects. And you can hardly find more lovely bugs in your garden.
Another aphid eater, ladybird, can really pack pests. It is estimated that a ladybird can eat about 5000 aphids in its lifetime.
They will not stop at aphids; Ladybugs also eat mites, eggs and scale insects.
Similarly, this is another kind of insect. Hungry larvae do most pests eat. But you may be surprised to find that the larvae don't look like cute adult beetles at all.
This is indeed a case of beauty and beast, because ladybird larvae look a little like creepy little crocodiles. They have long, spiny bodies, are black, and have orange spots on both sides - another reason to be careful about what you squeeze in the garden.
Ladybugs are particularly attracted to such herbs as marigold, marigold, yarrow, cosmos and dill, coriander and chives.
- Pink Scale Destroyer
You must appreciate the insect's ability to control pests when it is named after the pests it eats.
These guys are cousins of ladybirds from the coccididae family, but they don't have fancy painting work. They are dark brown or black and orange on the head and back.
As a larva, the scale breaker is a wolf in sheep's clothing. They look a bit like mealybug larvae because they have white curly coverings on their bodies. However, you can quickly distinguish them from actual mealybugs by their larger size. In order to further help destroy the infestation of mealybugs, female mealybugs will lay their eggs in the middle of the egg bag of prey.
Both larvae and adults eat their favorite prey. A scale breaker can eat hundreds of scale insects in his life. Because they eat both eggs and larvae of mealybugs, I think you will agree that the name of the mealybug saboteur is very appropriate.
- Minute Pirate
The tiny pirate bug or Orius bug is one of the few insects on our list that may bite you.
Although these versatile predators like to eat thrips, mites, insect eggs, leafhoppers, corn borers and other soft insects, they are also known to bite people. Usually, they are not aggressive. If you leave them alone, they will leave you alone.
This is another kind of insect that will eat other insects throughout its life cycle. The tiny pirate nymphs are small, teardrop shaped and orange. They begin to elongate and turn brown when they mature. Adult small pirate insects are dark brown or black, with black and white wings folded on their backs.
Strangely, they are also called flower insects, and the pictures they depict are completely different from those of pirate insects.
These insects are usually one of the first beneficial insects to appear on the site every spring. You can find them where their prey likes to hide. So, if you plant strawberries, corn, beans, tomatoes or potatoes, please open your eyes to look for this hungry bug, man!
- Spiders and spiders are one of those creepy reptiles that can make people feel nervous, but they play their role in the nature and should also have a place in your garden.
You may even be surprised to find that spiders are incredible hunters. I'm looking at you, tarantula. They are one of the best beneficial insects in the garden.
Spiders attack and eat almost all the pests we try to keep away from the garden. Although it is easy to find web weavers, other types of spiders are rare, but they are excellent hunters. Spider webs do not harm the plants in which they live. These elegant creatures make a living by eating a lot of pests.
Although most spiders are not dangerous, there are some species whose bites can cause real harm, such as brown hermits or black widows. But the good news is that they rarely choose gardens as their preferred habitat.
No, spiders don't discriminate. They will eat all worms, including beneficial ones. However, the benefits of keeping spiders in your garden far outweigh the costs.
So, the next time you see a hairy legged spider jumping away, please resist the urge to smash it.
Another kind of hungry omniscient predator, the stinging army bug, is often mistaken for the common Euchistus bedbug, which feeds on your plants. You can identify stingers by sharp shoulders and red antennae.
The nymph or larva, as they call it, has a red body, a black head, and several black stripes on its back. In their first nymph stage, they will not eat, but once they pupate to the next continuous stage, they will eat, eat, eat.
When it comes to generalist predators, these guys eat cakes. They will eat almost any pest you can think of. If they run out of prey, they will become cannibals.
They like to eat beetles and moth larvae. I see that it is estimated that they eat 50 to 100 different kinds of pests, so these insects make money.
Stingbug is one of the more popular insects commercially purchased for pest control. Once released, they will spread far and fast, eating pests in the way. You can even purchase pheromones to attract them to your garden.
The stinging bugs spare no effort to show us that not all bedbugs are equal.
Flies are somewhat different from all the other beneficial insects that we are currently discussing. They are often mistaken for common houseflies. They are different in size, shape and color. As a gardener, you may not even notice their existence.
Once again, we found that reproductive behavior is the cause of killing the pest host. Female flies either lay eggs outside the host and let maggots burrow into the host after hatching, or insert eggs into the host, where they will hatch and devour the host from inside out. Who knew that such atrocities were taking place in rows of beans and tomatoes?
They are another kind of beneficial insects that can be attracted to your garden by planting flowers. The adult flies feed on nectar and pollen, so let the adult flies touch the flowers to ensure the destructive consequences to nearby pests.
The Taccini fly is another parasite. Fortunately, its host is often the pest we are trying to get rid of. Potato beetles, pumpkin worms, cabbage circular caterpillars, sawfly larvae, grasshoppers, hornworm caterpillars, and even Japanese beetles constitute the host list.
Here's the thing.
The more pesticides we use, the less insects we have overall. With the massive use of pesticides, we created more work for ourselves by eliminating our six legged garden allies.
As you can see, if we stop harassing insects, nature will have a way to create a fair competition environment for us. I hope you can try some useful pest control.