Beneficial Insects

WHY USE BENEFICIAL INSECTS?

Chemical Pesticides | The most obvious benefit to using these insects is not having to use chemical pesticides. The non-toxic approach allows you to grow your plants organically.

Good Bugs | Chemical pesticides don’t only wipe out the bad bugs, they kill the beneficial insects as well. This is bad news for the long-term maintenance of your garden as there won’t be a population of natural predators to feed on these pests. Pesticides may be effective at wiping out the first wave of pests, but leave you open to later damage without repeated spraying.

Cost Saver | Beneficial insects are there to stay if you can build an environment for them to thrive in. Occasionally you’ll need to purchase a house for the beneficial insects but only if the insects are not native to your area.

Resistance | Several insects are starting to show a resistance to chemical pesticides. According to studies, between 500 and 1,000 insects have developed resistance to pesticide since 1945. However, there is nothing a pest can do if it’s getting eaten by a predator.

* = Commercially Available

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LADYBUG

Prey | Aphids, Whitefly, Mites, Scale, Thrips, Fleas, Colorado Potato Beetle

Attracted By | Dill, Dandelion, Fern-leaf Yellow, Basket of Gold, Common Yarrow

Facts | Ladybugs can consume more than 5,000 aphids during their lifetime. Also called Ladybirds in the UK.

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PRAYING MANTIS

Prey | Wide range including Caterpillars, Moths, Beetles, and Crickets

Attracted By | Tall Grasses, and Shrubs, Cosmos, Marigolds, Dill

Facts | Mantis can turn their heads 180 degrees to view their surroundings. Adults grow 2”-3” long.

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SPIDERS

Prey | Wide range including Bed Bugs, Aphids, Roaches, Caterpillars, Grasshoppers, Fruit Flies

Attracted By | Tall plants for Weaving Spiders, mulch for Predatory Spiders

Facts | Most spiders complete their life cycle in one year.

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GROUND BEETLES

Prey | Slugs, Caterpillars, Colorado Potato Beetles, Cutworms

Attracted By | Evening Primrose, Amaranthus, Clover and around Root Crops

Facts | Ground Beetles are typically only active at night.

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APHID MIDGES

Prey | Aphids

Attracted By | Dill, plants with plenty of pollen and nectar, source of water

Facts | Aphid Midges can attack 60 different species of aphids

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BRACONID WASPS

Prey | Tomato Hornworm, Tobacco Hornworm, Caterpillars, Aphids

Attracted By | Fern-leaf Yarrow, Common Yarrow, Dill, Lemon Balm, Parsley

Facts | Braconid Wasps kill Hornworms by laying eggs inside the caterpillar

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DAMSEL BUGS

Prey | Caterpillars, Mites, Aphids, Potato Beetles, Leaf Hoppers, Thrips, Cabbage Worms

Attracted By | Caraway, Fennel, Alfalfa, Spearmint, Peter Pan Goldenrod, or plants in the Aster family

Facts | Damsel Bug populations can thrive if you provide them with alternative places to hide.

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GREEN LACEWINGS

Prey | Aphids, Whitefly, Leafhopper, Mealybugs, Caterpillars of pest Moths

Attracted By | Dill, Angelica, Golden Margaerite, Coriander, Dandelion

Facts | Their larvae do the actual job of getting rid of soft-bodied pests. They are also called Aphid Lions since they hunt and consume aphids

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MINUTE PIRATE BUGS

Prey | Spider Mites, Insect Eggs, Caterpillars, Aphids, Thrips

Attracted By | Caraway, Fennel, Alfalfa, Spearmint, Peter Pan Goldenrod

Facts | Both immature stages and adults prey on a variety of small insects

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SOLDIER BEETLES

Prey | Grasshopper Eggs, Aphids, Soft-bodied Insects

Attracted By | Goldenrod, Zinnia, Marigold, Linden trees

Facts | Soldier Beetles do not damage plants and are harmless to people

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TACHINID FLIES

Prey | Gypsy Moths, Japanese Beetles, Cutworms, Squash Bugs

Attracted By | Carrots, Cilantro, Dill, Coriander, Buckwheat

Facts | Tachinids paralyze their prey by laying eggs onto the host or nearby foliage

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HOVERFLIES

Prey | Aphids, Mealy Bug, Thrips, Corn Borers, Scale Insects, Caterpillars

Attracted By | Fern-leaf Yarrow, Common Yarrow, Dill, Basket of Gold, Statice

Facts | Hoverfly larvae feed on pests, while the adult flies feed on pollen

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MEALYBUG DESTROYER

Prey | Mealybugs (not all species)

Attracted By | Fennel, Dill, Angelica, Sunflower, Goldenrod

Facts | One Mealybug Destroyer can eat up to 250 Mealybug larvae

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PREDATORY MITES

Prey | Spider Mites

Attracted By | Humid environments like greenhouses and high tunnels

Facts | Predatory Mites feed on pollen, not plants, when prey is unavailable

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DRAGONFLIES

Prey | Flies, Gnats, and Mosquitos

Attracted By | Creeks, ponds and water features

Facts | Dragonflies make their homes near water. Their larvae attack and consume other water born larvae suck as Mosquitos. As adults they eat other flying insects

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ANTS

Prey | Aphids, Caterpillars, Fleas, Flies, Mealy Bugs

Attracted By | Sweet, nectar-rich flowers

Facts | In early spring while in mating season the winged ants will swarm & eat invasive