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Identifying Beneficial Garden Insects

Category Insects
With the multitude of bugs flying and crawling around your garden, it can be difficult to know which are best to have near or on your plants. Knowing which insects to keep can be very helpful. This is a guide about identifying beneficial garden insects.
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September 18, 2017

Most of us know ladybugs are just one of a group of insects that are beneficial to the garden. But what about the ladybug in other than the adult stage? I discovered something very interesting.

Earlier this morning, I did some minor pruning to some rose bushes. A few hours later, I returned with candle and lighter in hand, ready to seal off the wounds lest rose cane borers tunnel their way through the stems of my roses.

I saw a critter sitting on top of one of the fresh cuts. It was sucking the juices, and life, from an aphid.

I thought, 'Aha, Just in time. My guess is, once this borer finishes its meal, it will start rasping its way through the heart of this stem and probably kill it'. I hadn't seen a cane borer in years, but it certainly was the right size.

I snapped a couple of pictures and sent one to my ag agent, asking him if this was indeed a cane borer. He quickly replied that this was a larva of the ladybug, and even at the larval stage, was one of the most beneficial insects in the garden.

I replied with my thanks for the info because I was just about to kill the critter. He said, 'No, these are good. You want to keep all of them'.

So, I'm re-familiarizing myself with the appearance of the cane borer. Most are much darker, winged and with antennae, and somewhat resemble a skinny fly. And they can sting! Nothing like a bee sting, but you will know you've been stung.

And of course, the ladybug larva's presence tells me something else. I need to increase the frequency of my insecticide spraying. But then, maybe not. I have seen very few aphids on my roses this year. They are not a problem. So why should I kill the food supply of a very beneficial insect?

(I'm patting myself on the back. I'm so bright. I guess that's why Mama called me 'Son').

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By 1 found this helpful
August 23, 2011

My general rule of thumb: the ladybug, praying mantis, and spider can stay. Grasshoppers, ants, aphids, beetles, slugs, snails, and any other bug I find on or under the leaves must go. I've also had termites in mulch before, and read that they won't harm plants so I left them and they moved on. This is about bugs, but as a side note, lizards and toads should also be welcomed in the garden.

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By Ash

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August 12, 20110 found this helpful

I have a food garden and I see a lot of different bugs. There are wasps, ants, different flies, and so on, including some bees. Which bugs are good and which bugs are bad for your garden? Is there a natural insecticide for your garden? What can I do? I am hoping that there is either a home solution or some product I can buy that is very environmentally safe, but also effective. Thank you.

By Emmauel Y.

Answers

August 13, 20111 found this helpful

Bees are always good! Unless you're having a problem with something damaging your crops I wouldn't do anything. Gardens are like miniature ecosystems and using pest control when you don't need it can upset the balance.

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Otherwise have a look into organic gardening techniques and biological pest control, like bringing in ladybugs if you have an aphid problem. :-)

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