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