Friday, November 18, 2011

Beneficial Insects

Here is some good advice from a master gardener (my mom).

Lacewing Fly

(Images courtesy of Marlin RiceIowa State University)
 Their diet consists of  aphids, mealybugs, bollworms, spider mites, whiteflies, and small lepidopteran larvae.

Predacious Ground Beetles
(Images courtesy of University of Washington)
    Ground beetles eat insects, snails, slugs, cut worms, and maggots.

          Lady Beetle
(Image courtesy of
Lady beetles primarily eat aphids and at times, white flies.

(Image courtesy of
These guys hover, annoyingly around you in the garden like bees, but the larvae eat aphids, mealy bugs and others.

Parasitic mini wasps
          (Image courtesy of
                    These guys never sting. Their "stingers" allow them to lay eggs inside moth, beetle and fly larvae, moth eggs, various insect pupae and adult caterpillars.

Tachinid fly
(Image courtesy of
Tachinid flies lay eggs in corn earworm, imported cabbage worm, cabbage looper, cutworms, armyworms), stink bug, squash bug nymphs, beetle and fly larvae, some true bugs, and beetles
The fly in the picture is looking over a potential host to lay her eggs.

   (Photo courtesy of Department of Entomology, 
Texas A&M University)

                  Minute Pirate Bugs
Minute Pitate bugs like to lay their eggs in Aphids, bollworm, potato leafhopper nymphs, spider mites, scale insects, insect eggs, small corn borers' larvae, thrips, other small caterpillars, whiteflies.

        Damsel bug
(Image courtesy of  K. Power.)
Damsel bugs feed on aphids, leafhoppers, plant bugs, and even small caterpillars as adults and nymphs. They resemble other plant eating bugs, so look for the narrow head for the good guys.

   Big eyed bugs 

    (Image courtesy of
Big eyed bugs feed on small insects like spider mite, leaf hoppers, insect eggs, and other mites.

 These are a few of the beneficial insects in Western Washington.  

Have you seen these?

There is a gallery of insects in our gardens each summer. We see them as we weed, water, and pick the produce of the garden plants. The question is, are they beneficial insects or pestiferous. Here are couple pictures of the “good guys” that I bet you saw, but didn't know which ones they were. 

       Green lacewing

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