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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Keep Beneficial Insects Thriving by Careful Use of Sprays

Q. I'm wondering if you can recommend any easy plants that are big-time lures for beneficial insects here in Las Vegas.  In northern CA, where I spend the rest of my time, my Ammi majus aka False Queen Anne's Lace reseeded just about everywhere.  While it made for a very messy looking plot, while in bloom, the good bugs were swarming my garden for months!  Since I won't be around as much in Vegas, I'm looking for a tamer perennial solution here.

A. Build it and they will come.
Beneficial insects are lured by a food supply. If you don't have a food supply for them they will leave. If you have a diverse plant palette in your garden you will attract many more beneficials and they will have a better chance of keeping bad boys in check.
Building up a beneficial insect population is really more about smart use of appropriate pesticides. Use organic or natural pest control products that don't have a long residual and use them only if you see a potential problem arising.
I see lots of ladybird beetles and green lace wings come into an area that have the pests. When I see a lot of spraying with conventional insecticides, these populations are usually low to nonexistent.
Green lace wing adult
When a person is selling organic fruit or vegetables one of the things I look for on the products is the presence of green lace wing eggs. If the products have not been washed you can usually see them if you know what to look for.
Lacewing egg on peach
 lacewing egg on peach
Ladybird beetle on peach

I will post some pictures on my blog for everyone to see. Others may have plants that are their favorites for doing this. Hopefully they will post their comments.

1 comment:

  1. thank you for this post, bob! i love the photographs of the beneficial insects. recently found a praying mantis on the wall of our house and kept my fingers crossed that he'd head into the garden. - Vivian