Good Insects for Your Outdoor Plants - dummies

Good Insects for Your Outdoor Plants

By The National Gardening Association, Bob Beckstrom, Karan Davis Cutler, Kathleen Fisher, Phillip Giroux, Judy Glattstein, Michael MacCaskey, Bill Marken, Charlie Nardozzi, Sally Roth, Marcia Tatroe, Lance Walheim, Ann Whitman

Part of Gardening All-in-One For Dummies Cheat Sheet

As a gardener, you know that although you wage war on some insects, you can enlist whole armies of beneficial insects to help your garden grow. You can buy the insects in the following list to help control pests that trouble your outdoor plants:

  • Lady beetles (or lady bugs): Both the adult and the lizard-like larvae are especially good at feeding on small insects, such as aphids and thrips. Release a few thousand of them in spring as soon as you notice the first aphid.

  • Green lacewings: Their voracious larvae feed on aphids, mites, thrips, and various insect eggs. Release them in your garden in late spring, after the danger of frost has passed.

  • Predatory mites: This type of mite feeds on spider mites and thrips. Add them to your garden in spring as soon as frost danger has passed.

  • Trichogramma wasps: Harmless to humans, these tiny wasps attack moth eggs and butterfly larvae (that is, caterpillars). Release trichogramma when temperatures are above 72°F (22°C).