Last Thursday we had a workshop about beneficial insects and how to incorporate them into your garden. One of Elizabeth’s CSA shareholders, Jeff, keeps bees and he came out to show us how bees can help pollinate and to teach everyone some some basics.
A photographer from Celebrate Gettysburg, Casey, dropped by to take some photos for an upcoming article. It was nice to have him at the garden.
It’s important to remember that although some bugs are pests in the garden, many are extremely helpful. Here are some tips to manage the insects in your garden:
- Identify insect before killing it, then determine whether it’s helpful, harmful, or neutral by looking it up online or referring to your handout
- Utilize IPM (Integrated Pest Management) This keeps us from using pesticides and other harmful chemicals and allows us to make intelligent decisions about pest management:
- Monitor garden daily to check for insects, population sizes, what plants they’re on and when in the year (it’s a good idea to keep track of these so that you can remember to take action early next year)
- Identify the pest
- Evaluate and predict: determine how much damage it’s causing or whether it’s a good insect and predict what might happen if you leave it or remove it
- Decide and control: if it’s bad, use Pyganic spray or kill it manually. If it’s good, plant more of whatever it’s on. Remember not to use insecticides because they also kill the beneficial insects.
- Friends: Your handout has some of these, as well as the photos on the picnic tables. Ladybug, Ichneumon Wasp, predaceous stink bug, paper wasp, praying mantis, predatory wasp, spiders (orb weaver), predatory mite, zelus assassin bug, assassin nymph, wheel bug, damsel bug, lacewings, praying mantis (eat friends and foes), tiger beetle, ground beetle, rove beetle (pincers), wasps eat caterpillars, syrphid fly, hoverfly, robber fly, tachnid fly (parasitoids- eggs eat hosts), eulophid wasp, ichneumonid wasp,
- Pollen & nectar-bearing flowers can attract beneficials
- Predator bugs eat pests for you!
- Lots of predatory species are good (tend to be found in solitude, not groups, like aphids)
- Lady Bugs- Eat aphids. They like flowers and many herbs.
- Praying Mantis- Eat Mexican bean beetles, moths and many other pests. They do eat some beneficials too, but are still helpful. Plant flowers to attract them.
- Ground beetles: Eat slugs, snails, cutworms, root maggots, and potato beetle larvae. They like to hide under stones, logs, and other groundcovers.
- Lacewings- Eat aphids, thrips, moth eggs, small caterpillars and mites. They also like herbs and wildflowers.
- Certain wasps- attack the eggs of pest bugs as well as some lay their eggs on pests as hosts. Their larvae then eat and kill the pest bug. They like pollen and nectar plants.
- Hover Flies- Eat aphids and cabbage worms and can pollinate fruit. They like annual flowers and herbs.
- Spiders- Feed on many insects and prevent outbreaks of pest bugs. They like perennials and straw mulches for shelter.