Insects: Friend or Foe?
July 23, 2010
with Cristina Del Alma
There are many more beneficial insects than there are garden pests. Many gardeners overreact to garden pests turning to pesticides and find it leads to even more problems. Insecticides are not specific, killing all bugs in the garden, good and bad. When insecticides are used you inherit the work of the beneficial insects. Gardeners who use pesticides often find that their vegetables are not pollinated and may even have to use the pesticides throughout the growing season.
Planting a variety of vegetables and flowers attract insects and birds that will help keep a balance in your garden. Organic controls involve using the least toxic household chemicals that often need repeated application as eggs hatch. Tolerance is another great organic control. Often times with aphids if you wait a couple of weeks you’ll find the predators will appear to take care of the problem. You will have a little damage to your vegetables but much better than the alternative of eating vegetables with the pesticide residues.
Bad Guys and common organic control
- Bees—pollinate flowers so that fruits and seeds are produced. If your zucchini plant is not developing fruits chances are there aren’t any pollinators around your garden.
- Wasps—generally are predators. Watch yellow jackets in your garden. I’ve seen them take aphids off of plants in my garden.
- Lace wings—their larva eat aphids—lots of them.
- Lady bugs—the adults and larva eat lots and lots of aphids.
- Syrphid Flies—the larva eat aphids and other small insects
- Black Beetles—eat slugs and cutworm larvae