Let's talk about insects, the good, the bad and the ugly. I read on several blogs about different pests and whether or not they are good or bad. I decided to find out...I turned to my trusty sidekick.... Or as I like to call it...The Southern Living Garden Bible. If you live in Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, & North Carolina and DO NOT own this book....stop reading this post and go buy it now! It will be the best investment you every make. It tells you everything you need to know about gardening.
Let's discuss pest management
Skinks eat crickets, grasshoppers, beetles, caterpillars, worms, snails, & slugs....need I say more? There little green cousins eat the same.
These wasps are sold at some garden centers. They lay they eggs on larvae, pupae or eggs of other insects, thus destroying them. They are not harmful to humans.
As scary as it may look, they only feed on nectar or larvae of other insects such as armyworms, cutworms, stink bugs, beetles.
Also known as hover flies or flower flies. They resemble bees, and eat aphids, other soft bodied insects, pollen and nectar.
These beetles are about 3/4" long, and eat aphids and other soft bodied insects.
These include several species of microscopic worms. They're effective against 100's of pests that spend their lives in the ground, such as cucumber beetles, cut worms, fire ants, flea beetles, grubs, root weevils, and sod web worms. They do not harm earthworms.
They feed on aphids, mealybugs, and eggs of many insects. You can purchase them through mail order catalogs. It is better to keep them in a cage for a few days in your garden, and release them at night. This encourages them to stay in your garden....not sure why, but that's what the book says! Lacewings
This little critter is about an inch long. It is a flying insect with lacy, netted wings. They devour aphids, leafhoppers, mealybugs, mites, thrips, & whiteflies. They also feed on nectar, pollen and honey dew from garden plants. Larvae are commercially available.
About 1/2" long, they have no wings. Feed on aphids, grasshoppers, small caterpillars
Most are shiny and black, about 1/2" to 1" long. They eat caterpillars, other insects, cutworms, soil-dwelling maggots, and grubs. Larger species eat slugs and snails.
1/2"-3/4" long, have long legs and long angled antennae. Some are bright red/black, some are brown or gray. Pray on many insects by stabbing their victims with long, curved beak (Hey I am writing what the book says).
Size: 1/8" long
Description: winged insects that fly up when you brush or touch a plant. It excretes as it feeds, attracting ants and creating sooty mold
Diet: Plant juices
Habitat: Warm, still air of greenhouses. Flourish year round in Coastal, tropical areas. Garden infestation occur when transplanting indoor plants outside.
Control: No matter what your climate check the under sides of bedding plants purchased from garden centers
Diet: leaves, flowers, bark of rhododendron, yew, grape and other plants. The larvae consume the roots
Control: Beneficial nemetodes, Acephate can be used to control adults on non-edible plants.
Description: hairless larvae of night flying moths. Feed at night, over cast and humid days
Diet: eat young plants by cutting them off at the ground
Habitat: Garden beds
Control: Encircle new plants with a aluminum can, bottle, cup, etc., with both ends cut off, place around the plant, slightly pressing it into the ground. It should extend 1" to 2" both into the soil and above the ground. Encourage natural predators such as ground beetles, and nemetodes. Spread earthworms around young seedlings to deter cutworms.
Size: Almost microscopic
Description: Light dark brown, adults are less than 1/20 of an inch long
Diet: Flower, leaf tissue by sucking juices. Cause discoloration to leaves, fail to open normally.
Control: Natural enemies include lacewing, pirate bug, mites, spiders. Insecticidal soaps work and horticultural oils will help
Description: yellowish orange with black stripes
Diet: Chew holes in leaves of cucumbers, melons, squash and other veggies
Habitat: Southern gardens
Control: Birds, tachnid flies, you can also handpick them and drop them in a bucket of soapy water.
Description: look for foam formed on plants
Diet: Annuals, perennials, herbs (rosemary and strawberries are a favorite)
Control: Granular lawn insect control (Tempo), blasts foam with jets of water (this will knock bug off)
Size: about the size of a pea
Description: gray crustaceans, that will roll up when disturbed
Diet: decaying vegetation young seedlings, skins of melon, cucumbers and berries
Control: Limit and remove hiding places, such as, boards on the ground, weedy areas with decaying foliage. Lift ripening fruit off the ground. Slug bait is effective
Well I don't think much needs to be said here but go buy some beer!!!! Put a small amount of beer in a shallow container (cat food cans work well), and put them out in your beds at night. They will die in droves.
Description: larvae of certain moths, beetles and flies. Tunnel within foliage leaving trails on the surface
Diet: foliage, vegetables, fruit trees, annuals & perennials. May reduce yield of crop.
Control: Parasitic wasps are a natural enemy. Once inside the leaf, chemical control is difficult
Size: Pinhead size - match stick head
Description: Black, white, pink or pale green
Diet: Plant juice
Control: Natural enemies such as, Lady bug, lacewings, soldier beetles, syrphid flies, parasitic wasps, lizards, and small birds. Spray with insecticidal soaps.
Size: Large 1" +
Description: travel in troops
Diet: Everything in its path, mostly eating at night
Control: purchase Dipel for worms less than and inch long. For larger worms, spray areas with Sevin.
Diet: almost anything
Control: Easy to control in young/wingless stage by using earthworms, or a biological control such as Nosema locustae (sold as Grasshopper Attack).
Description: white, cottony appearance, slow moving
Diet: plant juices, causing stunting and can kill plant
Habitat: More likely to be on indoor plants, may be on outside plants
Control: Natural predators such as lacewings, syrphid flies, lady bug
Japanese Beetles (sorry I had a picture, but I lost it)
Description: Black, adults are shiny, metallic green/copper
Diet: chew plant roots, grass roots, devouring leaves on almost any plant
Control: for grubs in lawn apply Merit or beneficial nemetodes, or Sevin
How do ya'll control your pests????