Saturday, June 1, 2013

Do You Know Your Garden Insects?

Don't get these confused 

Squash Bugs- Bad
Damsel Bugs - Good
Damsel Bugs really love to live near alfalfa fields

Colorado Potato Bug

Cucumber Beetle - 1

Cucumber Beetle -2

Mexican Bean Beetle

Beneficial Lady Bugs

Learn to associate the moths in your area 
with the caterpillar
.  You have most likely seen these moths.  Here is the association.
Cabbage Loopers

There are simply too many moths and caterpillars to show them all,  But this site has an amazing collection of images.

Should we kill it?
The white cocoons of the parasitic braconid wasps (Hymenoptera) hangs on the back of this tobacco hornworm. It would probably be better to let this one live in order to let the braconid wasps hatch.  I don't want to get into pest management but plant pollen and nectar producing plants attract Braconid Wasps.  So plant flowers for a beautiful garden defense.

Swallowtail Butterfly

Swallowtail caterpillar
Swallowtail caterpillars are beneficial insects; however, if you are a parsley farmer, you may have a different opinion!  Caterpillars forage heavily on their host plants, but they also serve as a food source for songbirds and other wildlife.  After their metamorphosis into butterflies, they become pollinators, which is important because one-third of the world’s cultivated crops depend upon the work of pollinators like butterfly and bees.  In addition, butterflies are beneficial to humans for their aesthetic qualities.  Many species are brightly colored and so capture the attention and marvel of many people.  Just watching the whimsical flight of butterflies is enough to lift the spirits!  - Joseph 

The Bug Guide is a good site for insect identification

The less pesticides you use, the more beneficial bugs you will see in your garden.
More flowers bring more beneficial bugs.
Malicious insects don't like healthy plants.
Use compost tea with molasses, essential micro-nutrients, and grow your soil.
Attract Soldier Beetles with goldenrod, hydrangeas, catnip or milkweed in your garden.
Soldier Beetles
UC Davis has very good information about Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
IPM Images is my favorite! 

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