We’ve got more bugs…good bugs!

After we found the cabbage worms eating our greens a couple of weeks ago, we ordered some beneficial insects from GardeningZone.com.  Now we have ladybugs patrolling the plants for aphids, mealy bugs, cabbage worms, and other leaf-eating bugs.  They’re on a search-and-destroy mission, and they are enjoying themselves.

Our camera is not taking clear close-up photos, so here is a photo of a ladybug grabbing a meal (courtesy of fatalii.net).

Ladybug – Courtesy of Fatalli.net

We also placed green lacewing eggs around the plants in small paper bags.  As soon as they hatch, those little Aphid Lions will feast on all of the soft-bodied pests and eggs they can find.

Aphid Lion (Lacewing Larva) – photo by Rik Littlefield, 2008

After that little creature eats its share of pests, it will eventually turn into this…

Green Lacewing – photo courtesy of Wikipedia

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25 Responses to We’ve got more bugs…good bugs!

  1. CurtissAnn says:

    Very cool. Thanks for this info.

  2. That’s funny we call them “Ladybirds” over here. If you get one land on you, you say

    “Ladybird, ladybird, fly away home,
    your house is on fire
    and your children are gone”

    I don’t know the origin of that rhyme, it’s a bit on nonsense really.

  3. everysensory says:

    Yay for attractive patrol bugs, good idea! Ladybirds (they’re ladybirds here, too, but some people do say ladybugs) are beautiful. So are the aphid lions. Watch out for ants too, they farm aphids,and I’ve seen them bring aphids onto a plant for that reason. Cunning :D Good luck!

  4. Wei-Chuen says:

    you can try molasses and soapy water, which is advised by Murray Hallam. “A molasses- water- dish soap mix, as popularised by Murray Hallam from Backyard Aquaponics. He takes a litre-sized bottle and pours into it a tablespoon of dish soap and a few table spoons of molasses, before filling the rest of the container with water. He then shakes the mixture and sprays it onto his plants, repeating the treatment every two weeks. The theory is that it sweetens the taste of
    the leaves, making it less attractive to insects.

  5. Great ladybug & aphid pic!

  6. babso2you says:

    How big is a cabbage worm? Beneficial’s are really good! You might want to incorporate marigolds around your plants. They have an offensive smell to a lot of bugs. Where you have aphids…they cannot stand the smell of garlic growing up close and personal…

    • Our cabbage worms are tiny…maybe 1cm.

      We’re growing marigolds in our system and they are just beginning to flower. Hopefully they will start working soon.

      I’ll check to see if garlic will grow in an aquaponics system. If not, maybe we can grow it in containers around the system.

      Thanks for the help!

  7. Make sure that your bug supplier did not send you Asian Beetles!!!

    http://www.ca.uky.edu/ENTOMOLOGY/entfacts/ef416.asp

    Although the USDA and other idiots in government agencies and such say they are “harmless,” everyone I know who has one of these pests even LAND on bare skin gets a small chemical burn from them. And if you accidentally touch one and then rub your eyes, your eye will burn and water for some time.

    A prof at the U of CO told me that when first imported, everyone thought they were just different colored lady beetles, and by the time they knew different, it was too late. They have no natural predators here.

    If you have Asian beetles, you want to try to keep them outside. Once inside, they will breed and lay their eggs there. Once they do that, you will be over-run with them as they return to where they hatch out to lay their eggs and live for somewhat over 3 years. So think of their numbers increasing by mathematical progression and you’ve got the picture. Although we are as organic as we can be, in order to get them under control, we had to buy some really long residual insecticide and spray around EVERY opening in the house we could find. After kicking their butts one year, we skipped a year and ended up with more of them the third year than we had the first or second. You have to keep on them until their numbers decrease significantly. then you can ski; the spray for a year or two.

    If your bug supplier sent you Asian beetles instead of the native Lady beetles, DEMAND a refund!!! He didn’t do you any favors, and you shouldn’t have to pay for them to send you an infestation of destructive noxious bugs.

    Another beneficial bug you might want to try to find is the Walking Stick. Deadly critters and they’re fun to look at.

  8. That must have been terrible. Thanks for the info. I’ll check them tomorrow, but I don’t think they have that white M on the back of the heads. I sure hope not anyway.

    I would love to have walking sticks in the garden. We were also thinking about getting some Preying Mantis. They might eat each other, but at least the beetles wouldn’t have a chance.

  9. narf77 says:

    And that is how nature deals with pest problems…wonderful beneficials! Sometimes you have to suffer a few nibbled items to allow the beneficial populations to build up but eventually it works like clockwork and you won’t need pesticides :)

  10. Barbara Good says:

    How cool that you can buy the good bugs to put in your garden, I’ve never heard of that here in Australia. I’m very lucky that I have loads of ladybirds in my garden naturally. Miss Three thinks they’re all her friends come to visit her, if I’m not watching she picks them up and takes them inside so they can watch Play School together, or even so they can sleep in her bed. She gets quite upset when she can’t find them the next morning, but I can easily convince her that they just popped outside for some fresh air and we can always find one in the garden to validate my little white lie.

  11. Fay Moore says:

    Thank you for this post. I know so little about the stages of beneficials. I appreciate the education.

  12. everysensory says:

    Good morning! (it is here, anyway). I’ve nominated your blog for the Versatile Blogger Award – tag, you’re it! just pop over to my blog and grab the details and photo of the award if you like :)

  13. Bad-Dad says:

    That was a great post. We have Green Lacewigs flying around the yard all the time. It is good to know they’re larva are on our side.

  14. gaiavisionary says:

    Very cool! I’m glad you can use nature to complete the circle of life :p

  15. df says:

    This was a really helpful read and I’ll be applying some of this in our garden right away.

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