Spider_DBG_LAH_7406Q: I’ve heard about using ladybugs to eat the bad bugs in my garden. Do they work?

A: If we set a thief to catch a thief, then why not set a bug to eat a bug? Sometimes the best way to control an outbreak of an insect pest is to use another insect, or a close relative (such as spiders). Ladybugs, the most famous of these insect killers, are wimps compared to some of the other predatory critters in your garden. Lacewing larvae, ground beetles, praying mantises, wasps, hover flies, spiders… there are plenty of beasties who are more than happy to keep garden pests under control.


lacewing.jpgQ: I see ladybugs and lacewings for sale at my garden center. Is this a good way to control unwanted bugs in my garden?

A: Some beneficial insects can be purchased and turned loose in your garden. The problem with this is that the insects you purchase are not aware that you have given them a special invitation to your particular “garden restaurant” and they may very well fly away. (more…)


Green lacewing on peony bloom

Q: I know there are “good” bugs and “bad” bugs for my garden. How do I know which is which?

A: Insects – a general term for “multi-legged creepy crawlies” have a certain “ick” factor for many people. In spite of their tiny size, we perceive them as scary and harmful to people. Surprisingly, most insects found in your yard or home do not feed on or harm plants – or people. (So try to think of it as MOST insects you encounter in your garden are the “good” bugs.”) Certainly, there are many pest insects such as aphids, scales, various caterpillars and beetles that cause problems for plants. But there are also many beneficial insects that feed on and destroy insect pests.

The following info is a summary of a longer fact sheet from Colorado State University Extension (see Work Cited below). (more…)