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Homeowners and Biological Control

Attracting Beneficial Insects

Most think of beneficial insects as strictly meat eaters but many require other food types in their diet, such as pollen and nectar.  One beneficial we all know and love is the ladybird beetle.  She is famous for her voracious appetite of  aphids and other pests, but did you know that some species such as the Spotted Lady beetle (Coleomegilla maculata ) require large amounts of pollen in their diet?  Up to 50% of their diet is made up of pollen. So by planting plants that produce pollen and nectar you can draw in many good guys to your yard.  Just make sure you never treat these plants with pesticides.  Want to read more? Read my article on Learn2Grow on Attracting Beneficials to Your Garden

Buying Beneficial Insects  
If you are going to buy beneficial insects there are a few things you need to think about before you do
  • Are you sure you need them?  Often Mother Nature has done her job and pests are already dead.  Many are killed by parasites leaving the dead bodies of the pests behind. 
  • Have you identified your pest correctly? Biological control is an exact science, you need to know what your pests are in order to get the purchase the right beneficial. 
  • Do you know where your beneficials are coming from? Most are laboratory reared here in the US or Europe but some are harvested from the wild.  Ones harvested can sometimes carry diseases and parasites.  Do you know where ladybird beetles come from? Read about buying ladybug.
  • Shipping costs.  Always look at shipping costs because most beneficials are sent overnight and this can significantly add to the cost.
  • Where can homeowners can buy beneficial insects, predatory mites and beneficial nematodes.  See below  

Supplier of Biological Control Agents for Homeowners

 

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