Beneficial Bugs and Biologicals

Beneficial Bugs and Biologicals

Advantageous Animals

Not all insects are pests to the plant kingdom, in fact, many species have evolved alongside plants and participate in a a mutually beneficial relationship.  Pollinators such as bees and butterflies are the most commonly known among the beneficials but also helpful in the microcosm of your landscape are insectivorous insects; insects that will prey upon fellow kingdom members. Attracting these insects to your property and protecting populations will help relieve vegetation damage naturally.

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Adult ladybugs or lady beetles will prey on mites, aphids, mealyworms and the larvae there of. Planting Coreopsis, dill and fennel will attract them to your property.

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Ground beetles are the nocturnal predators of slugs, caterpillars and other soil dwelling pests. Perennial beds provide stable habitat for these beneficial beetles.

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Soldier beetles feed on aphids and caterpillars primarily. Planting hydrangeas, catnip and goldenrod will attract them to your property

 

 

 

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Adult and larval lacewings will eat aphids, caterpillars, mealybugs, scales, thrips and whiteflies. Having Coreopsis, angelica and sweet alyssum in your garden will lure these helpful insects to your yard.

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Aphid midge larvae is known to feed on over 60 species of aphids. They are attracted to plants producing a high pollen count.

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Tachinid flies burrow into caterpillars and destroy those pests from the inside out. Dill and parsley will be attractive to them.

 

 

Colony Collapse

The importance of pollinators should not be overlooked and cannot be understated.  Without pollinating insects many plants cannot reproduce, without plants the interconnected food web which supports not only wildlife but the human population will disintegrate.  Colony Collapse Disorder  is the term for an observed phenomenon where seemingly healthy honey bees are abandoning hives en masse.  It is estimated that in the US nearly a third of the honey bees have disappeared.  There is a lot of research into the cause and current theories being explored include: overuse of broad spectrum pesticides, invasive parasitic mites, inadequate food supplies, a virus attacking bees’ immune systems and combinations there of.   Honey bees are responsible for the pollination of innumerable species of plants including, but not limited to;

Fruits and Nuts Vegetables Field Crops
  • Almonds
  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Avocadoes
  • Blueberries
  • Boysenberries
  • Cherries
  • Citrus
  • Cranberries
  • Grapes
  • Kiwifruit
  • Loganberries
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Nectarines
  • Olives
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Plums/Prunes
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Cucumbers
  • Cantaloupe
  • Honeydew
  • Onions
  • Pumpkins
  • Squash
  • Watermelons
  • Alfalfa Hay
  • Alfalfa Seed
  • Cotton Lint
  • Cotton Seed
  • Legume Seed
  • Peanuts
  • Rapeseed
  • Soybeans
  • Sugar Beets
  • Sunflowers

Planting species to attract honey bees and conscientiously applying pesticides can help rebuild the bee population.  Use this website for help in choosing species and creating an alluring bee-friendly garden:

http://beespotter.mste.illinois.edu/topics/beegarden/

Consult with your arborist regarding methods and products to use to best protect the bee population while still effectively addressing your landscape’s needs.  Again, plant healthcare technicians are best suited for treating your landscape for disease and insect issues while concurrently preserving beneficial insect populations.

Favorable Fungi

Mycorrhizal fungi are the beneficial fungi which can form symbiotic relationships with the plant roots of nearly all evergreen species and approximately 60% of deciduous plants.  This symbiotic relationship provides plant roots with additional surface area with which to absorb water and nutrients and allows the fungus to feed on sugars and starches produced by the plant.  Additionally, mycorrhizae are able to mobilize tightly bound nutrients from the soil such as phosphorus, nitrogen, zinc, iron, calcium and magnesium, which may have not been otherwise obtainable by the plant.  Water uptake and utilization can also be improved through this alliance.  Because many of our landscapes do not approximate natural conditions for the fungi-vegetation relationship to become established, landscape plants may be lacking their fungal associates.  Ask your arborist about soil amendments or adding mycorrhizae to fertilizers so your landscape can enjoy the benefits provided by these biological bonds.

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