How To Use Predator Insects to Control Garden Pests
By: Julie Day
One of the best ways to control pests organically is through the use of beneficial predatory insects. Sometimes all you need to do is encourage the natural predators that already live in your yard; but if your garden has a particular insect problem, you may want to take steps to increase the predator population.
Many types of beneficial insects can be purchased and released in your yard to control specific pests. Here are some tips for buying and using predatory insects to reduce pests in your yard.
Common Commercially Available Predator Insects
Did you ever imagine yourself ordering a box of bugs? With beneficial predatory insects, you’ll be doing just that, then releasing them into your garden to work their magic. There are hundreds of different types of beneficial predator insects, but not all of them are available commercially.
Some of the most popular commercially available predatory insects are:
Whiteflies are another pest of greenhouses and indoor plants, and this tiny parasitic wasp is attracted to their honeydew and lays eggs inside the pest. They’re shipped in larval form.
List of Pests and Predator Insects
Here’s a list of garden pests and predator insects that can be used against them.
|Insect Pest||Insect Predator|
|Aphids||Lacewing, Ladybug, Minute pirate bug, Praying mantis|
|Cabbage loopers||Parasitic wasp|
|Caterpillars||Minute pirate bug, Parasitic wasp|
|Flea larvae||Beneficial nematode|
|Fungus Gnats||Fungus gnat predator|
|Leaf hoppers||Lacewing, Ladybug, Minute pirate bug|
|Mites||Lacewing, Ladybug, Minute pirate bug, Predatory mite|
|Moths||Lacewing, Praying mantis|
|Root weevils||Beneficial nematode|
|Scale||Lacewing, Ladybug, Minute pirate bug|
|Thrips||Lacewing, Minute pirate bug|
|Tomato hornworms||Parasitic wasp|
|Whiteflies||Minute pirate bug, Whitefly parasite|
Getting Started With Predatory Insects
- Give Predator Insects Time: Beneficial predators aren’t a quick fix; they’re just one step in creating a balanced organic environment where problems tend to take care of themselves. It can take several seasons for a natural predator/prey ecosystem to develop in your garden, so be patient with the process!
- Use Natural Insect Predators to Control Garden Pests (video)
- Beneficial Insects (planetnatural.com)
- Suppliers of Beneficial Insects (bugladyconsulting.com)