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Help Is In the Mail: Beneficial Insects and Biological Controls

By Toni Leland (tonilelandApril 6, 2009
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Gardeners and homeowners today are more cognizant of the need to protect our planet and care for our environment. Gone are the days of dusting and spraying everything that moved, or drenching herbicides on plants that sprouted where they didn't belong. Organic and biological controls are the wave of today and the future, and they are as close as your Internet connection.

Gardening pictureMost garden pests have natural predators, but those aggressors don't always come to our gardens when we need them. Sometimes we can tailor our gardens and landscapes to attract the beneficial insects, but not always. That's when mail-order comes into play. A number of companies advertise the sale of beneficial insects and nematodes, as well as organic control methods for invasive weeds or plants. An Internet search on "buy beneficial insects" will bring up a good list of places to research, as does the Garden Watchdog.

The following list covers most of the common pests we see in our landscapes.

Pests & Method of Control
  • Alfalfa weevils: Ladybird beetles (ladybugs), Praying Mantids (Tenodera aridifolia sinensis)
  • Ants: nematodes to kill; diatomaceous earth or spray containing d-Limonene (orange peel oil) to repel; non-toxic traps
  • Aphids: Ladybird beetles (ladybugs), Aphid Parasitic Wasp (Aphidius colemani), Green Lacewing or "aphid lions" (Chrysoperla spp.), Praying Mantids (Tenodera aridifolia sinensis), Whitefly Predator (Delphastus catalinae), Mealybug Destroyer (Cryptolaemus montrouzieri), Beauveria bassiana GHA strain fungus; Neem oil organic insecticide; non-toxic repellent
  • Armyworms: nematodes, moth egg parasites (Trichogramma spp.)
  • Asiatic garden beetles: nematodes
  • Asparagus beetle larvae: Ladybird beetles (ladybugs)
  • Bean thrips: Ladybird beetles (ladybugs) , Praying Mantids (Tenodera aridifolia sinensis)
  • Black flies: bacteria Bti (Bacillus thuringiensis var. israelensis)
  • Black vine weevil: nematodes
  • Bollworms: moth egg parasites (Trichogramma spp.)
  • Borers: nematodes, moth egg parasites (Trichogramma spp.)
  • Cabbage & onion maggots: nematodes
  • Carrot weevils: nematodes
  • Caterpillars: nematodes, larval specific bacteria (Btk), Spined Soldier Bug (Podisus maculiventris); Neem oil organic insecticide;
  • Chinch bugs: Ladybird beetles (ladybugs), Praying Mantids (Tenodera aridifolia sinensis)
  • Citrus weevils: nematodes
  • Cockroaches: nematodes, powdered boric acid with cockroach pheromone to kill; spray containing d-Limonene (orange peel oil) to repel; non-toxic traps
  • Colorado potato beetle larvae: Ladybird beetles (ladybugs), Spined Soldier Bug (Podisus maculiventris)
  • Cucumber beetles: nematodes
  • Cutworms: nematodes, moth egg parasites (Trichogramma spp.)
  • Euopean chafers: nematodes
  • Fall webworms: nematodes, moth egg parasites (Trichogramma spp.); Neem oil organic insecticide;
  • Flea beetles: nematodes
  • Fleas: nematodes
  • Fly larvae: nematodes, fly parasites
  • Fruitworms: moth egg parasites (Trichogramma spp.)
  • Fungus gnats: nematodes
  • Grape root worm: Ladybird beetles (ladybugs)
  • Grasshoppers: grasshopper pathogen Nosema locustae
  • Grubs: nematodes
  • Gypsy moths: Neem oil organic insecticide;
  • Japanese beetles: milky spore powder (Bacillus popillae), nematodes, Neem oil organic insecticide
  • June beetles: nematodes
  • Leafhoppers: Beauveria bassiana GHA strain fungus
  • Leafminers: leafminer parasitic wasp (Diglyphus isaea, Dacnusa siberica)
  • Leafworms: moth egg parasites (Trichogramma spp.)
  • Loopers: nematodes, moth egg parasites (Trichogramma spp.), larval specific bacteria (Bt var. kurstaki), Spined Soldier Bug (Podisus maculiventris)
  • Masked Chafers: nematodes
  • Mealybugs: Mealybug Destroyer (Cryptolaemus montrouzieri), Beauveria bassiana GHA strain fungus; Neem oil organic insecticide;
  • Mites: Ladybird beetles (ladybugs) , Praying Mantids (Tenodera aridifolia sinensis), beneficial mites (Phytoseiulus persimilis, Mesoseiulus longipes, or Galendromus occidentalis), Mealybug Destroyer (Cryptolaemus montrouzieri)
  • Mole Crickets: grasshopper pathogen Nosema locustae
  • Mormon/black field crickets: grasshopper pathogen Nosema locustae
  • Mosquitoes: bacteria Bti (Bacillus thuringiensis var. israelensis)
  • Oriental beetles: nematodes
  • Palmetto bugs: nematodes, powdered boric acid with cockroach pheromone to kill; spray containing d-Limonene (orange peel oil) to repel
  • Plant bugs: Beauveria bassiana GHA strain fungus
  • Psyllids: Beauveria bassiana GHA strain fungus
  • Rose chafers: nematodes
  • Scale: Whitefly Predator (Delphastus catalinae or Eretmocerus eremicus), Ladybird beetles (ladybugs), Red Scale Parasitic wasps (Aphytis melinus); Neem oil organic insecticide; non-toxic traps
  • Scarab beetles: Beauveria bassiana GHA strain fungus
  • Silverfish: nematodes, powdered boric acid with cockroach pheromone to kill; spray containing d-Limonene (orange peel oil) to repel
  • Slugs: non-toxic traps
  • Snails: Decollate Snails (Rumina decollata); non-toxic bait
  • Sod webworm: nematodes
  • Spider Mites: Spider Mite Destroyer (Stethorus punctillum or Neoseiulus californicus)
  • Strawberry root weevils: nematodes
  • Termites: nematodes
  • Thrips: Ladybird beetles (ladybugs), Praying Mantids (Tenodera aridifolia sinensis), Whitefly Predator (Delphastus catalinae), Thrips Mite (Neoseiulus cucumeris or Hypoaspis sp.), Minute Pirate Bugs (Orius sp.), Mealybug Destroyer (Cryptolaemus montrouzieri), Beauveria bassiana GHA strain fungus; Neem oil insecticide; non-toxic traps
  • Weevils: Beauveria bassiana GHA strain fungus
  • Whitefly: Ladybird beetles (ladybugs) , Praying Mantids (Tenodera aridifolia sinensis), Whitefly Parasitic Wasp (Encarsia formosa or Eretmocerus eremicus), Whitefly Predator (Delphastus catalinae), Beauveria bassiana GHA strain fungus
  • Wireworms: nematodes

 

Information gathered from mail-order companies on the Internet, and catalog for ARBICO Organics, 2008 edition


  About Toni Leland  
Toni LelandToni Leland has been writing for over 20 years. As a spokesman for the Ohio State University Master Gardener program, she has written a biweekly newspaper column and is the editor of the Muskingum County MG newsletter, Connections; she currently writes for GRIT, Over the Back Fence, and Country Living magazines. She has been a gardener all her life, working soil all over the world. In her day job, she scripts and produces educational DVDs about caring for Miniature Horses, writes and edits books about them, and has published five novels.

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Discussion about this article:
SubjectTopic StarterRepliesViewsLast Post
beneficial insects organicpancho 0 4 Nov 29, 2011 9:50 AM
Beneficial Nematodes Rhapsody616 0 6 Jan 3, 2011 6:40 PM
What to use on pond plants? the1pony 2 6 Aug 20, 2009 10:43 AM
Controling fungus gnats naturally LineyLou 0 5 Jun 2, 2009 3:52 PM
Informative Article debnes_dfw_tx 3 37 Apr 15, 2009 3:44 PM
I JUST BOUGHT SOME LADYBUGS ... chubbydoll 1 40 Apr 15, 2009 3:38 PM
pest controls pspiersy 2 41 Apr 8, 2009 8:56 PM
Protea Plants Soils lepsoma 1 6 Apr 7, 2009 8:24 PM
Squash Vine Borer mikey51h 1 13 Apr 7, 2009 2:33 PM
Where to buy beneficial insects. Canada Janina5309 0 21 Apr 6, 2009 6:58 PM
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