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Reviews of Garden Insects of North America: the Ultimate Guide to Backyard Bugs

Good Rating
Book Profile
Author (1): Whitney Cranshaw

Hardcopy edition:
Publish date: March 2004
Published by: Princeton University Press
List price: $99.50
ISBN Number: 0691095604

Softcopy edition:
Publish date: March 2004
Published by: Princeton University Press
List price: $29.95
ISBN Number: 0691095612



  Feedback History and Summary  
6 positives
No neutrals
No negatives


Positive melody On Nov 6, 2008, melody wrote:

This book is a great resource for gardeners. Excellent photographs depicting the whole life cycle of an insect and the damage that they cause formulate each chapter. Species with similar habits make up each group. Just a few of the many chapters include information on leaf-chewers, sap suckers and insects that feed on roots, tubers and bulbs.

This book is divided into sections depicting the damage caused by each insect family. This narrows the list of possible culprits. The color plates that have multiple examples of the eggs, larvae, adults and the actual damage, is a valuable tool that I have yet to see in another book.

Each insect has detailed information on the life cycle, geographical distribution, host plants, damage done and suggestions for control.

Not only is this a resource for the harmful insects in the garden, there is a chapter on the beneficials and predators. The color plates of these insects in all stages of development are very helpful and informative. Space is even devoted to some of the lesser-known predators that are unfamiliar to many gardeners. Each beneficial is matched up with the insect that it preys upon and there are even images of the hunters in action.
There are a few pages devoted to spiders and to parasitic wasps as well.

For gardeners who are concerned about properly identifying and responsibly controlling damaging insect populations, this is a fantastic resource. It is important to identify each pest instead of applying a ‘kill all’ insecticide. This book offers chemical solutions as well as natural alternatives.

Garden Insects of North America is easy to read and understand. It uses proper scientific terms and correct Latin names for all of the insects, but casual gardeners find it quite understandable. It is an important reference guide that ornamental and edible gardeners can both find extremely useful

Positive LissyJ On Jun 30, 2006, LissyJ wrote:

If you need a book that has ALL the bugs in their different stages of growth, and what damage they do, then this is the book for you!

Not only do I love this book for the vast amount of information that it holds for identifying friend or foe, it is a great book for my kids!!(LOL) I am not kidding! My kids find it facinating and want to go and find the BUG in my garden after they look through it. GREAT PHOTOS!!!

There is not a better book on insects!!

Positive ceejaytown On May 17, 2006, ceejaytown wrote:

My most favorite insect book. Not only does it list the insects by the damage they do (leaf chewers, sap suckers, flowers, fruit and seed feeders, etc) but it also provides excellent colored photos, not only of the adult insect, but in many cases the larval stage and pupa stage too. There are also color photos of the damage to the plants. In addition to the section on management principles (control) there is also a section where one can look up the host plant and find the insects and mites that feed on that plant. The beneficial insect chapter is excellent. Everyone who gardens should have this book.

Positive hobbygirl On Jan 31, 2006, hobbygirl wrote:

This book was recommended by a UW Entomologist to my master gardening class. He said it is the only insect book he recommeds because of the identification tools and life cycle information. It does not have control info but that info will date a book. Most of the control info is easy to find online once you understand what the insect is and its life cycle.

Positive denver_dry On Aug 18, 2004, denver_dry wrote:

Cranshaw uses plant host association to organize this collection of slightly more than 1400 insect species. To use the guide, consider the part of the plant "in use" (leaf, flower, stem or root) and then the evidence of the insect you have found on the plant ( left by chewers, suckers, or borers). You will have a full color portrait of your garden guest in no time.

Cranshaw offers an overview of insect life cycles and a taxonomy of "garden bugs" in the introductory chapter, followed by a chapter on effective garden management practices that will keep pest populations in check. He also offers a concluding chapter on beneficial insects that serves as a reminder that chemical solutions in the garden ought to be a last resort. Useful list of host plants in the appendix.

Great images, reliable information, easy to use, and very decently priced.

Positive MzMunchken On Aug 12, 2004, MzMunchken wrote:

This book is a "must have" for all gardening and critter enthusiast. Beautiful pictures and lots of good information.

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