Beneficial Insects and Their Habitat

Beneficial Insects and Their Habitat

The Beneficial Insects and Their Habitat

It’s important to develop the right environment for the beneficial insects to establish proper habitats.  This seems pretty obvious but different insects require different habitats. We know bees, which are essential to pollinate our vegetables, also need flowers. But other beneficial insects have the same needs.  They are drawn by scents, color and the abundance of food. Pollen is highly prized and insects are drawn to it. A diversity of plants and varieties of flowers and herbs help create the balance and draw good guys to your garden. See video on discover the power of flowers

Avoid Using Chemicals

Bees are extremely sensitive to any type of chemical including the “natural” ones that are available to control grubs, etc. When using any chemicals, even organic ones, be aware that a habitat is being destroyed for all beneficial insects. Using any chemical applications, the balance is automatically lost.

The insect population has to build up high enough for the good guys to move in and feast. Plants are capable of tolerating a certain percent of damage before their production starts to go down. It doesn’t mean you can’t do some controls: hand crushing and disposal. The scent given out by these pests is picked up by the predators (the good guys), and they will move in to feast and help you control the infestation. See video on Organic garden pest control

Multiple Helpers

There isn’t any one insect that does the job of controlling the bad guys. It’s the combined effort of all these insects that will keep pest under control and help reduce their populations. Get my paperback copy: ‘Garden the Organic Way and become an expert gardener. Garden the Organic Way is a comprehensive guide to organic gardening, designed for all skill levels. The book provides methods for growing delicious, pesticide-free vegetables using sustainable practices.

Beneficial insect – Ground beetle larva

Black Ground Beetles

Common black ground beetles need undisturbed areas to reproduce, like grass areas where they can hide and emerge in spring to look for prey. They eat grubs, maggots, caterpillars, pupae, to name a few and other invertebrates. Though we don’t want them to eat our worms or good guy, they do help keep the balance in the garden. Their diet is diverse and, in the larger scheme, their overall function is considered beneficial, as they eat a lot of the aphids and other bad guys. They get eaten by snakes, birds, other beetles and toads.

Beneficial insects like praying mantis are amazing

Praying mantis

Another beneficial insect that grow to be the size of one of your larger fingers. They have six legs and come in various colors from brown to green, which are the most common, to pink, white and yellow. The larvae or nymphs are adult looking and, as they morph, they look more and more like the adult version. It’s the only insect that has the ability to turn its head one hundred and eighty degrees. This ability to turn their heads makes them great predators as they are able to detect their prey with greater ease. They have great vision as they have a set of complex eyes that have a lot of lenses located at the side of the head and then three simple eyes in between. Cockroaches are their relatives but there is a debate about their classification.

Feeding habit of praying mantis

They eat just about everything, as long as they overpower them, and may even become cannibalistic and eat other mantis. After sexual reproduction, the female is known to eat the male; in some cases during reproduction they eat their heads and leave the abdomen to finish the job. They are great for insect control keeping in mind that good or bad they will consume it.

Their front legs come together as if praying (hence how they got their name) and are very powerful. They fly at night, making themselves available for bats to consume. Eggs are laid in (up to 400 eggs) around a tree or shrub stem, the mass hardens to form a brown-like foam. The egg cases can be mistaken in their look to a very small wasp nest but brown. Once they hatch, they tend to eat each other, as it’s the only food they have nearby. Read about another beneficial insect Wheel bugs

The best habitat for them to survive is grasses and trees. They can easily hide within grasses that camouflage them.  You can also purchase ‘Garden the Organic Way’ as an eBook http://Amazon- Garden the Organic Way