Your industrious Planet Natural Blogger has been reading up on beneficial insects lately for a project he’s doing and has been reminded of several things. First of all, how important the role of beneficial insects is; yes to the organic gardener with pest problems but also to the environment at large. Secondly — and sadly — the effect of pesticides on predatory and parasitic insects. Now it’s not as if we need reminding of that last fact. But it underscores the extent of the consequences pesticide applications carry. And it calls to mind the balance, both the one naturally occurring in the environment and the one organic gardeners try to establish in their garden by introducing beneficial insects when called for.
Many beneficial insects — lady beetles, spined soldier bugs, minute pirate bugs; even praying mantis in some areas — exist naturally and are frequently spotted by gardeners. Others — predatory mites, trichogramma wasps — are present but harder to spot, their number increasing only in response to pest infestations. It’s important that all gardeners learn to identify them, so as not to confuse them with insects that harm your plants. (more…)