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#200368 Reply

E. Vinje

Hi Ben –

How’s things going up there in the Great White North? Aphids can be a big problem especially on peppers, so the big question is what beneficial insects do we recommend to combat them? Both the lacewing and ladybugs are good general predators, meaning that they eat most soft bodied insect pests that aren’t too quick for them. Since you are new to gardening — and using beneficial insects — I recommend the ladybugs. Most people are familiar with ladybugs and are satisfied when their shipment arrives alive and healthy. Lacewing are a bit trickier since they are most often shipped as eggs and very small — 1/16 in. — when they hatch. A common complaint is, “I never saw them!” It doesn’t help that lacewing larvae are gray and green in color and spend most of their time hanging out under plant leaves. With that said, most people that are familiar with beneficial insects prefer lacewing to ladybugs because they tend to stick around longer.

Proper timing is a crucial aspect of natural pest control when releasing beneficial insects. If no food is available for the predators to eat they will simply move on in search of food, On the other hand, if you have too many pests your beneficial insects will not be able to eat them up as quickly as the pest can multiply.

Note: If pest populations are high, use a least-toxic, short-lived natural pesticide — Insecticidal Soaps, Horticultural Oils, Botanical Insecticides — to establish control before releasing predators/parasites for long-term control.

Here’s a couple of links that should help.

Good luck!