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This topic contains 1 reply, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  E. Vinje 2 years, 6 months ago.

  • Beneficial Insects for Aphids

    Created by Ben Sweeney on

    I have a question regarding the beneficial insects that you offer. First off, I live in Alaska and this will be my first foray into gardening here. I have an outdoor vegetable garden with a couple of the rows having low tunnels over them. So really I have two questions; I’ve heard that aphids can be a big issue up here on tomato and pepper plants. Would you recommend the ladybugs or the green lacewings to control them more effectively? And my second question, obviously since I’m just starting out I don’t actually have an infestation currently. So would it be advisable to get either of the above listed insects prior to having a problem so that one never occurs, or wait until I actually do have one before getting the beneficial’s? I wouldn’t want them to starve to death, or just plain leave and then the aphids etc. move in right after. I appreciate your time. Thank You

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    E. Vinje
    Keymaster

    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!

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