In our last post we talked about controlling pest bugs using other bugs. Here you are a small collection of some of these killers, loved by all growers. We have chosen generalist predators, that will attack a variety of pests for you. Think of them as your little soldiers.
There are thousands of species of these voracious predators, but the most known are Coccinella septempunctata (native to Europe) and Hippodamia convergens (native to America). This ladies can feed on a wide range of bugs but their favorite dish is greenflies (aphids). They hunt from their birth to their death. The young larvae are not as nice as the adults, but they are more active at this stage. If you are thinking about buying some of them for your garden, choose native or at least non invasive species; your environment will thank you.
Chrysoperla carnea, A.K.A. green lacewings
They are common in North America and Europe. Adults, easily recognized by their elegant wings, feed only on nectar and pollen, but their alien looking larvae are very effective killers. They are natural enemies of a long list of pests including thrips, aphids, caterpillars and whiteflies. They settle very well on pepper, cucumber, melon… The eggs are laid at the end of a characteristic long silken stalks.
Orius insidiosus, A.K.A minute pirate bug
This useful predator found in America and in Europe, is active during both the adult and the nymphal stage. It consumes mainly thrips, but also eats mites, whiteflies, eggs of lepidoptera, aphids and other small insects. Its greatest advantage is that they can also eat pollen when there is no prey, so you can use them in a preventive mode.
It is an important predator of aphids. They can live both outdoors and within greenhouses, and are able to grow on almost any crop. The larvae live among the aphid colonies feeding on them. This bug is a specialist that needs aphids to survive, so it can not be used preventively.
If you are interested in this subject, you can find tons of information and support in official government websites. Many countries publish helpful tools and tips about good agricultural practices, integrated pest management, databases on pests and diseases present in your region, invader species and more.
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