Tag Archives: good bugs

Beneficial Insects: Aphidiid Wasp

Aphidiid WaspAphidiid Wasp
Order: Hymenoptera. Family: Apidiinae

Average Size: They vary in size but are just slightly larger than an adult aphid: about 1/8 inch.

As the name implies, these wasps love aphids. They are all black and look similar to an ant with wings. The females lay their eggs inside the aphid and when they hatch, the young feed on the aphid eventually killing it. Almost (almost) makes you feel sorry for aphids. But not when they are chewing up your potatoes or brussels.

Active in the late summer and fall, aphidiid females can parasitize hundreds of aphids per day. You’ll know you have these wasps around if you see “aphid mummies” or paper-bag colored aphid shells stuck to leaves.

Beneficial Insects: Tiger Beetle.

tiger_beetleOrder: Coleoptera. Family: Cicindelidae

Average Size: 1/2 to 3/4 inch.

Varying in color from metallic blue to a bronze color, green or purple, tiger beetles can run pretty fast with their long legs. Their prey of choice is ants, smaller beetles, grasshoppers and aphids. Because they run so quickly, you will probably not be able to spot one in the garden or elsewhere.

Tiger beetles are attracted to lights and warmth. They will sun themselves along roads, the edges of well-warn pathways and bare patches of soil or sand.

The larvae are shaped like an “S” and have a humped back and strong hooks on their abdomens that allow them to anchor themselves in the soil to seize prey which they drag back to their burrow to eat.

See our main gardening page, Garden Circkles, for much more information than what is posted on this blog, including full articles on greenhouse growing, sustainable and organic tips, beneficial bugs, the latest techniques such as aquaponics and vertical growing and much more.

Beneficial Insects: Rove Beetles.

rove_beetleOrder: Coleoptera. Family: Staphylindae
Average Size: 1/16 to 3/4 inch.

Very similar to earwigs, but the Rove beetle has pinchers in the front jaws where earwigs have their pinchers as their tails.

Usually black or brown in color, rove beetles eat insects, where earwigs eat plants. Rove beetle larvae dine on aphids, fly eggs, maggots, mites, nematodes and springtails.

Rove beetles are usually found under refuse such as leaves, grass or bark and can be found on fungi or flowers and are common in compost piles. To keep them around, maintain a permanent bed of mulch or a stone path they can hide in.

See our main gardening page, Garden Circkles, for much more information than what is posted on this blog, including full articles on greenhouse growing, sustainable and organic tips, beneficial bugs, the latest techniques such as aquaponics and vertical growing and much more.

Beneficial Insects: Ladybug / Ladybird Beetle.

ladybug-larvaeOrder: Coleoptera. Family: Coccinellidae

Average Size: 1/8″ to5/8″.

Something not many people know, even avid gardeners, is that ladybugs come in different colors and do not always have spots. They can also be brown, black, yellow, gray and orange besides their common red color with black spots.

The larvae of the ladybug looks nothing like the adult. They are more alligator-shaped and do not have a smooth shell, but once you spot one, you will remember what they look like. They are usually dark brown to black and have a 2 distinctive red bands on their back. They are voracious eaters of aphids, so learning to recognize them and protect them is a plus.

The adults like tall grasses, so it’s not always advantageous to cut every bit of grass in your yard. They also like borage, tansy, geranium and angelica.

Ladybugs purchased from garden suppliers don’t always stay where you want them and will usually fly away, but here are a few tips to try to make them stay put:
– Release them just before sunup or just after dusk.
– Lay them gently at the base of aphid-infested plants.
– Spray plants with water just before releasing them.

Photo: Adult ladybug and larvae chasing some aphids on the leaf.

For full articles on Gardening not shown on this blog, go to our Garden Circkles Page.