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Beneficial Insects

Lady Bugs

 

Coccinella septempunctata

 

Ladybugs, also called ladybirds or lady beetles, are the most well known of all beneficial insects. Ladybugs feed on soft-bodied insects such as aphids, scale insects, and other insects that are harmful to plants. Because they feed on these pests, ladybugs are often considered the garden’s best friend. Ladybugs generally spend winters in protected hiding places such as logs, buildings, under rocks, or ground cover where many ladybugs will hibernate together.

 

In the spring, ladybugs become active and can often be found in gardens and fields.

 

You can encourage ladybugs to stay in your garden by providing ladybug houses. Ladybug houses serve as safe havens during the winter months and provide a place for ladybugs to lay their eggs and go through metamorphosis. In addition to providing ladybug houses, you can attract ladybugs by planting vector flowers such as angelica or dill or by allowing weeds such as dandelions, wild carrot, or yarrow.

 

If you have experienced the nuisance of swarming ladybugs, rest assured that these beetles do not bite, sting, or carry human diseases, nor feed on wood, clothing, or food. They also do not reproduce indoors. These beetles are harmless to humans.
Remember ladybugs are very beneficial to agriculture and gardens and feed on harmful aphids and scale insects associated with trees, shrubs, bushes, flowers. If ladybugs have been entering your house, the best method you can adopt is prevention. Ladybugs enter through cracks around windows, doors, siding, pipes, and other openings. You should fill in any cracks and repair any damaged window or door screens.

 

You may use a broom and dustpan and/or a vacuum cleaner to collect them. Then you may place the beetles under a bush or other covered area well away from your home. Remember, they will be invaluable to your garden and flowers next year. Also remember that any problems you are having with swarming ladybugs will be solved once the cold winter weather set in!

 

Honey Bees

 

Apis mellifera

 

Forget about delicious honey, pollen and royal jelly.

Just think of a world without beans, tomatoes, onions and carrots, not to mention the hundreds of other vegetables, oilseeds and fruits that are dependent upon bees for pollination. And the livestock that are dependent upon bee-pollinated forage plants, such as clover. No human activity or ingenuity could ever replace the work of bees and yet bees are largely taken for granted.

 

Did you know that bees pollinate about one-sixth of the world’s flowering plant species and some 400 of its agricultural plants. Poorly pollinated plants produce fewer fruits and lower yields of seed. Inevitably driving up the price of food and consequently lowering the quality. One of the few farm activities that can actually increase yields, rather than simply protect existing yields from losses, is to manage bees to encourage good pollination.

 

By definition, chemical insecticides are harmful but individual products vary greatly in their toxicity to bees. Pesticides may kill quickly or, worse, kill slowly. If not immediately killed, bees can carry the contaminated pollen back to the colony where it enters the food chain and kills many more.

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