Beneficial Insects

ladybug Largeladybug Largeladybug Largeladybug Large

EEK! A BUG  You may see ladybugs and various other "good bugs" around our nursery. We are an "ALL NATURAL" nursery and greenhouse, meaning we do not spray insecticides. NONE, NOT EVER! We buy "good bugs" to eat our "bad bugs" and we have found that this method works quite well for us. So if you see an insect on our plants, don't be afraid. Chances are that it is a beneficial insect just doing its job.

 (Hippodamia Convergens)

Ladybugs are the most popular and well known of all beneficial insects.  Aphids are their favorite food source, but they also feed on many different small, soft-Ladybug larvaebodied insects.  Ladybugs devour many times their own weight.  Ladybugs will not feed on any vegetation.  They feed only on leaf chewing or sap sucking pest insects.  They are natural enemies of many insects, especially aphids and other sap feeders. A single lady beetle may eat as many as 5,000 aphids in its lifetime. They have but few enemies because of their hard shell and bitter taste, which is their protection against other insects and birds.  The alligator-like larvae (pictured) are also predators. They are spiny and black with bright spots. Poisonous spray is the worst enemy to the ladybug & its larvae.  It is best to release ladybugs in the late evening or early morning.  We sell packets of adult ladybugs in April, May and June.  $3.99 for a bag of approx. 100 ladybugs.

(Tenodera sinensis)

Praying MantisPraying Mantis are beautiful insects with a voracious appetite, and a delight to have in the garden.  Being strictly carnivorous, they’ll eat almost any insect, of any size they can overcome.  Waiting in quiet ambush for hours at a time, when an insect comes wandering by, they suddenly jump out and attack – always biting the neck first.  At rest, they seem to be “praying”, holding their “hands” together.

Each praying mantis egg case will hatch about 100-200 tiny mantises, all at once.  In order to hatch, they’ll need several weeks of warm weather, so they can “sense” that summer (and pest insects for food) has arrived.  Attach the egg case to a twig or plant about a foot or two off the ground where there’s cover to protect the babies.  When hatching, the young crawl from between tiny flaps in the cases and hang from silken threads about 2” below the case.  After drying out, the long-legged young disperse into the vegetation, leaving no evidence of their appearance.  This happens within an hour or two, and it’s very difficult to know hatching has occurred unless the elusive, well camouflaged young are found.  THE EGG CASE DOES NOT CHANGE APPEARANCE IN ANY WAY.  If you’d like to see when the mantis have hatched, place the egg case in a paper bag, fold the top and seal shut with a paperclip or clothes pin.  Place the bag on a windowsill in direct sunlight.  Periodically open the bag carefully and when you see tiny mantises running around inside, take them outside and sprinkle them throughout the area.  Be patient, sometimes it takes up to 8 weeks of warm weather for them to hatch.   Praying Mantis cases are available for purchase in April, May & June – $4.99 ea.