5 Good Bugs for Your Garden
Besides being fun to discover and beautiful to look at, Ladybugs are great for getting rid of “bag bugs.” They feed on aphids, mites, scale, thrips, whiteflies, mealybugs and other slow-moving, soft-bodied insects, larva and eggs. A single ladybug can eat up to 5,000 aphids during its lifetime. They’ll stay in your garden as long as there’s “food” to eat.
2. Praying Mantis
These are purchased as “egg cases” that will hatch in your garden. Each egg case with hatch 50 to 200 baby mantids. Watch closely to observe hatching; the egg cases do not change in appearance when this happens. These good bugs are fascinating to watch, with their very slow moving, 3-inch long bodies, and prominent eyes. Praying Mantis feed on anything they can catch.
3. Red Worms
Not really bugs, of course, but extremely valuable for healthy gardens. Each red worm ingests its weight in organic matter every 24 hours. Its intricate digestive tract makes it possible for the earthworms to excrete highly nutritious fertilizer known as worm castings. They also create tunnels in your soil which is very helpful in creating aeration for plant roots.
4. Decollate Snails
Decollate snails are carnivores that feed on their cousins, the very bad brown garden snail. These killer snails actually attack brown snails, eating them and their eggs. Once the decollate snails rid your garden of brown snails, they feed on leaf litter and other organic material, helping the composting process. Note: snail bait will kill decollate snails. Wait 3- to 4-weeks after using snail bait before you release them. Decollate snails are invasive in some areas, but not in Southern California.
5. Green Lacewings
These good bugs are aphid exterminators, both as larvae and adults. They also feed on mealybugs, scale spider mites, thrips, whiteflies, small caterpillars, insect eggs, and larvae. They are sold as eggs that are perishable. For that reason, they are shipped as special orders.
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