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Beneficial Insects, Spiders, & other Critters

Your yard has it's own little eco-system and you can either help it remain healthy and in balance or, with the use of herbicides and pesticides, the balance can be thrown off kilter.  You need beneficials to keep pest populations under control.  When the beneficials are doing their job in your eco-system you won't have many pest problems.  In fact, if you have healthy soil, healthy plants, healthy insects, healthy birds, etc, your pest problems will greatly diminish.

Think twice before you spray a pesticide on those pests.  Imagine what will happen to the beautiful songbird that eats the bug that was just sprayed with a pesticide.  Many of the following beneficials not only eat insect pests but also feed on pollen and nectar.  So even if you didn't actually spray them, you could be spraying some of their food with an herbicide.  Everything is inter-connected and dependent on the next.




Aphid Midges

Many different aphids

Feed on pollen and nectar


Nocturnal flying insects

Provide shelter such as a bat house, barn, etc. and water


Many kinds of insects and worms

Plant fruit bearing trees and shrubs, provide food and water, install birdhouses

Braconid Wasps & Parasitic Wasps

Aphids, beetle larvae, moth larvae

Adults feed on pollen and nectar

Ground Beetle

Slugs, snails, cutworms, root maggots, and Colorado Potato beetle

Live under rocks, logs, etc, and in perennial ground covers

Green & Brown Lacewings

Aphids, mealybugs, scale, moth eggs, mites, thrips, small caterpillars, soft-bodied insects

Eggs over-winter on plants.  Adults feed on pollen and nectar.  Spread purchased larvae in a large area to promote survival.

Hover flies, Flower Flies, Syrphid Flies

Aphids, mealybugs, mites, thrips

Adults feed on pollen and nectar.  Bodies have black and yellow bands.

Ladybeetles, Ladybugs

Aphids, mealybugs, scale, whiteflies, spider mites

Some ladybeetles migrate, other types over-winter in leaf litter. 

Praying Mantis

Aphids, beetles, bugs, caterpillars, flies, wasps, leafhoppers.  Unfortunately they also will eat bees, butterflies and other desirables.

Egg cases are attached to stems and twigs for over-wintering.  Praying Mantis is very territorial. 

Predatory Bugs: assassin bug, solider bug, big-eyed bug, minute pirate bug, ambush bug, damsel bug

Aphids, beetle larvae, leafhopper, nymphs, spider mites, thrips, corn earworms, insect eggs

Seek garden litter for shelter and bunch type grasses

Predatory Mites

Citrus red mites, cyclamen mites, European red mites, rust mites, two-spotted spider mites, thrips

Thrive in high humidity.  Mites can't survive in low humidity and low temps slow reproduction rate.

Milky Spore Disease

Japanese Beetle Grubs

Apply to soil, remains effective for 10 - 15 years.

Nematodes, Beneficial

Beetle grubs, borers, cutworms, weevils, fleas, armyworms, cucumber & Colorado potato beetle larvae, fungus gnats, Japanese and June beetle grubs, termites, sod webworms, onion maggot, walnut husk fly, raspberry cane borer

Effective insect controller only in juvenile stage.  Apply to soil above 50 degrees.

Rove Beetles

Aphids, fly eggs, maggots, mites, nematodes, slugs, springtails

Very versatile in habitat


Small rodents and insects

Provide shelter for them such as rocks, brush, etc.

Solider Beetles

Aphids, beetle larvae, grasshopper's eggs, moth larvae.  Will also eat caterpillars including butterfly caterpillars

Adults feed on pollen and nectar preferring goldenrod.  Eggs laid in soil or mulch with both adult and larvae as predators.


Feed on insects of all sorts

Perennial plants provide shelter for spiders, encourage by leaving webs intact

Tacinid Flies

Cutworms, army worms, tent caterpillars, cabbage loopers, gypsy moths, sawflies, Japanese beetles, squash bugs, and sow bugs

Feed on pollen and nectar

Toads and Frogs

Slugs and many insects

Provide water and shelter

Trichogramma Wasps

Cabbage Worms, cutworms, moth eggs, leaf-roller caterpillars, corn earworm

Pest eggs are parasitize.  Adults feed on nectar preferring Queen Anne's Lace, daisies, and carrot family plants.


Slugs and many insects

Provide water and shelter


Slugs and many insects

Provide water and shelter

Some of these items are available through Gardens Alive! and Peaceful Valley Farm Supply -


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