New Allies and New Enemies

I have noticed an increase in insect activity in the garden over the past couple of days. Bugs that I haven’t previously encountered are roaming my crops. I panic, and then my reasoning kicks in.

Off to google I go.

The Mexican Beetle

Enemy

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Mexican bean beetle by Stephen Ausmus

This one surprised me. I thought it might be something similar to a lady bug but it’s not. The Mexican Bean Beetle loves legume crops, as my bush and pole beans can currently attest. The adults and larvae feed on the undersides of the leaves. A serious infection can result in leaves having a lace-like-appearance. The beetles also feed on and destroy plant stems and pods.

To make matters worse, they overwinter.

To hopefully stop these harmful little buggers (literally), I’m going to apply some neem oil to my beans’ leaves and hopefully that will take care of the problem. I will also be dropping these guys in a vat of soapy water when I find them.

The Spined Solider Bug

Ally

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Spined soldier bug by Gerald J. Lenhard,

I’ll admit. The first time I saw one of these guys, I thought for sure it was going to destroy my entire crop. They are ugly.

Come to find out, the Spined Solider Bug is actually the most common predatory stink bug in North America. They eat over 100 different insect species, including grubs, gyspy moth caterpillars, larvae of beetles (Yes!), hornworms, imported cabbage looper, broccoli worms, webworms, and armyworms.

Pretty awesome considering I just found out I have some Mexican Bean Beetles trying to wreak havoc.

Lady Bug

Ally

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Lady beetle by Lance & Cromwell

By now, anyone who owns a garden, should know that the lady bug is your friend. In fact, some gardeners release lady bugs when they have a pest problem in hopes that they’ll take care of it.

Lady Bugs enjoy soft-bodied insects such as aphids and scales. I haven’t seen either of these insects on my plants this year so I was quite surprised to see a handful of ladybugs hanging out around my garden.

Earwing

Enemy

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earwig by Mick E. Talbot

Who doesn’t dislike earwigs? I know I do and I collect ticks for fun. That’s saying something.

Earwigs live in dark areas, such as mulch and under flower pots. If there are a lot of them, they can feed on and damage lettuce and strawberries. Thankfully, I have only come across a couple of these insects when I’ve moved pots. That doesn’t mean there aren’t more lurking in the darkness but so far they haven’t caused any problems.

 

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