opabinia51
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Very interesting site, I'll have to sit down and read it when I have time. Thanks for the links.

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applestar
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My potato leaves are developing brown splotches. They eventually yellow, brown and hang down/fall off. I'm not sure if this is part of the natural potato foliage browning -- it seems a little early to me. In case it's a disease of some kind, I started to clip them off and dispose of them -- yeah I'm GETTING to the beneficial insect part -- and a bunch of WHITE FLIES started flying. Now convinced that THEY are the culprit, I was going over possible remedies in my mind, brushing the top of the potato foliage to disturb the white flies, WHEN A 2" PRAYING MANTIS scuttled away. What do you know, someone was already on the job.

I should have more faith in the process. :wink:

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gixxerific
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Wow! yet another extraordinary thread on THG. I feel Like I should be paying tuition.

I have been learning about the good and the bad about the bug world and companion planting. I have bookmarked several of the sites and printed some of them as well for reference. This will help further my eductaion, I wish I had something more to add other than....

....Thanks

Steven Daniels
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dynamic accumulotors

You should add comfrey and stinging nettles to your list of dynamic accumulators. I believe chamomille fits the bill like-wise. If it turns out
that chamomille doesn't meet the standards for being classified as a
dynamic accumulator, it makes the grade as an excellent companion plant.
Most of the people I've come in contact with call it " The Plant Doctor".

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applestar
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Here's an excellent native bee bulletin from Rutgers:
https://www-rci.rutgers.edu/~insects/NativeBeeBenefits2009.pdf

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applestar
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Adding University of California IPM Natural Enemies Gallery link:
https://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/NE/index.html
They have good photos for adult as well as eggs, larval, and pupal stages of the beneficials.

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Sage Hermit
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Call me strange but I see the slugs and the ants and the aphids and the birds and the critters all doing their job. I have almost no use for unnatural herbicides but gee golly gosh I need some mosquito and tick repellent. When we talk about getting rid of insects no one does it better than their natural predator. For 2 years I could see the beetles in my soil from the past and I want to know really how big a problem they are for you when you meet the plant's basic growing specifications properly. Seems to me the science of Insect Control has been made complicated with the many ways to actually do it and it needs a more simplified and practical approach. Example:
Problem with Spider mites drop in assassin bugs.
Put all the time and energy into figuring out the requirements for balance and sustainability in that approach as you would in approving a new chemical! Will the assassin bugs get out of hand? Who will eat the assassin beetle if they over crowd your space? Its like adding cinnimon to control mold flies. :o

Perhaps I am too organic in my vision. Its what works for me for now though. Wish you all the best.
Last edited by Sage Hermit on Tue Sep 21, 2010 11:33 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Sage Hermit
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Mason Bee Video


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applestar
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About a week ago, I realized I had forgotten to tie up one of the container tomato vines to the stake, and they had fallen over from the weight of the green fruits and were floundering in the mint patch. :shock:

When I gently lifted them up to stake them propery, I realized the situation made the foliage vulnerable to a massive aphid attack. :x

After initial ire wore off, I looked them over carefully to assess the situation.... Well, it turned out that almost every leaf sported an aphid mummy or two 8) :twisted:

Confident that the situation was under control and the Garden Patrol was already on the job, I simply tied up the vines and made sure to water the plant consistently so as not to put it under stress. :D

This week, there is no sign of the aphids. :()

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applestar
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This mama looks almost ready to lay eggs!
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/3C121C07-369B-4D63-B6D4-7524120FC0ED-25423-0000119B1F0D6183.jpg[/img]

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shadylane
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Tachinid Flies

Image

Image

They are very benefical to have in your garden. You can recogonize them by their dark bristle hairs that stick up on their botom.

They eat nectar, honeydew from aphids and scale insects. Not only do they eat flowers, nectar and pollen but come to such flowers to find hosts to attach or lay their already fertilized held egg onto them. These hosts or garden pests range from beetles, caterpillars, grasshopper, and cabbage worms.

The Tachinid flies have potential use as a biological control agents, but most attempts have been dismal failures.


By attract the Tachinid fly to your garden plant plenty of nectar rich flowers such as Shastas, Yarrow, Coneflower and white clover for a beginning.

Artemesia
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Re: Beneficial Insects

A native small bush I have found that attracts parasitoids especially well:
Grass-leaved Goldentop (Euthamia sp.)

imafan26
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Re: Beneficial Insects

Fennel, marigolds, nasturtiums, alyssum, and lavender, plus a host of nearly ever blooming flowers are the main plants that I use to attract beneficial insects. Fennel, marigolds and nasturtiums are trap plants but also attract beneficial insects like the ladybugs, hover flies, parasitic wasps, and lacewings. The flower heads of fennel and other parsley relatives as well as basil, sunflowers, and the nectar producing flowers attract honeybees, carpenter bees and provide nectar for beneficials as well.

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applestar
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Re: Beneficial Insects

I was excited to recognize having seen most of these in my garden. One exception is velvet ant.... :?

https://www.uky.edu/Ag/CritterFiles/case ... litary.htm
NARROW-WAISTED SOLITARY WASPS
Critter Files/Insects/Wasps, Ants, & Bees/Solitary Wasps
By Katja Seltmann and Blake Newton
University of Kentucky Department of Entomology


Common Kentucky Solitary Wasps:
Thread-Waisted Wasp
Thread-Waisted
Wasp»
Cicada Killer Wasp
Cicada Killer»
Spider Wasp
Spider Wasp»
Potter Wasp
Potter Wasp»
Velvet Ant
Velvet Ant»
Scoliid Wasp
Scoliid Wasp»
Tiphiid Wasp
Tiphiid Wasp»
Ichnuemon Wasp
Ichnuemon Wasp»
Braconid Wasp
Braconid Wasp»
Chalcidid Wasp
Chalcidid Wasp»
Cuckoo Wasp
Cuckoo Wasp»
Megaspilid Wasp
Megaspilid Wasp»
Pelecinid Wasp
Pelecinid Wasp»


TAXONOMY
KINGDOM: Animalia | PHYLUM: Arthropoda | CLASS: Insecta | ORDER : Hymenoptera | SUBORDER: Aprocrita (narrow-waisted wasps, ants, and bees)


WHAT ARE SOLITARY WASPS?
LIFE CYCLE
ECOLOGY
PEST STATUS
COMMON KENTUCKY SOLITARY WASPS
COLLECTING & PHOTOGRAPHY
SOLITARY WASP FACTS
MYTHS, LEGENDS, AND FOLKLORE

Mr green
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Re: Beneficial Insects

Bees of all kinds and wasps indeed...

But I wanna make a shoutout for my last seasons most important insects! ANTS! They saved my gooseberry plants without me having to lift a finger! Thats gardening folks!

And most people try to kill them and get rid of them. :|

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Beneficial Insects

Tell us more! :) How did the ants save your gooseberries and from what?

Mr green
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Re: Beneficial Insects

Well I though the ants did, but as I'm reading on the subject it seems like they would do the opposite in my said case and actually defend them. I'm a bit stumbled, because the green aphids (I atleast believed at the time it was) was gone soon after the presence of the ants, and it looked like they were actually eating them, this could probably be explained with that they feasted on honeydew.

Does all different ants have the same behavior as far as this goes?

So I'm starting to think I was not seeing what I thought I did, if so other helpful insects must have helped me get rid of both the ants and the bugs, without me knowing their presence... Or is there any other green bug that attack plants. that ants actually feed on?

I must add I'm not an expert to id insects, specially smaller ones like most pest ones are, as I havnt seen them much in my garden over all.
:?

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applestar
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Re: Beneficial Insects

One possible explanation is that they moved their "herd" to another plant. Maybe the quality of honeydew from your gooseberries was not up to their standard.... :lol:

Possibly, it went like this --

Head Aphidherd: For the love of $&*#%! ...take a day off sick and the whole place goes to the leaf litter! Who decided to put the prime honeydew producers on THIS lousy pasture? Was it YOU, Green-antenna? Taste that and tell me you think this is primo-honeydew? WHAT will our Queen think? Hurry up and get them all moved to THAT plant. Got it? Image LMFAO

Mr green
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Re: Beneficial Insects

Sounds like a very scientific explenation! Ill take it! :clap:

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applestar
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Re: Beneficial Insects

The Garden Patrol is assembling, and I found out where at least some of the praying mantis babies came from. I had attached this ootheca/egg casing (that had been on a plant I moved inside for the winter) to the metal trellis on the southeast side of the house and the metal had heated up enough in the sun to encourage some of them to emerge. :D Unfortunately I didn't realize that the wind had whipped up and blurred the telltale bits hanging from the bottom when I took the photo. :?
Image

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applestar
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Re: Beneficial Insects

I thought this quote from another thread was worth mentioning here, too :wink: --

Subject: Neonicotinoids kiling bees?
imafan26 wrote:I think everybody knows now that the bees are in trouble. No one really knows the cause of colony collapse disorder and it may actually not be just one thing but a combination of things that are affecting the bees. Loss of habitat, pesticide use and the main culprit of those are humans.

[...]

People are the real culprit in the decline of bees and other species, but people are not going to go away anytime soon. So, what is a body to do. First, don't spray if you don't have to. If you do, don't spray when plants are in flower or bud and do not let plants that have been sprayed bloom until the residues are gone. Use hand methods, beneficial insects, and select resistant plants. If you have to spray try to stay away from systemic insecticides. It means you will have to spray and examine plants more often with contact sprays. Plant a variety of nectar and pollen plants to attract beneficial insects and provide habitat for beneficial insects and animals.
Remember that all pesticides are toxic. Natural pesticides can be very toxic to non-target organisms and are not always the best alternative. Although natural pesticides come from organic sources it does not make them any less lethal. They are usually short acting but have to be applied more often increasing the risk of exposure to the humans applying them.
https://www.colostate.edu/Dept/CoopExt/4 ... ticid2.htm
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2 ... 175510.htm
https://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~lhom/organictext.html

luis
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Re: Beneficial Insects

Bees are one of the most beneficial insects we could have in a garden. We cannot have a garden and be self-sufficient if we don't have them around. It's a good idea to attract native bees into the garden, they may not make honey but they can help pollinate the flowers. If you want more bees in your garden then it is better to avoid the use of pesticides and herbicides.

imafan26
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Re: Beneficial Insects

Without bees half the produce in the grocery store would be gone or be very labor intensive to produce because someone would have to hand pollinate everything. That would probably make a lot of the produce cost a lot more.

john gault
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Re: Beneficial Insects

I have no shortage of bees in my yard. I wouldn't be surprised for the honeybees to build a nest in my yard with all the different food sources. Although, I'm sure the native bees wouldn't like that, which I also have countless numbers visiting my yard every year.

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applestar
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Re: Beneficial Insects

I think the silverlining in the honeybee crisis is the increase in awareness of using harmful pesticides and new guidelines for keeping the honeybees safer. Other Garden Patrol/beneficial insects are also being spared too -- at least when their presence coincides with the bees.

Hopefully gardener's are seeing new bugs to ID and differentiate between good and bad. :bouncey:

imafan26
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Re: Beneficial Insects

Here the honeybees have recovered somewhat from the 2011 levels where in many places there was not even a single bee to be seen I went from a bee an inch to 1 bee.

The recovery has been mostly because of an increased interest in beekeeping and managed hives. The managed hives swarm and restock the wild hives. Although in the long run as long as varoa and little hive beetles are out there, the managed hives will probably be the only ones that have a chance to survive long term.

Many individuals and a lot of farms especially the smaller organic and family farms are raising their own bees. We still have the problem where people still want to kill anything that tries to nest in their yard instead of calling a beekeeper in time to save the bees. The bees are useless once they have settled in or have been sprayed.

While the solitary bees don't live with the social bees, they do overlap in their territory. The solitary bees usually like different flowers. They all like sunflowers and they both will visit the heads. The carpenter bees like the long spikes of lavender and verbena and blue flowers more than the honey bees. The native yellow faced bee used to forage side by side with the honey bees. I haven't seen any of the native bees since 2011, I don't know if they are still around.

We don't have a lot of bee species. Honey bees were imported 150 years ago and it took more than one attempt to get them here alive by ship. There are no bumble bees, although people think the carpenter bees are bumble bees. We don't have squash bees either. Most of the native plants are in the pea family and other pollinators like wasps, flies, ants, birds, wind, bats, and moths do a lot of the pollinating.

To provide habitat for bees, they need a place to nest. Beekeeping is a good way to save some bees and get some honey for it. You do have to check with your local ordinances for where hives can be located. Here it is 25 ft from the property line. Since most residential properties are too small that means putting a beehive on the roof. Then there are the neighbors to consider.
Bees forage for up to a 2 miles but prefer to locate their hives within 1/2 mile of good forage. Bees like flat radial flowers that are scented like alyssum, fennel, brassicas in bloom, basil, mint, thyme, oregano, marjoram, onions and other herbs in bloom, Queen Anne's lace, penta, single flowered zinnias, asters, cosmos, daisies, sage, lavender, verbena single marigolds, cuphea, many vining flowers, fruit tree flowers, and sunflowers. Butterflies like milkweeds, butterfly bush, and catspaw.

In my yard the bees come for the Jamaican oregano, basil that has been left to bloom (African basil does not get downy mildew), cuphea, alyssum, roses, onions in bloom, fennel, sunflowers, single marigolds, Indian Hawthorne, and unfortunately the orchids. The alyssum, roses, fennel, cuphea, Jamaican oregano, African basil, lavender, peppers, eggplant, wild bitter melon, and orchids are in bloom in my yard almost year round. The neighbor's honey suckle vine that is encroaching into my yard also blooms nearly nonstop. Some of my citrus trees fruit three or more times a year and will have fruit and flowers at the same time. I water or it rains almost every day so the bees are on the foliage plants as well lapping up water from the leaves. Otherwise a shallow plant saucer filled with pebbles to land on and a half inch of water is a good watering hole for bees, butterflies, and birds. Bare ground is necessary for ground nesting bees like the squash bee (we don't have any of those here).
Shrubs, hollow logs, overturned pots, and even a flower are good resting spots for foragers to hide from predators. I used to find bees napping in the flowers at midday all the time. They would wake up and start foraging again once the weather cooled off.

I would have to plan my gardening around them. They don't mind company if you don't threaten them. If I have to work where they are foraging I coax them to another spot with a gentle shower from the hose to push them over a few feet. They usually buzz if I get too close. I have rarely been stung. The last time was when I did not notice that a bee had landed on my weeder and grabbed the handle and the bee by mistake.

One other thing you kinda have to do to keep bees safe. You have to avoid pesticides as much as possible to invite bees as well as other predators like lacewings, parasitic wasps, flies, and ladybugs. If you have to spray, then spray when the plants are not in bloom or disbud two days before spraying and keep taking off the buds until it is safe for them.

I usually only have to control erineum mites on the hibiscus because there are no effective predators or fungicides when the humid weather persists. The rest of the pests are taken care of by the garden patrol and spot treatment usually with alcohol.

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applestar
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Re: Beneficial Insects

Stinging wasps are precious, not pointless, say scientists | Insects | The Guardian
For those who have asked what the point of wasps is, there is now a comprehensive answer. They are voracious predators of pest insects, produce powerful antibiotics in their venom, pollinate plants and even make a nutritious snack.
Wasps are top predators of the insect world. Recent research found that common hunting wasps can control the fall army worm that attacks maize crops in Brazil, and a borer moth that eats sugarcane. The use of other predatory insects to protect crops is estimated to be worth more than $400bn a year, but hunting wasps have barely been considered, the scientists found.

Yellowjackets and hornets are among those likely to be most effective

imafan26
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Re: Beneficial Insects

Are mason bees the same as carpenter bees? For those bees we made bundles of 1/2 inch bamboo with one side open and hung them in trees. An alternative is to make bundles about 10 inches long with 1/2 inch pvc pipe with caps on one end. We hang them in a shower tree. We have a block of wood drilled with 1/4 inch holes for leaf cutter bees. Our carpenter bees like purple spike plants like lavender and vervain. Everything likes sunflowers. Carpenter bees are pollinators of passion fruit. I don't see those big bees on the smaller flowers. They do like honeysuckle. (all the bees and butterflies like honeysuckle).

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TomatoNut95
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Re: Beneficial Insects

Wasps will never be beneficial for me. They scare the living daylights out of me. I will use anything as a swatting weapon should one get within three feet of me.

I have carpenter bees. They are a nuisance because they do bore their holes in the porch ceiling and under the garage. But, they're more useful and abundant than the honey bees. I've seen carpenter bees chase wasps away and they'll pollinate my garden. Theyre also seemingly non-aggressive, they don't scare me in the least.

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applestar
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Re: Beneficial Insects

Carpenter bees are different from Mason bees. Carpenter bees are sometimes confused with bumblebees because they have similar round black shaped abdomen, but Carpenter bees are bigger and generally black. Their primary mode is to intimidate by hovering at eye level or just above your head, out of reach, and they swoop and ultimately head-bop you, like bumble bees. Stinging is in my experience, exceedingly rare — I have never been stung by either of them.

While nuisance when important architectural features are attacked, Carpenter bees are territorial and will drive away young wasp queens or kill if they can, preventing them from building nests. This is a useful trait as long as all family members can be persuaded to tolerate them.

TIP — Blast of water from the hose or soft strike with a badminton racket works wonders to persuade them to keep their distance without killing them. I’ve only had to kill them once or twice — some years they can be persistent and neurotic about sharing the patio.


...Mason bees are fuzzy-looking and yellow/brown like honeybees but round and smaller than honeybees... maybe 1/2 the size? They are not particularly aggressive either.

imafan26
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Re: Beneficial Insects

We have the large and small carpenter bees that do most of the pollination of common vegetables like cucurbits (squash, pumpkins, cucumber) and passion fruit. The like spiky purple flowers of lavender and vervain.

They do make holes in unpainted wood. So the easiest way to deter them is to make sure the wood is painted. That usually means painting the undersides of the house if it is built on stilts. I have seen them initimidate by "getting in your face" and I have not seen them actually sting anyone either.

Parasitic wasps are the good wasps and very different from the aggressive paper wasps.

I have bees working the yard in the morning when I water or work in the garden. They will usually give me a warning buzz if I get too close, but they usually ignore me and they I will get within 6 inches of them before they buzz me. I do use water to gently shush them away when I want to work in a part of the garden and I want to push them over to another part of the garden. They usually oblige.

Mind you we do not have Africanized bees and the bees in my yard are Carolinians (Italian bees) and are probably from a managed hive or a swarm from a managed hive. I don't have the space to keep a hive in the middle of a subdivision, so I only grow nectar and pollen plants instead.

I use this site a lot for choosing plants to attract beneficial insects and it does have pictures of the insects.
https://www.farmerfred.com/plants_that_attract_benefi.html

We have hives at the garden and we don't keep queens that are too aggressive. Aggressive hives are better survivors because they are usually strong hives. However, if the bees start becoming aggressive without provocation, we will usually replace the queen with a docile queen.

I don't have a lot of paper wasps. Birds are a bigger problem for me. This week a Jungle Fowl Rooster decided to roam around my and my neighbors' yards. I saw him on my wall and I had to chase him out of my yard. Roosters don't wait for the sunrise to start crowing and they will crow at a full moon. There are a lot of feral chickens all over the island and I hope he will be roaming somewhere else soon.



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