Senior Member
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Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 11:17 pm
Location: Pittsburgh, 6A

Have you ever purchased beneficial insects for garden use?

What did you buy? Did you purchase them from somewhere local to you (chain store, garden center, etc.)? Or did you order online? If online, from where, and were you pleased with what you received?


Super Green Thumb
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Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2010 3:43 am

not for garden use, but for livestock. I have both Black Soldier fly larvae and Mealworms. Both are high protein for the ducks and muscovies. Lots of worms from the garden too. The first two were on-line purchases.

I no this doesn't help. :?


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Posts: 38
Joined: Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:21 pm
Location: Olympic Peninsula, WA

I've often wondered how beneficial buying beneficial bugs would be. Though I just read in one my master gardener books that it's not always helpful to buy them.

For lack of being able to remember exactly what it said, I'll try and explain the best I can. Since the bugs are/were "frozen," the moment they are released they won't necessarily go for your garden to help. Instead they'll fly off and away to spread their wings, "nest," mate, so forth. Then, hopefully some will make their way back, but you'll never know for sure if it's the ones you released or some wandering bugs.

They are very helpful in the large farm plantation type of farms though. Releasing them in the middle of the field, they won't have many places to go but to go do the job they were essentially "hired" to do.

I think the best option is to set out the flowers, plants and other things that you know will attract them in the first place. The bugs will eventually come, even if they don't come when you want them to.

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Super Green Thumb
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Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

This goes back a ways. I had never seen a Praying Mantis in this area. A fellow gardener and I started buying a few egg clusters from a mail order source. We did this for a few years. They took hold and now we have Praying Mantis every year. They have reproduced and hold their own.

I tried buying Lady Bugs one time. It seemed that they left the area. I think if they find enough food they will stay put, but are likely to move.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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Posts: 249
Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2010 3:01 pm
Location: Clarksville,Arkansas

I haven't bought any,but I have made a couple of Mason Bee "houses".the first one is nearly full.I just put the second out a couple of weeks ago.I've seen ads for Ladybug shelters,but haven't got around to building one yet.
I started with nothing and still have most of it!!!

Newly Registered
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat May 15, 2010 10:42 am
Location: Texas

I buy lady bugs in year from our local feed store. They do a good job as long as there is a food source. Once the souce is gone, they will leave.

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Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2010 4:47 pm
Location: NJ

We bought ladybugs this year and last. I will admit, I purchased them knowing that they won't stay long. Really I get them b/c my daughter loves them!

However, this year, I was really glad we got them! We had a warm spring, so the aphids seemed to be really ahead of the ladybugs naturally and were going to town in my garden! Once we introduced the ladybugs, it has been much better. In fact, they must have stuck around long enough this year, b/c we actually have had quite a few ladybug nymphs appearing (which my daughter loves as well).

The aphids have definitely been under control since we got the ladybugs. I had to constantly wash them off before introducing them -- now they are staying under control enough that I just leave them for the ladybugs :-D

- Lea

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Greener Thumb
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Location: N. California

no need to buy any, give them the habitat they want and they will find your garden. just don't expect it to be 100% pest free right away, it takes time for the predators to build up there numbers. once at that point you can let them do all the work.
For all things come from earth, and all things end by becoming earth.

Super Green Thumb
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Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 9:40 pm
Location: ohio

I think it really depends on the size of your garden. If you're just a back-yard gardener, they'll probably just fly away and maybe two or three will stop in your garden. However, if you release them in a huge field, you will see results, but you'll also have to release a lot of insects.

Looking at Jal's experiences, there may be some long-term merit in releasing these insects year over year.
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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

What did you buy? Did you purchase them from somewhere local to you (chain store, garden center, etc.)? Or did you order online? If online, from where, and were you pleased with what you received?
Heh. I've been trying to think of how to phrase my reply....

• YES, I've purchased beneficial insects before.
• I've tried most of them, starting with Fly Predator Flies, Beneficial Nematodes, Ladybugs, Greenlacewings, Trichogramma wasps.... Only one I didn't bother to buy was Praying Mantis -- they were already here.
• Most of the purchases were made in the days before on-line purchase -- but the idea is the same. I got them from mail-order catalogs. I can't remember where the Fly Predators came from because I don't think they offer that now, but most were purchased from Gardens Alive.
• If you mean did they work, it's not always quantifiable.
- Flies: The summer before, there were always flies buzzing near the doors and a few got in every time they were opened. In winter, they were EVERYWHERE near the windows. I spread the predators (comes as pupae) all around the house in recommendate areas -- damp moist soil, and the number of pesky houseflies diminished over the summer and were not such an issue the following winter or since.
- Nematodes: Comes as a piece of synthetic sponge that you're supposed to soak and squeeze out the milky liquid into a watering can and sprinkle. The target was Japanese beetles. I think I also used Milky Spore at the same time AND convinced DH to stop putting out the lure/traps. Definitely less Japanese Beetles afterwards.
- Ladybugs: (live adults) I've done them a couple of times in the past. Like mom2cassie said, kids like to release them. :wink: They don't all go flying away if you overhead water/sprinkler your garden first and release them after sundown (or release them on rainy day). Put them at the BASE of the plants you know are having aphid infestations. Put them at the base of non-crop plants with aphid infestations AS WELL. Did they stay? I've no idea*
- Green Lacewings: (eggs - I can't remember if they were loose eggs or how I distributed them) ditto*
- Trichogramma wasps: Comes as pupal mass in a cup. Wait for them to emerge, then release the adults in to the garden near flowers.

* The Catch-22 is that if you have to buy them, you probably don't have the kind of garden that attracts them (and entice them to stay) As soil said, [url=]planting the kind of plants that attracts beneficial insects[/url] is important. Refraining from using pesticides and herbicides that kill the beneficial insects as well as the pests is important.

I haven't PURCHASED beneficial insects in ages. I reported that I had 14 praying mantis egg cases (ooths) throughout my garden this spring that released hundreds of baby Praying Mantises. My plums trees get covered with aphids then covered with ladybugs to the point that their pupae are so numerous (even on blades of grass) we have to tip-toe around the plum trees. :lol: Birds are everywhere hunting and catching and eating bugs (good and bad). Almost every day, I notice a movement from the corner of my eye and it's a baby Praying Mantis -- climbing in the apple tree, walking over the mulch, hanging in the raspberries.... Most of the time, when I see an infestation starting of anything, I also see a Garden Patrol, already on the job. :()

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