Boost your garden insect heroes in numbers through buying them by the thousands online and then releasing these lions of the insect world onto your property for them to attack and feast on garden pests that harm your treasured plants.
If you're still using pesticides in your garden to control bugs then you are crazy silly and need to change this habit immediately! As if people needed more information to prove the harmful effects of backyard pesticides, but recent research into insecticides by German scientists has confirmed they are more powerful than everyone originally thought and residual amounts of these chemicals are now proven to accumulate in humans causing many different types of illnesses such as cancer.
Still, if you are one of those who feel you NEED extra help in the garden to control pests because your bad bugs are out of control then the answer is good live bugs shipped right to your door. The sad fact is if you have been using pesticides in your garden (even low grade ones) to get rid of pests then it's likely you don't have any good bugs left either and that's the real problem using pesticides creates, besides being dangerous, it employs a never ending circle of pest spray pest spray contaminating your landscape.
A lacewing feasting on aphids (image above)
So the logical thing to do is first encourage an environment which attracts predatory and beneficial insects to your garden and this can be done easily by growing flowering plants full of pollen or letting vegetables go to seed and of course not using any chemicals that may harm animals. Whilst predatory insects do love eating pest insects it's also true that they survive on and consume other foods like pollen (especially the adults) so don't just think you need a garden full of pests in order to keep a garden full of good bugs.
Once you are sure pesticides or harmful chemical residues are gone from your garden (usually about 4-6 weeks) then you should see the good guys returning. Obviously, populating your garden with beneficial insects the natural way can be a slow process because these mini ecosystems don't usually develop overnight, therefore, a quick way to restore your property to a more organic and natural state is to buy some beneficial insect packs to release into your garden rather than wait for them to naturally grow in numbers.
There are plenty of awesome insects that are great for our gardens and lots that attack bad insects like aphids, scale, and mites; however, there are several main beneficial insects that are commonly grown commercially to be sold to backyard gardeners. Some of the more prominent insects sold on the market are:
- Predatory Mites – These guys attack their cousins and are essentially cannibals eating several types of bad mites including the destructive Red Spider Mite/Two Spotted Mite.
- Lacewing – If you need an aphid killing machine then lacewings are your bug! They also will eat many other pests such as: caterpillars, whitefly, and thrips so they are extremely handy to have in the garden.
- Ladybeetle or Ladybird – These beautiful good bugs look great in the garden and they also smash pests like scale and mealybugs.
When predatory bugs were first developed, these commercially grown beneficial insects were typically used for commercial large scale projects such as: orchards, vegetable farming, etc but now we're seeing insects being sold to the home gardener and soon it will be common practise for avid gardeners to buy a pack of predatory bugs to fix a pest problem just like they used to buy a bottle of pesticide.
How much are good bugs to buy? Prices have been coming down over the past several years and retail costs do vary significantly but expect to pay around $35 for a packet of ready to release good bugs containing about 2000 eggs. This may seem expensive and although retailers of predatory bugs recommend follow-up purchases to maintain stocks in your garden it's probably not necessary to regularly purchase good bug packs. Once your property is good bug friendly, it may only need a few packs of good bugs to be released for your environment and ecosystem to start producing sufficient numbers of predatory insects. Maybe you could boost the numbers occasionally but in the main the beauty of nature and the facilitation by you of an animal friendly garden should ensure the balance of bad bugs to good bugs remains in check.
Where can you buy predatory bugs? You can search the internet for good bug growers and retailers in your area and it's likely you will find some because live bugs used to combat garden pests is becoming more popular by the day and a good business! Here in Australia a good organic pest control retailer is ECO Organic Garden Products and in the USA this link to Amazon gives a number of predatory insect products for sale.
I think the advancement of bio technology is at an exciting stage in backyard gardening history – it's fantastic really how they can grow/breed so many beneficial bugs and then ship them by mail to gardens all around the world for the purpose of controlling bad bugs. Let's hope we can keep advancing away from chemical control and encourage more gardeners around the globe to think more about how nature works at a micro level so we can develop and maintain good healthy gardens balanced by nature itself only.
Now go get some predator bugs and wage organic warfare on pests!