If you find praying mantis, spiders, parasitic wasp, lacewing larvae, ladybugs or ladybug larvae in your garden, let them be. They are all assuming the role of “live biological control”.
Of the beneficial insects listed above, the majority of us are most familiar with ladybugs. But….. would you recognize their eggs or larvae? The larvae are very ugly, as you can see in the above photo, but this stage of ladybug development will harvest lots of aphids from your plants. If you see a cluster of little yellow eggs on the underside of your plants, now you’ll recognize them as a good thing.
There is one stage missing from the picture above. In order for the larvae to grow larger, they must shed their skin called the cuticle. This molting will take place four times before they reach maturity. If you see an odd looking small black or orange, seemingly lifeless, sometimes vertical, bug as shown in the photo below, you’ll know not to kill it.
Ladybugs are very good addition to your garden. A single larva can consume dozens of aphids per day. Larvae feed on other soft-bodied plant pests as well, including scale insects, adelgids, mites, and insect eggs.
For more information and photos of the other beneficial insects mentioned above, click on the “Resources and Downloads” tab at the top of this page and download the document entitled Bugs and Stuff. If you’d like to receive my posts, please click the ‘SUBCRIBE’ button near the top of the right hand column.