|Written by Heleigh Bostwick Tuesday, 01 December 2009|
Despite your best efforts, you still might find that aphids and other insect pests are invading your garden or houseplants. Instead of spraying those pests with a chemical try using biological pest control in the form of beneficial insects.
There are two categories of beneficial insects, insect predators that eat other insects and insect parasites. Insect parasites, which include parasitic wasps and tachnid flies, lay eggs in an aphid for example and when the eggs hatch, it eventually kills the host. Examples of insect predators include ladybugs, lacewigs, and hover or syrphid flies, stinkbugs, ground beetles, spiders, praying mantids. There are others of course but these are the most common in most areas of the country.
Chances are if the aphids are taking over there are not enough of these beneficial insects living in the garden. If that's the case you can take two steps. The first is to try to remove the stressors that are causing the plant to become infested in the first place (overcrowding, too much watering, etc) or you can purchase some of these predators bugs to release in the garden.
Several insect predators such as ladybugs, parasitic wasps, and green lacewigs are sold at gardening supply stores or can be ordered from catalogs that sell environmentally-friendly products. One word of caution though, if you want your predatory bugs to survive instead of being a one-time solution, you need to make sure the conditions are right for them to survive.