I’ve always been interested in the creatures inhabiting our garden, no matter how small. My aim is to eventually learn what they all are, which are beneficial and which are pests. We don’t use sprays in our backyard to ensure that we don’t kill the goodies. If you have enough diversity of plant species in your yard, then you will attract predators that will kill the bad insects and keep them in check.
I had heard of Green Lacewings (Mallada signatus) before and knew that they must be good insects as people and agricultural companies often purchase them to act as a natural biological control as part of an integrated pest management plan. So, I was pretty excited when my husband recently discovered some weird growths on the back of one of our outdoor chairs. When I took a closer look I found what looked to be fine white hairs with one white egg on the tip of each hair. Some searching of my reference books and reliable Internet sites found that it belonged to Green Lacewings. Further reading found that their larvae feed on aphids, mites, small caterpillars and whitefly. A great asset to the garden! So even though it mightn’t make our outdoor chairs look too nice, we will be happily leaving them there.
Another beneficial insect we spotted a few months ago was the Fungus-eating Ladybird (Illeis galbula), which is distinct from other ladybirds by its yellow and black patterning. We spotted several munching on the powdery mildew that was growing on our zucchini plant. Since we removed the zucchini plant we haven’t seen any, however, apparently they appear once mildew appears so at least we know there are some in the area that will arrive when needed. I look forward to seeing them again sometime soon.