Discover good insects that fight with bad insects

Tanja Folnovic

Every day more and more farmers decide to manage their landscape as a complete ecosystem by using integrated or organic pest management. They use insects that kill other pest insects. There are around a million species of insects, but humans consider less than 3% pests. Yet insects remain greatly undervalued. Instead of using chemical pesticides, which kill both good and bad insects, make your farm more affordable to beneficial insects. There are a huge number of predators that attack aphids, white flies, cabbage worms, leaf miners, mole crickets, spider mites and others that may be eating your crops, lawns, and landscape plants. The addition of certain plants to your farm will encourage biodiversity and a healthy population of beneficial insects that act as Mother Nature’s best organic pest control. They prey on pest insects or, in some cases, parasitize them. Tachinid flies, for example, lay eggs in the heads of caterpillars and then the larvae hatch and tunnel into their host, quickly killing them. Many insects are beneficial to the farm. These helpful creatures aid in decomposing plant material and plant waste and breaking it down into fertilizer, pollinate crops, aerate and improve soil and devour pests which are harmful to your crops. For this reason, you should consider keeping them around and also manage them properly. The best way to draw these beneficial bugs into your field or orchard is by growing their favorite flowering plants. Even though predation is the goal, most predatory insects also need nectar and pollen as a source of food. That’s because they are often predatory in just one stage of their life cycle (most insects go through four stages in their life cycle: egg, larvae, pupae and adult), but need these plants-based food sources in other stages. Here is a list of some flowering plants, according to blooming period, that you should grow: Spring-flowering beneficial attracting plants

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Rosemary (Rosmarinus officianalis)

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Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

Crimson clover (Trifolium incarnatum)

Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans)

Early/mid summer-flowering plants

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Lavender (Lavandula spp.)

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

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Mint (Mentha spp.)

Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota)

Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)

Late summer/fall-flowering plants

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Bee Balm (Monarda didmya)

Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)

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Goldenrod (Solidago spp.)

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

Aster (Aster chilensis)

The goal is to create beneficial insect habitat as close as possible to the crops that need protection. For small vegetable plots, it’s possible to plant an insectary as a border around the entire garden. In larger fields and commercial farms, plant an insectary row every 100 feet among the crops. For orchards, sow a seed mixture of insectary plants underneath the trees.

Occurrence of pest insects for all your crops you can track in Agrivi system:

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