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The Five Best Beneficial Insects for an Indoor Garden Featured

Ladybugs take care of problem insects in your grow room, just like this one is doing to an aphid. Ladybugs take care of problem insects in your grow room, just like this one is doing to an aphid.


Pest insects are a burden on any indoor garden but are particularly troubling for growers of high-value crops. If not controlled quickly, pest insect populations can grow exponentially, as does the damage they unleash on an otherwise healthy indoor garden.

More growers are starting to rely on beneficial insects as a first line of defense against pest insects. There are many beneficial insects to choose from, but some are more effective and suited for indoor horticulture than others. Here are five indispensable beneficial insects for the indoor grower of high-value crops.

1. Ladybugs (Hippodamia Convergens)

The ladybug is the ultimate opportunist carnivorous insect. These tough beetles will literally eat any insect, larvae, or egg they can fit in their tiny jaws. Their relatively low price tag makes the ladybug the most cost effective beneficial insect solution for a grower. Another advantage of ladybugs is that both the adult and larvae stages are active hunters. Ladybugs have always been associated with good luck, and growers who have ladybugs destroying an insect infestation in their grow rooms can definitely attest to that.

2. Predatory Nematodes (Steinernema Nematode and/or Heterorhabditis Nematode)

Predatory nematodes are tiny worm-like creatures that can be watered directly into the medium to feed on the eggs and larvae of soil-born insects. Most predatory nematodes sold are a combination of both the steinernema and heterorhabditis nematodes because they work at different depths in the medium. These effective little creatures are great for thrips and fungus gnats. Growers can combine nematodes with sticky traps for complete coverage of the pest insect’s life cycle.

3. Predator Mite (Mesoseiulus Longipes)

The worst pest insect an indoor grower can become infected with is the dreaded spider mite. Predator mites seek out and feed exclusively on spider mites. There are a few different species of predator mites available to the indoor gardener. Mesoseiulus longipes are the best for most indoor garden environments. They have the widest range of preferable humidity and temperature, but most importantly they find lower humidities (most indoor gardens) acceptable for reproduction.

4. Green Lacewing Larvae (Chrysopa Rufilabris)

Green lacewing larvae are ferocious predators who feed on a variety of pest insects including thrips, aphids, mealy bugs, and whiteflies. These tiny killers are true opportunists and will feed on any insect, larvae, or egg they can inject with their paralyzing venom. Beneficial insect suppliers usually carry the eggs and/or the larvae of green lacewings.

5. Pirate Bugs (Orius Insidiosus)

Pirate bugs are good to try when other treatments or beneficial insects have failed. These beneficial insects feed on a variety of bugs including thrips, aphids, and even spider mites. They also feed on all the stages of a pest insect’s life cycle (eggs, larvae, and adults), which makes them a popular choice when fighting thrips and spider mites.

Beneficial insects offer a few advantages over contemporary treatment methods. They are generally easy to apply and since they seek out and destroy on their own, they create their own total coverage. Also, pest insects cannot build a resistance to predatory insects. This is becoming more and more of an advantage as pest insects are building more resistances to commonly used insecticides. Implementing beneficial insects can be an effective defense for any indoor grower of high-value crops who comes across an unwanted pest.

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This dude is going to help you out with some ladybug tips for your fava beans, tough guy!
Last modified on Wednesday, 08 May 2013 11:28

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