Following on from my interview at BayFM, I wanted to write a few posts on Good Bugs.

So what do I mean by Good Bugs?

Good bugs are those insects that prey upon bad bugs in your garden. Bad bugs include caterpillars, scale, aphids and mealybugs.

There are plenty of good bugs including lady beetles, lacewings and praying mantis. These bugs also include the larvae of insects such as cryptolaemus, which is the larvae of ladybeetles.

Encouraging the Good Guys

When you encourage good bugs into your garden, your veggies grow bigger and better, and suffer fewer pest attacks. And you won’t need to use any pesticides to get rid of the bad pests!

In fact, you have to stop using pesticides before these good guys will visit your veggie patch!

This is because pesticides kill the good guys just as quickly as they kill the bad guys!

My favourite Good Bug is the larvae of Lady Beetles, also known as cryptolaemus or the Mealy Bug Killer! And they deserve this title as they eat dozens of mealybug each day!

I once watched a mealybug killer clean up an infestation of mealybug on my lime tree. I had a pretty bad infestation at the start, and by day 3 there were only a few shell corpses.

The Mealybug killer works by disguising itself to look just like its prey. In fact, the only way you can tell them apart, the mealybug killer moves on its own. This is an important distinction, as the mealybug itself has no legs and requires ants to move it around. Mealybugs live on your fruit trees and in your veggie garden!

So, if you see a mealybug that is walking, it really is a good guy – the mealybug killer!

You can purchase these good guys online, from places like bugs for bugs. However, I find it just as easy to encourage the good guys into your garden. You can do this by providing food for the good guys with plenty of flowers and nectar.

Providing a pesticide-free garden

You also need to provide a pesticide-free garden. When I talk about not using pesticides, this includes those pesticides that are sold as “natural” and “harmless” such as pyrethrum.

These pesticides are considered “natural” as they have their genesis in nature. The chemicals in these pesticides have been extracted or copied from plants. However, they are made into a concentrate that is hundreds of times more poisonous than that found in plants!

And these pesticides kill all bugs, both the good guys and the bad guys. So instead of spraying your veggies with pesticides why not give nature a chance to use its own predators to kill the bad bugs in your garden?

When you do this you will notice that you have many more insects in your garden, but many of these will be good bugs.

So why not take a walk around your garden and look at all the abundant insect life? Many of these insects are helping you in your gardening endeavours They do this by pollinating your plants, but also by eating other bugs!

Until next time

Your Edible Garden Guru