Beneficial Insects and Integrated Pest Management
Creepy crawlies : You hate 'em - We LOVE 'em!
Beneficial insects and the use of their control has been around for many years. Although it sounds counter intuitive, bugs can actually be a farmer's best friend. Some insects help with pollination and also serve as natural pesticides, killing other bugs that may be harmful to the garden's plants. Beneficial insects increase the ecological diversity of garden areas and defend plants and crops from harmful insect pests by preying upon them.
A good example of this would be ladybugs. Ladybugs help rid an area of crop-damaging aphids, mealybugs and other destructive insect pests. The adult ladybugs feed on these insects. They also lay their eggs among the aphids or other prey so the emerging larvae can feed on the insects, too.
We currently use ladybugs and two types of tiny wasps in our high tunnels. What this means for our customers is that we don't use heavy pesticides to control insect pests which means organic healthy vegetables for Butler, Sedgwick, and Greenwood Counties and our Southcentral Kansas area.
A fun family activity we celebrate on our farm each year is our Ladybug Launch where we release all of our ladybugs into our high tunnel. (Watch our Facebook page for information on when our launch will occur this year after the Shelter in Place is lifted!)
Check out the infographic below for more information on beneficial insects and which ones might be good for your garden.