Companion Planting forum: Beneficial insects

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Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
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wildflowers
Feb 8, 2010 5:55 AM CST

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From earthworms to lady beetles, who, what, when, where, how and why?
May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

Name: leaflady
planet earth
Love the sinner, hate the sin
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leaflady
Feb 9, 2010 10:06 PM CST
The 'lady beatles' we mostly see around here nowadays are the invasive Asian type which seem to be eating the food supply for the native LGs.

I've imported the giant night crawler worms. I wasn't sure if they would take over and eliminate the native red wrigglers or not but they both seem to be doing well. I see some of each pretty close to each other. They both thrive under piles of compost, thick layers of newpaper or cardboard, etc. Just give them some used coffee grounds, chop or grind some citrus rinds and banana peels and egg shells, dig this mix into the soil and watch the worms loosen and fertilize the soil for you. They will turn nearly anything organic into dirt for you. Just give them time, some privacy and a very moderate amount of moisture. Too much water will fill their holes and drive them to the surface where many drown during rains.

GOD bless and keep each of you.
Name: Stephanie
Fort Worth, TX (8a)
Charter ATP Member Cat Lover Region: Texas Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Region: United States of America
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stephanietx
Feb 9, 2010 10:46 PM CST
We apply beneficial nematodes to our yard several times between spring and fall. They help destroy many soil borne pests such as fleas, roaches, termites, ticks, and many other pests.

I release lady bugs a few times during the season as well. Last spring we had them molting/morphing on our front porch walls!
Name: leaflady
planet earth
Love the sinner, hate the sin
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leaflady
Feb 11, 2010 4:38 PM CST
We have ladybugs on the porch, in the house, etc. in the fall, winter and spring but they are the imported Asian ones as far as I know. I've vacuumed walls inside to get rid of them.
Name: Stormy
Valley Forge Pa
I Love MAM ~ So Happy Together
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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stormyla
Feb 14, 2010 10:36 AM CST
Leaflady, Most of the Ladybugs that are for sale for gardening are the asian variety. They are beneficial too.

I too, use the nematodes as well as the Lacewings.
Name: leaflady
planet earth
Love the sinner, hate the sin
Charter ATP Member
leaflady
Feb 23, 2010 9:03 AM CST
Which nematodes do you use to get rid of fleas? I really need those. I not only have to fight them on my indoor/outdoor pets, there are all the wild critters who cross and live in my yarden who have fleas. I don't want to spray or put down granules because of my sometimes free range poultry and the wild birds. I've had granules that didn't dissolve and were eaten by baby ducks. It killed all of them.
Name: Stormy
Valley Forge Pa
I Love MAM ~ So Happy Together
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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stormyla
Feb 24, 2010 11:43 AM CST
Folks, This is where I get a lot of my beneficials. There is some good information here.

http://www.arbico-organics.com/category/beneficial-insects-o...
Name: Stephanie
Fort Worth, TX (8a)
Charter ATP Member Cat Lover Region: Texas Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Region: United States of America
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stephanietx
Feb 24, 2010 1:41 PM CST
We get our nematodes from the feed store, but the variety they carry is called ANTidote 3 N 1 Fire Ant and Termite. It also kills fleas, grubs, roaches, and other soil borne pests.
Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
Charter ATP Member Birds Organic Gardener Native Plants and Wildflowers Winter Sowing Herbs
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wildflowers
Mar 22, 2010 4:11 PM CST

Moderator

Hmm that is intersting...we're going to look into those nematodes.

In the past, I've used the diatomacious earth to help control fleas on my animals and for use in the house. It works pretty well and is natural so you don't have to worry about your pets.
May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
Charter ATP Member Birds Organic Gardener Native Plants and Wildflowers Winter Sowing Herbs
Critters Allowed Dog Lover Cat Lover Keeper of Poultry Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Composter
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wildflowers
Jul 8, 2010 9:19 AM CST

Moderator

I was just reading this article about the milkweed plant, the milkweed aphids and lady beetles.


http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100325171225.ht...

May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
Charter ATP Member Birds Organic Gardener Native Plants and Wildflowers Winter Sowing Herbs
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wildflowers
Jul 8, 2010 9:46 AM CST

Moderator

*Milkweed is definitely the favorite flower of the Monarch butterflies.... but did you know:

The adult and the larvae of ladybird beetles are predators of aphids.

You can attract the ladybugs to your garden by growing milkweed nearby your garden or, grown away from the garden and then bring the ladybugs into the garden by hand.

Other plants that will attract the ladybugs are:

Alpine cinquefoil
Basket of Gold
Boneset
Carpet bugleweed
Common yarrow
Dill
Fennel
Fern-leaf yarrow
Golden marguerite
Marigold tagetes tenuifolia
Penstemon
Prairie sunflowers
Sulfur cinquefoil
Thistles


May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
Charter ATP Member Birds Organic Gardener Native Plants and Wildflowers Winter Sowing Herbs
Critters Allowed Dog Lover Cat Lover Keeper of Poultry Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Composter
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wildflowers
Jul 18, 2010 3:49 PM CST

Moderator

Thought I would report my recent experience with beneficial nematodes. Just last month we discovered there were termite trails around the base of the house, outside of the dining room of all places! After removing a few panels of siding ~ cement fiber siding, btw, we discovered termites inside making trails in the wood frame. DH has replaced the wood and completed the repairs to the house, thank goodness!

To make a long story short, we purchased some beneficial nematoes and released them according to the instructions all around where the termites were found. There are no more termite trails to be found.

And I just realized that we purchased our nematodes from the place Stormyla recommended, Arbico organics *Link is listed above*
They were very helpful and prompt in getting our nematoes :thumbsup:

With our dogs, cat and now chickens running around, I am glad we were able to solve our termite problem without chemicals!! Dh agreed to give the nematoes a try before going the chemical route and it seems to have worked!!
May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

Name: Linda
Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a)
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LindaTX8
Jul 20, 2010 3:09 PM CST
It was my understanding that beneficial nematodes should only be applied when temps are mild...such as spring and fall in Texas. The nematodes also survive best in moist, shady areas...making it quite difficult to keep them going in my area, of course.
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. E. B.White
Integrity can never be taken. It can only be given, and I wasn't going to give it up to these people. Gary Mowad
Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
Charter ATP Member Birds Organic Gardener Native Plants and Wildflowers Winter Sowing Herbs
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wildflowers
Jul 20, 2010 4:14 PM CST

Moderator

The spring or fall is probably the best time, like you said, but we talked with the company, Arbico several times before they sent the nematodes. The instructions were to apply the nematodes in early morning or evening, avoiding the heat of the day and then keep the area watered. It was actually the First week of June when we did the first of two applications.

We are in a heavily wooded area so it's no surprise that there are termites around. And the trees shade the south side of the house where we found the termites. We discovered a construction flaw that was allowing water to drip down into the area behind the HardiPlank so the framework was starting to rot! Luckily we noticed the little trails of termites going up the slab from the ground. And luckly my hubby is quite handy and was able to make the repairs himself, replacing the damaged wood and fixing that area where the water was entering!

It took about at least month before we stopped seeing the little trails reappear, after knocking them off!! I haven't seen any trails for over a week now.
May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

Name: Stephanie
Fort Worth, TX (8a)
Charter ATP Member Cat Lover Region: Texas Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Region: United States of America
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stephanietx
Jul 25, 2010 9:26 AM CST
Once you've watered them in, the open areas shouldn't be a problem since they work underground. We apply in early early spring, mid/late spring, early fall, and then late fall (mid-Oct) when we do the 4 times a year. The past couple of years, we've only needed to apply twice a year and we do it in early, early spring to catch cutworms, grubs, and other pests, then in mid-late fall.
Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
Charter ATP Member Birds Organic Gardener Native Plants and Wildflowers Winter Sowing Herbs
Critters Allowed Dog Lover Cat Lover Keeper of Poultry Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Composter
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wildflowers
Jul 25, 2010 10:11 AM CST

Moderator

Thanks for the info, Stephanie. We were thinking we should do another application so I guess in Mid Oct will be when to do it. Then again in early spring, since it sounds like something we should keep up with.

I'm gonna have to see if we can get the nematodes locally.
May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

Name: Stephanie
Fort Worth, TX (8a)
Charter ATP Member Cat Lover Region: Texas Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Region: United States of America
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stephanietx
Jul 25, 2010 7:19 PM CST
Once you do the 4 times a year thing, you should only need to do it once or twice a year after that.
Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
Charter ATP Member Birds Organic Gardener Native Plants and Wildflowers Winter Sowing Herbs
Critters Allowed Dog Lover Cat Lover Keeper of Poultry Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Composter
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wildflowers
Jul 28, 2010 6:32 PM CST

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I wouldn't normally think of these little beetles as pollinators...
but they are!!

Thumb of 2010-07-29/wildflowers/d1a9c6

Beetles pollinate a very large percentage of wildflowers.
May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
Charter ATP Member Birds Organic Gardener Native Plants and Wildflowers Winter Sowing Herbs
Critters Allowed Dog Lover Cat Lover Keeper of Poultry Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Composter
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wildflowers
Aug 25, 2010 3:46 PM CST

Moderator

Warning... this is not a beneficial insect! I was just so shocked to see this sight... but if you don't like seeing the ugly side of nature, don't look further!

This robber fly, possibly Efferia, has captured a horsefly! Man, they must be quick because the horsefly sure is!!

Now, let me just say that I don't really like seeing either one of these hanging around! The robber flies capture various bees, wasps and other flying insects, paralyze them and drink the fluids from their prey. The horseflies race around here harassing us and the animals! They will bite and take a chuck of meat out of you before you know what hit!

Thumb of 2010-08-25/wildflowers/5dc838

For whatever reason, the horseflies and deerflies have been bad this year. But now that I think about it, I've been seeing more robber flies than usual this year too.

Ooops! I posted the wrong picture.. this one is a little bit clearer:

Thumb of 2010-08-25/wildflowers/f17812
May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

Ontario, Canada (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Container Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids
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Steven
Aug 27, 2010 1:04 PM CST
Wow, I've never seen one of those robber flies here......but I was so happy to find this girl the other day living in my rosebush!
Thumb of 2010-08-27/Steven/13ffa2

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