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Two Great All-Purpose Insects for Pest Control

Using insects can be a great way to help control pest and keep both small gardens and large-scale fields and greenhouses healthy and able to produce the desired amount of crops. The difficulty comes in knowing which insects to use because not all insects can handle every type of pest out there and many may become pests depending on the types of crops that are being grown. Below are two general purpose insects that can be great in helping maintain and control pest infestations. Listed are which pests they are best capable of handling and general help in how to most effectively use the insects.

Minute Pirate Bug

The Minute Pirate Bug, Orius insidiosus, are known to eat a number of small pests, but most notably thrips, including the adults. Other pests that can be controlled by the Minute Pirate Bug include the alfalfa weevil, aphids, armyworms, asparagus beetles, Mexican been beetles, bean thrips, beet armyworms, beet leafhoppers, brown almond mites, California laurel aphids, caterpillar eggs, coconut mealybugs, grape leafhoppers, greenhouse whiteflies, leafhoppers, potato leafhoppers, bean jassid, silverleaf whiteflies, spider mites, sweet potato whiteflies, and the two-spotted spider mites.

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The Minute Pirate Bug can be used to quickly manage an infestation due to their quick life cycle, 3-4 weeks. They will even kill the other pests when they are not hungry. They are effective both indoors and outdoors. For normal maintenance needs on 1-2 are needed per plant in greenhouses and 1-4 per plant outdoors. When dealing with serious infestations, up to 500 per 250 square feet in greenhouses and between 100 and 2,000 per acre in crop fields. All of this is determined by the level of infestation.
The Bugs are able to overwinter in most areas provided that there is a suitable habitat for them. The only warning is that they sometimes land on humans and bite them, but only at random. Insect repellants do no work and so the only defense is long clothing.

Green Lacewing

The Green Lacewing is often considered to be one of the top predators to use in pest management. The larvae are the predators as the adults only feed on nectar, pollen, and aphid honeydew. The larvae will eat the eggs and immature stages of aphids, spider mites, thrips, whiteflies, leafhoppers, some beetle larvae, and the eggs and caterpillars of moths.

When dealing with large areas, it may be best to consider using adult lacewings that will lay eggs to help get enough lacewings to cover the area. If time allows, it is often consider best to use eggs and spread it around. The green lacewing can help with larger infestations but it will require several applications of eggs to help get the infestation under control. Green lacewings can also be applied at the beginning of the season, just follow the manufacturer’s instructions as to best apply the eggs.
Both the Minute Pirate Bug and the green lacewing are great all-purpose insects. The difference is in how they deal with the infestation. The Minute Pirate Bug is better adapt at adult insects and can quickly control an infestation, while the green lacewing have a limited pest control effectiveness, being only able to attack larvae while in the larvae stage themselves. Both are effective and good choices in dealing with infestations and would make a wonderful addition to crop care programs

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