ladybug on leaf

Every gardener knows that aphids are not a good thing to have preying upon the plants. Ways of dealing with aphids include soap water, pesticides and home remedies. An alternative way to deal with pests like aphids in your garden is to turn to nature itself. Natural insect pest control is not a new idea but one that is becoming more accessible to the everyday consumer.

ladybug on flower

The poster child for insect-powered pest control is the ladybug. Local nurseries and even sellers on Amazon sell the little red beetles as natural aphid control. However, practically all ladybugs available on the market are wild capture. Often collected while they are hibernating, wild ladybugs can also carry non-native diseases that infect native ladybug populations. Another problem with the ladybugs is that because they are collected during hibernation they may or may not even feed on the aphids causing the problem.

hybernating ladybugs

To this effect for the natural predator pest control of aphids, go with green lacewings. Green lacewing adults are not the ones truly preying on the aphids, it is their larva. Each green lacewing larva will eat 200 or more pest eggs or pests each week. They develop in two to three weeks before pupating. About five days later new adults emerge mate and repeat the life cycle. To promote your adult lacewings to stay and continue to feed on aphid populations you can supply some simple Wheast powder, sugar and water mix that you spread on the plants.

green lacewing adult

You can buy green lacewings from Green Methods in their larva, egg and adult form. Green Methods is run by Beneficial Insectary Inc. and their prices for green lacewings vary by life stage ranging from 20 to 35 dollars. Green Methods even sells the Wheast needed to feed adults to keep them around and reproducing for 10.95. They also have an extensive collection of other insects for pest control that include: fly, moth, caterpillar, thrips, fungus gnats, soil pests and much more.

flower garden

Using non-wild caught farmed insects for pest control is a great way to not only treat pest problems but also also eliminate the need for harmful pesticides. So the next time your garden has a pest problem try natural insect control instead of turning to harmful chemicals.

related: more gardening tips from The Alternative Consumer