Biological Controls in IPM
Add beneficial predators to the landscape:
- When their overall populations are not sufficient to control a pest
- When you anticipate an infestation at a particular time of the year
Conserve and protect beneficial predators in the landscape:
- Encourage plants that provide shelter or an alternate food source for the beneficial species
- Minimize disturbance to the soil
- Use narrow range pesticides that only target the pest
Get to know the important beneficial species in Central Florida! Here are a few!
Adult Lady Beetle
Credit: UF/IFAS Photo by Marisol Amador
Everyone knows the important predator, the Lady beetle! They feed on small pests such as aphids, mites, and thrips. Keep in mind that they come in shades of black and brown as well as red, and some do not have spots. If in doubt, look for their distinctive shape and quick movement looking for prey. Some may not recognize the Lady beetle larvae, which are also voracious predators. They are longer, flattened and are commonly in shades of black and blue with orangey spots, although there is a species that is white and waxy. The yellow eggs are found in clusters.
Brown Lacewing adult
Brown and green lacewings are small insects with lacy wings that feed on small soft-bodied pests such as aphids, mites, and mealy bugs. The larvae, also called aphid lions, are long, brownish, with large mandibles and are also great predators for the pests. The eggs of the green lacewing are distinctive; they are laid at the end of a thin stalk descending from a leaf. Eggs of the brown lacewing are laid directly on the leaves.
Adult Praying Mantid
Credit: UF/IFAS photo by Joe Singleton
Praying Mantids are large green or brown insects that look like sticks or twigs. They consume a wide variety of insects. Eggs are laid in masses of 200 or more in a distinctive barrel shape on stems.
Credit: UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones
Dragonflies are large, often colorful insects that are often found along bodies of water. They are predators of many other smaller insects.
Adult Big-Eyed Bug
The big-eyed bug may be small at 1/6” long, but it is a voracious predator of many very small agricultural and horticultural pests.
Adult Predatory Stink Bug
Predatory stink bugs prey on many species of plant damaging insects.
Adult Assassin Bug
Credit: UF/IFAS Photo by Megha Kalsi
Assassin bugs are predators of a wide variety of soft bodied insect pests but can inflict a painful ‘bite’ if handled.
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