Table of Contents
Some Insects and Pests in Garden
The Ladybird or God’s gift
Is it really necessary to present this insect? Every gardener is familiar with this little creature with speckled elytrons, which preys on greenfly.
The ladybird with 7 spots or Coccinella septempuntata is a beetle belonging to the Coccinellidae family which includes over 5,000 species. The species with 7 spots on its red elytrons is the most common in Europe.
Ladybirds emerge in spring from their hibernation at the foot of plants, hidden under leaves, under moss, or even in a secluded part of the garage. They reproduce and lay several hundreds of eggs, which the female places beside a colony of greenfly.
After a week or so, small black larvae appear an start to devour large quantities of greenfly. One larva will eat up to 200 greenflies a day. They then transform into nymphs, before becoming adults in the summer. The larva of the ladybird is thus of great help to the gardener who wishes to get rid of ravagers in the garden and in the house, without resorting to pesticides. Children also get great pleasure in observing them.
The golden-eyed lacewing (Chrysoperla sp, the common lacewing), is an ill-known Neuroptera whose winged adults lay their eggs on the leaves of plants, from spring to autumn. A female lays up to 1,000 eggs per cycle. The adult lacewing feeds mainly on nectar and pollen, while the larvae eat greenfly, soft-bodied scale insects, whiteflies, thrips, mite’s eggs and the larvae of Tingidae. Each larva can eat up to 60 greenfly a day over a period of 4 or 5 weeks (depending on the weather conditions).
The lacewing can thus be used in gardens (ornamental, vegetable or orchard), on balconies, in verandas, on any plant where ravaging parasites are present: Acari (eggs), whitefly, scale insects, greenfly, caterpillars, thrips, Colorado beetle larvae.
Simply introduce the eggs as soon as the first ravagers appear, placing the eggs close to them. Repeat this treatment after 15 or 20 days if necessary.
The lacewing’s cycle allows for the birth of several generations of adults per year. It is interesting to know that lacewings eat more ravagers than ladybirds! Now you should have a different opinion of lacewings, knowing that they are perfectly harmless to humans –
this insect which we sometimes find at the start of winter in the house is a real help to gardeners. Protect this ally by not using pesticides, to which it is very sensitive, and by offering it a shelter for the winter.
The forficula commonly known as the earwig is found in most gardens. It is inoffensive and is helpful to the gardener as it feeds on ravaging insects like greenflies.
The earwig is an insect which is a member of the Forficulidae family, which belongs to the Dermaptera order. There are about 20 species of this insect in France, the Forficula auricularia being the best- known. It measures between 1 and 2 cms. long, and can be recognized by its two cerci which form a kind of pinchers at the end of its abdomen. It varies in color from dark to light brown.
The earwig’s diet is very varied. It feeds on vegetation nearing the decomposition stage, like very ripe fruit, and on ravaging insects like greenflies and the psylla bug, which damages apple trees.
Generally considered as a useful insect for the gardener, the earwigs hides away from light. During the day it hides in cracks in the soil, under dead wood bark or under flowerpots. At night, it goes hunting.
It couples during the summer. The female digs a tunnel in which it lays its eggs, generally around 30, at the beginning of autumn. It licks its eggs continuously until they hatch in order to protect them from the surrounding humidity. When the larvae hatch, the female continues to look after them until their fourth and final transformation.
Most males die during the winter, whereas the females survive. The young adults come out of their tunnel around the month of June. They are smaller than the adults and don’t have wings. During a wet summer, they tend to proliferate throughout the garden.
Even though they are generally helpful to the gardener, too many of them can cause damage, especially to fruit with stones, like peaches, prunes, and apricots. In the event of an invasion, earwig traps can be placed on fruit trees. These traps consist of overturned flowerpots filled with straw. These pots can afterward be placed beside plants infested with greenfly and psyllae so that the earwigs can devour them to their heart’s delight!
Did you know?
The origin of this forficula’s nickname is unknown, but it is thought that it comes from the fact that it is often found at the center of the very ripe stoned fruit. As segments of apricots and peaches are called “Oreilles” -“ears” in French- the name “earwig” has stuck. (Click Next)