Books by A.O. Kime
"Metaphysical realities in America's politically-challenged democracy"
"A sagacious accounting of the Stone Age and the beginnings of civilization"
see more books
U.S. colleges and trade schools
A.O. Kime Articles:
Shoofly Village ruins
Stone Age history
Stone Age timelines
Stone Age tools
Dynamics of now
Evil (nature of)
Gift of life
Light (nature of)
Time (nature of)
Curse of science
Int'l Criminal Court
Rule of law
Controlling insects biologically is challenging because it requires certain detailed knowledge of the target pest, frequent monitoring of the pest populations (every 2-3 days), and anticipatory strategies. In other words, with agricultural chemicals, it is often an instant cure whereas to rely on biological controls alone one must think ahead. One must recognize and / or anticipate a threatening pest population buildup... although that requires recognizing what a threatening situation IS (or could be). Plants can tolerate some pests and the economic threshold should be a consideration. In other words, the dollar gain should exceed the dollar cost (for controls).
However it is important not to let the population of injurious pests get out of hand. First, once it does, irreversible damage has probably already occurred for which not even pesticides can rectify and, secondly, beneficial insects cannot control a huge population of injurious pests... they would be overwhelmed. The safe bet is to assume certain pests will be there (you must determine which) and have their natural enemies already at work keeping the pests at bay. Yet, timing the release of predators is extremely important and utilizing methods to keep them from straying off... a common problem (especially with ladybugs). Learning how to effectively control insects biologically takes time however, several seasons for sure... and experience is the key to success. While a challenging affair, it is more-so a noble battle, and for the determined (those who persevere)... victory is sweet.
A.O. Kime - former Arizona and California agricultural Pest Control Advisor (1970-1992) and family farmer (1973-1998)
While there are dozens of beneficial insect predators, most have limited applications, but four predators stand out as having a multitude of applications. So for the time being, we are providing information only on those four. Click any of the links below for information on the other three.
The adult stage shown here is the most recognizable stage of this beneficial insect. The green lacewing are pale green in color with large transparent wings having markedly visible veins. They also have very large copper colored eyes... considered by some as 'pretty'. The species (but not the adult) is best known for preying on aphids but also feed on immature scale insects, whiteflies, small caterpillars, insect eggs, mealy bugs and mites (soft-bodied pests). Primarily only the larvae stage of the lacewing (known as 'aphis lions') attack aphids whereas the adults prefer nectar, pollen, plant saps and honeydew.
About 3/4 to an inch long, the adults can often be seen flying around from plant to plant as they are quite active. They prefer places of dense foliage (dense foliage often has a microenvironment of higher humidity conducive for aphids... their primary food source).
The green lacewing larvae are also known as 'aphis lions' (because of their ferocious appetite for aphids) and the stage which feeds on aphids and other insects. The larvae are most often considered the only stage of the lacewing which is predatory. Larvae will prey on a number of aphid species including soft-bodied pests such as immature scale insects, whiteflies, small caterpillars, mealy bugs, mites and insect eggs. Having two large sickle-shaped jaws (mandibles), the larvae pierce the skin of their prey to inject saliva and then suck out the liquefied contents of the host's body. Mature larvae are about 1/3" long and can eat several hundred aphids during this stage. To help distinguishes it from the lady beetle larvae, which are similar in size and shape, lacewing larvae are of a different color (light brown) and have large 'hooked jaws' protruding out in front of their head (the head is towards the bottom of the picture).
Its eggs can be found of leaf surfaces and are easily identifiable because they are laid singularly on the end of a threadlike ‘stalk’ (as shown). The eggs are laid in clusters. Apparently they are atop the stalk to keep the larvae from eating each other as lacewing larvae are also cannibalistic (will eat their own kind). The green lacewing larvae will emerge in four to 10 days.
Lifecycle: The lifecycle of its predatory stage (larvae) lasts about 2-3 weeks and the lacewing adults will live for about two months. Their numbers are especially high under very warm and humid conditions... dozens upon dozens can be seen flying around at once.
Note: Ants should be controlled if nearby... as if tending to a herd of cows, ants will defend aphids from predators to protect their honeydew suppliers (their food) and will also eat lacewing eggs.
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Great bugs have lesser bugs
upon their backs to bite ‘em,
and they in turn have lesser bugs
and so ad infinitum… (anonymous)
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Last modified: 05/18/13