Table of contents:
Video: Beneficial Insects In The Garden (part 1)
How to use biological methods of plant protection
Insects that feed only on plants are called phytophages (from the Greek phyto - plant, phagos - to devour). Predatory and parasitic insects feeding on phytophages are called entomophages (from the Greek entomo - insect). Entomophages are gardeners' helpers, as they exterminate plant pests. The most common entomophages of the North-West region are ladybugs, otters, lacewings, sirphid flies (or hoverflies), tahini flies, earwigs, camels, predatory bugs, ground beetles.
Most entomophages are insects that have a complete transformation: (egg) → (larva) → (pupa) → (imago, or adult insect). Nature demonstrates a stunning variety of appearance of entomophages, amazing variability of the image of an insect at different stages of its development, different duration of developmental cycles and individuality in behavior. The methods of parasitizing are striking in their variety, ingenuity and cruelty.
Most imago entomophages do not lead a predatory lifestyle. The foodstuffs of adult entomophages are nectar, pollen from flowering plants and honeydew (non-flowering nectar arising from the concentration of plants), which support the vitality of insects and provide their body with the compounds necessary for breeding. For predatory adults (for example, the adults of ladybirds), nectar and pollen from flowering plants are an indispensable food supplement that replenishes the insect's body with compounds necessary for breeding offspring.
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After the pupa turns into adults (metamorphosis), before scattering in search of new habitats (and for insects that have one offspring per summer, wintering places), entomophages feed on nectar and pollen from flowers, which they first look for in the immediate vicinity of the metamorphosis site. Entomologists cite data that insect feeding on nectar and pollen lasts 7-10 days (in some species up to several weeks). It increases the lifespan of entomophages, has a positive effect on their health and fertility. Mating of these insects often occurs near nectar feeding sites. A fertilized female entomophage in the neighborhood closest to the place of breeding searches for places of accumulation of food (aphids, etc.) and lays eggs there. If there are no such places nearby, then nature's desire to provide its offspring with food,pushes the female to search for new, favorable places for this. Probably, like in birds, memorization of "native places", the memory of which in some insects persists for several years, occurs precisely during feeding and breeding near the place of metamorphosis.
In the North-West region, entomophagous adults can be found in summer in meadows, in forbs along rural and forest roads, in glades, forest edges. Entomophages most often visit flowers of plants from the family of umbelliferae, legumes, complex and cruciferous plants. The researchers found entomophages from 5 orders and 12 families on nectar-bearing plants. The most numerous were hymenoptera insects, insects of the parasitic ichneumon family, nut-mongers, ladybugs, lacewings, and sirphids.
In some species of insects (for example, ladybirds, butterflies, etc.), females are distinguished by an amazing attachment to the places once chosen for laying eggs. These places have remained unchanged for a long time and, as a rule, are represented by the same plants or bushes that are not in the depths of the forest or fruit plantations, not in the sun, but with sufficiently good illumination. This selectivity leads to the fact that the egg-laying sites are concentrated on a few plants that are especially attractive for insects and, as a rule, are located on the edges of the forest, along the borders of garden plantings and others, where insects under the canopy of plants can find secluded places and “lace penumbra ".
After many years of research, entomologists have selected species of nectar-bearing plants that have a long flowering time and attract pollinating insects and entomophages (see Table 1).
|Plant types||Nectar-bearing plants attracting pollinators and entomophages|
|Annual plants||Anise, chervil, coriander, dill, savory, legumes|
|Biennial plants||Cumin, parsley, parsnip, carrot, onion, celery, oat root, scorzoner, mustard, shepherd's purse|
|Perennial plants||All meadowsweet, volzhanki, elecampane, decorative bows, lovage, pupavka, rudbeckia, angelica officinalis, eremurus, oregano, lemon balm, mint (pepper, lemon, etc.), hyssop, marjoram, garden fennel, clary sage, clover, vetch, alfalfa|
|Meadow grass||Wild cumin, chamomile (odorless, popovnik), yarrow, clover, dandelions, goldenrod, willow-leaved tea (narrow-leaved willow herb), daisies, runny (runny is a good nectar plant and is valued equally with ivan tea)|
Nectariferous plants are a food base for imago entomophages, which need food with flower nectar and pollen from spring to autumn to continue their offspring, since some of them complete a cycle of complete transformation 5-7 times during the season, and up to 7-9 times in a favorable year. time.
To attract beneficial insects to the garden, it is necessary to plant nectar-bearing plants in the garden, to create forbs attracting entomophages along the lands, roads, and ditches bordering the garden. In such places, it is good to sow clover, lupine, plant chamomile (poplar), tansy, wild cumin, yarrow, goldenrod, etc. Nectar-bearing herbs in the garden and on the land adjacent to the plot play the role of a tempting “green belt” for beneficial insects. This technique manages to significantly limit or even completely exclude the use of chemical methods of plant protection.
Early waking predators (for example, sirphids) need early flowering nectar-bearing plants to create offspring. It can be dandelions, lungwort, medicinal galega, corydalis, Suvorov onions, maples that bloom early in our country, elderberry. Common hazel is one of the most important pollen producers. In early spring, insects take from it high-quality bee bread with a high content of proteins and vitamins.
Many entomophages like to visit the flowers of spicy-flavoring herbs, so it is reasonable to have clumps of parsley, dill, mint, oregano, lemon balm, caraway seeds, marjoram, etc. near or under fruit trees.
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Onion inflorescences are very attractive for predatory insects. Curtains of large inflorescences of decorative onions, Moli's onions, Suvorov's onions, elegantly flowering borders of chives decorate the garden and attract entomophages. Ornamental onion varieties bloom at different times almost throughout the summer: from May - early June to August. The Suvorov onion blooms in the first half of May and is the earliest of all onions. The green of its powerful leaves in spring breaks out right from under the snow, has a garlic flavor and is very useful. On the caps of flowers of perennial bows, ladybugs, sirphids prevail.
eating lacewing larva
Meadowsweet and Volzhanki (Aruncus) love humid shady places (although they grow well in the sun, if they have the opportunity to get drunk). They have a long flowering time and are adored by insects, luxurious inflorescences with a delicate aroma. The size of the inflorescences of some Volzhankas reaches 40 cm or more.
Tansy attracts ladybugs, cunning bugs, small parasitic wasps, lacewings, predatory flies. The navel is attractive to parasitic wasps and predatory flies. Cumin during flowering is visited by cunning bugs, spiders, small wasps, sirphids, lacewing.
Ladybugs, sirphids, small wasps, spiders love flowers of fragrant dill. Blooming mint is attractive to predatory flies and spiders. Many types of legumes (crimson clover, creeping clover, vetch) provide beneficial insects with constant food and moisture.
Tansy, sweet clover, navel, common goldenrod bloom for a long time from year to year. When mowing in gardens, the growing areas (clumps) of nectar-bearing plants should be preserved. It is advisable to delay mowing during the flowering period by 3-4 days.
Larisa Semyonova, member of the gardeners section of the House of Scientists. Gorky