When we moved to Texas I waited one year before I did anything in the back yard. I wanted to see what was growing there and learn about the best types of plants that grow in our area.
As I started working in the yard and gardens I also started learning about the bugs out there as well.
A few weeks ago, I started moving my tender plants into the house for the winter. Each year I have more and more of them to find spots for around the house. I set up a 4′ table in the guest room (I call it the green house for the winter) and it gets filled. I have two 4′ tables upstairs and a bakers rack – filled. This year I have a large fern in the office and two smaller tables of spider plants in our bedroom (crossing my fingers that the cats don’t figure out how to get up on the tables and decimate those. They aren’t toxic and every cat need a bit of green stuff, I would just prefer they left some of the leave still attached to the plant for chewing on later…
As I was moving the plants around in the guest room I noticed a long trail of lacewing eggs on the underside of one of the spider plant leaves. NEAT! They are great bugs to have around.Commonly called: Green Lacewing, Lacewing, or Aphid Lion (larvae stage).
In the adult stage the normally feed on nectar, honeydew or possible nothing at all and they are active fliers at night. The females lay several hundred eggs during the spring and summer months. Each egg is connected to the end of a long silk stalk either in long single rows or in a cluster. You will usually find them on the underside of twigs, leaves.
When they are in the larvae stage is when they do their good work and are fierce predators they feed on aphids, thrips, mites, mealybugs, scale, whiteflies, eggs of leafhoppers, moths, cabbage loppers, corn earworms, Colorado potato beetle, asparagus beetles, leaf miners, as well as several other small beetle larvae and small caterpillars.
Now, that is a bug I want to have around! The developing larvae can eat from 100 to 600 aphids a day. A DAY! They are one of the most beneficial insect to have in your gardens and they can be purchased. Check with one of your locally owned garden centers to see if it is something they carry in the spring.
Fire ants will feed on the lacewing eggs, so keep any eye on that. We have a lot of fire ants around here. While they can do some good work too, I do control them in areas I walk and in the gardens. If they are in an area that is out of the way – they stay. They do good work on flea and tick larvae, so they too have their place in the cycle of things.
Find a good bug book that is for your area. When we first moved here our neighbors introduced us to one of their friends, telling me he wrote a book about bugs. My neighbors had a copy of his book and it looked like a great book so I headed down to the to this mans store and bought the book. Texas Bug Book, The Good, The Bad & The Ugly by Howard Garrett and C. Malcolm Beck. The man I was introduced to was Malcolm Beck! The book is wonderful and the man is wonderful. He is a wonderful contribution to our area and the world of gardening for us. He has developed a lot of organic products for us to use in our gardens. The line of products is called Garden-ville (the store is also called Garden-ville)
Do you have a good bug book for your area that you would recommend? Please share it with us all in the comments.