Thursday, July 7, 2011

Insect identification

There are good and bad bugs in your garden, and determining which is which can sometimes be difficult. Some bugs look so ugly that you may be convinced that they are bad for the garden, but in actuality, they may be one of the best bugs you could have.

Lady Bug Larvae
Lady bug larvae is not pretty but these are very beneficial for your garden as they feed on aphids and other bad bugs and have not developed wings yet to fly away.  Most of the knowledge I have about bugs in the garden comes from fellow gardening friends who have been kind enough to share their knowledge. I wanted to have a good reference guide of my own so I asked my more experienced friends, and they suggested the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, so I picked up a copy.

Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. 
Fleck and Gidget play with a Fig Beetle
Gidget plays with her bug
Fig beetles are generally not extremely destructive to the home gardener but they will feed on ripe fruit if you don't get to it soon enough, and if they lay eggs in your soil, then it can cause some problems for seedlings because the larvae are very active and disrupt the top layer of soil, thus disrupting seedlings. 

I am looking forward to using the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America for insect identification in the future.

Mourning Cloak Butterfly
I did recently see a new type of butterfly to me in our garden, and even though I knew my book was on the way, I couldn't help but ask some friends what it was. They were right, I verified it in the field guide; this is a Mourning Cloak Butterfly. I thought it was absolutely beautiful. 

Unknown Bird
I need a field guide for birds next as we are seeing a lot of species that we have not seen before and I have no idea what they are. 

It's fun to explore the garden for bugs, and it is even better when you are confident about whether the bug is good or bad for your garden. So far, I would recommend this book to any gardener who wants to use good bugs to do some of their pest control work in the garden.

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