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Invite beneficial bugs to your yard

There are those of us who don’t relish contact with insects and worms while working in the yard, but many of them are actually quite beneficial.

For instance:

  • Ladybugs and lacewings prey upon damaging aphids and whiteflies.
  • Ground beetles eat caterpillars and Colorado potato beetles, so they may serve an important function in your garden.

By establishing your landscape, you’ve created an ecosystem, and many of those insects serve a purpose. If pests are damaging your plants, you can consult a landscape professional or a garden center to bring in more of those beneficial insects.

If you find exotic plant species like bindweed, knapweed, or Canada thistle wreaking havoc on your landscape, you can even call in the Department of Agriculture for insect assistance. Their Request-a-Bug service operates an insectary that provides biological pest controls—aka, bugs that prey upon those invasive plants. Colorado residents may request the biocontrols for a fee, and if supplies are sufficient, the Department of Ag will ship them to you, along with instructions for releasing them in your landscape.

Fees currently run around $30 depending on the request, and they’re due upon delivery. Supplies are limited and vary year to year. Consequently, the Insectary may not be able to provide mites for every request per season.

The advantages of biological controls include lessening or eliminating the use of pesticides and establishing useful populations of predatory insects. As with other treatments, more than one control might be required.

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