Building A Host Environment For Beneficial Insects with Paul Zimmerman

got thrips better get aphids think i’m
crazy i’m not and you’re about to find out why have you ever released ladybugs into
your garden only to find 24 hours later they’re gone well that’s because you didn’t build a
host environment for the adults see it’s not the adult insects that usually eat
the press you don’t want like aphids or like thrips it’s their baby the larvae
you’ve got to convince the adults to stay around and lay their eggs and you
do that by creating what’s called a host environment and that involves three
things food water shelter let’s start with water water for
beneficial insects is really simple any source of clean water with no chemicals
could be something like this birdbath I’ve got various other little stands
around and collect water i can add water in from a watering bucket I live on a farm we have horses we have
water tross so all different kinds of sources of water but make sure it’s
clean and has no chemicals that’s the number one thing you need is water and
the next one is going to be food and that’s what we’re going to talk about
next food is basically perennials with good
nectar you want assortment that bloom spring all the way into fall now rather
than recommend specific ones what I want you to do is to find ones that are
localized for your area so what you want to do is find out first
of all what are your common pests thrips and aphids for roses in the most common
ones then find out what are their predators in your area what are those predators want to eat
what kind of flowers do they like so going to Jackson Perkins dot-com look at
their perennials they’ve got ones that bloom in spring ones that bloom in summer
ones that bloom in fall bring in an assortment of ones that you like and you
know we’re going to help you and at that point plant them amongst your roses like
I’ve done here not separately you want to put them in the garden with your
roses because that food source is what’s going to keep the adult beneficial
insects around so they can lay their babies which are the ones are going to
eat the insects you no longer want so you’ve got water we’ve got food and now
give me shelter shelter for beneficial insects comes in many forms the most
common one is going to be the rough foliage from perennials and shrubs like
this butterfly bush left over the winter that’s why I don’t want you to cut them
back and fall just leave until spring because this is going to home a lot of
beneficial insects we will lay here for dormancy during winter and then come
spring they’re ready to hop in action to help you with your garden other forms
can be things like ornamental grasses those are fabulous for that of thing for shelter the other thing you
might want to think about the piles of old would just take a bunch of sticks
somewhere just pile them up that’s a really good way to go so the main thing to think about is just
use all different kinds of shelter rough foliage ornamental grasses piles of wood
shrubs like Holly evergreen juniper all of those different things lots of
combinations in your garden and that’s going to give you shelter for your
beneficial insects we’ve been talking about beneficial insects but I want to
pause for a moment to talk about another great predator that’s gonna help in your
garden birds birds eat all kinds of insects find out what kind of birds in
your area eat the insects you don’t want Hank bird feeders bird houses birdbaths
attract and keep those birds in your garden now we’ve covered birds we’ve covered
food cover water we’ve covered shelter you may remember the beginning I talk
about if you have thrips you got to get aphids now we’re going to find out why
and for that we’re going to talk about mama hoverfly story here’s mama hoverfly
story it’s early spring she emerges from dormancy she looks around and all the
perennials and all the plants that are in there for good nectar there’s a food
source we provided water for she’s thinking but I like it here this is a great place to raise a family
you know what I’m gonna lay some eggs but I know my eggs my babies aren’t
gonna be able to eat the nectar they need insects that they can feed on you
know what they love aphids its spring maybe I’ll get lucky siri when do the aphids appear Siri – “let me
think okay I found this on the web for when do aphids appear” great it’s now i’m
gonna go ahead and lay some eggs and raise a family here in this garden
that’s provided me with food water and shelter now I know aphids love roses I got a rose right here so i’m gonna go
ahead and lay my eggs into these roses I’m sorry can a girl get a little privacy for
just a second here this is great I’ve laid my eggs i know
my babies are going to be okay they’re gonna have aphids to feed on because
they’re not using insecticides in this garden they provided a host environment I’ve got my food I’ve got my water I’ve
got my shelter but meantime back at the Rose back at the Rose mama hoverfly has
later eggs they emerge those larvae emerge when the aphids show up that’s
what they eat they eat the aphids that then they become adults they then start to fly
around the garden but you know what they hang out because we provided food water
and shelter in our host environment now let’s fast forward a couple of months
they decide it’s time to start a family but the aphids are gone however its thrip season the larvae love
thrips daytime it go back to the roses they lay their eggs the thrips appear
then those larvae eat the thrips and it keeps going all season long and this is
why it all ties in and why it’s so important because if I had gotten rid of my aphids
early in the season I wouldn’t have had the first generation
mama hoverflies kids who would then lay eggs to deal with my thrips in the
summer that’s why if you want to get rid of
thrips you’ve got to get aphids the other important thing to remember about this
is it’s okay to have a little insect damage in your garden it doesn’t have to be perfect nature
isn’t perfect in fact i think a little insect damage in your garden is actually
a sign you’ve got a healthy host environment for Jackson Perkins this is
Paul Zimmerman and thanks for spending time in the garden with us

10 thoughts on “Building A Host Environment For Beneficial Insects with Paul Zimmerman

  1. Thrips and aphids aren't really a problem, it's the japanese beetles that eat everything, rose buds included for 2 months 🙁

  2. As well as birdfeeders, you could also just make sure to plant shrubs, trees etc that have some form of berry or seed that birds like.

  3. I buy a seed package of beneficial bug food to plant for my area from my local nursery, no need to study.

  4. it is a hard to achieve balancing act. Keep water for insects but dont let mosquitoes breed. Provide shelter for insects but dont let rats live in the woodpile. Pick off eggs on your vegetables but make sure they arent beneficial insect eggs. Whew! I am having a hard time with squash vine borers! ugh!!

  5. Love the host environment concept. I generally let plants outdoors deal with insect damage without intervention. When I photographed aphids, all friends who saw that gave me tips to exterminate them. I left them alone, and in the end the ladybug larva controlled them all. I left caterpillars and wasps alone, and in the end wasps controlled the caterpillars. I have more problems with indoor plants, because they have no natural predators indoors to control their population.
    This year I have not seen hoverflies yet, which is probably due to the erratic weather changes.

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