Fact Sheets - Beneficial Insects
Brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is an invasive insect that first invaded Utah in 2012. It has since caused urban nuisance problems and poses a serious threat to various commercial fruit and vegetable crops. In June 2019, the samurai wasp was discovered in Salt Lake City. This exotic parasitoid wasp is the most promising agent for biological control of BMSB and is uniquely evolved to lay its eggs inside of BMSB eggs. This handout describes how to determine if BMSB eggs have been parasitized by the samurai wasp.
The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is an invasive pest that damages fruit, vegetable, and nut crops in the U.S. Parasitoid wasps that sting and kill BMSB eggs are the most promising biological control method. This fact sheet describes some of the parasitoid wasps that have been found in Utah, as well as Trissolcus japonicus, a very effective parasitoid wasp that is native to BMSB’s home range and has been found in the U.S., but has not yet been detected in Utah.
Aphids are prey to many predatory insects, spiders, and parasitoids. Healthy predatory populations keep aphid populations low, which can reduce or eliminate the need for chemical controls.
Beneficial, or predatory, insects play an important role in suppressing pests in alfalfa. This publication is an introductory guide to the most abundant arthropods (insects and spiders) found in Utah alfalfa.
Many beetles are beneficial insects, either predatory on other insects or eating plants considered weeds. For certain widespread insect and weed problems, beetles are intentionally released to biological control.
Big-eyed bugs are generalist predators that consume a wide variety of small prey including insect eggs, mites, aphids, and small caterpillars. These beneficial bugs can be found in landscapes, gardens, and many vegetable and field crops.
Damsel bugs are generalist predators that consume a wide variety of prey including insect eggs, caterpillars, mites, and aphids. These beneficial bugs can be found in landscapes, gardens, and many field crops.
Lacewings and antlions are considered beneficial because the larvae eat a wide variety of soft-bodied insects. Adult lacewings feed on nectar, pollen, and aphid honeydew. Brown lacewing and antlion adults are also predatory on other insects.
Mantids are predatory insects common in gardens and flower beds. Buying mantid egg cases can provide some pest control, but often nymphs and adults are cannibalistic and indiscriminate carnivores.
Minute pirate bugs are generalist predators of spider mites, aphids, thrips, psyllids, white flies, insect eggs, and small caterpillars.
Syrphid are beneficial predators of small soft-bodied pests like aphids, thrips, and scale insects. Adults may feed on pollen and nectar, pollinating plants in the process.
True bugs are fluid feeding insects that suck out juices from plants and animals. Nymphs and adults feed on the same prey, especially soft-bodied insects like aphids and caterpillars.
Predatory mites feed on all life stages of many small arthropods and target pest spider mites. Most predatory mite species do best in humid conditions and controlled environments such as greenhouses and high tunnels.
Blue orchard bees are solitary (do not live in a hive) and nest in pre-existing cavities. Blue orchard bees prefer fruit trees from the family Rosaceae, including apple, cherry, and peach.
About 1,000 species of native bees reside in Utah; few of them are social. Some wild bees excel at pollinating Utah's tree fruits, raspberries, squashes, melons and cucumbers. Most of these native bees nest solitarily underground.
900 species of native bees reside in Utah. Some wild bees are superb pollinators of Utah's tree fruits, raspberries, squashes, melons and cucumbers. Few of our native bees have much venom or any inclination to sting.
This 98-page publication showcases common greenhouse pests and beneficials that can be purchased to manage them. It includes descriptions and images of the beneficials, how they are shipped and stored, recommendations for release rates, and how to manage the greenhouse to ensure that the beneficials reproduce.
Choose insecticides that are non hazardous to bees whenever possible. The more hazardous insecticide active ingredients include many of the organophosphates and the carbamates, and some of the synthetic pyrethroids and neonicotinoids.