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Purple Power

An Intro to beneficial bugs, their food, and the pest they take care of

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Note: keep in mind this thread is still a work in progress. This will be linked to other threads that will give more detail on 1 type of beneficial insects and the pests they control and they mostly have not been written yet.



Beneficial insects are used to control pest insects in an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. An IPM program has four components:


the use of traps to monitor and capture pest insects in their adult stage, the link to that thread   http://freemygreenpdx.com/topic/14331-monitoring-for-pests-skicky-traps/


Management cultural techniques to improve the overall status of the situation,



Quarantine: http://freemygreenpdx.com/topic/14249-quarantine-what-is-it-and-why-do-i-need-to/

How to sterilizes your soil is post 5 of the Quarantine thread


Use of beneficial insects to kill pest insects in their early developmental stages


The use of insecticides if necessary.



Make history. Keep a record of what happens so you know what worked and what didn’t. Not only will this help in planning your next garden, but it will probably save you all kinds of time and money.



Why use beneficial bugs? Pesticide Resistance


A reason to go natural and use beneficial insect, is that a greater number of insects are now showing resistance to chemical pesticides. For example, in a controlled laboratory experiment, fruit flies were exposed to DDT – a banned pesticide. The research found that not only did the pesticide not kill them, but the fruit flies had developed a way to metabolize it! That is, the “super” flies could use the pesticide as food.  Another example is the dreaded Spider mites (the Borg as we call them). About 500 insect species now show resistance to conventional pesticides, so if you use them rotate them when applying. 


Using beneficial bugs : A quick general idea of when


Beneficial bugs are used both as a preventative and as a control measure. An example of a preventative measure DE  http://freemygreenpdx.com/topic/14332-diatomaceous-earth-de/


Mycorrhizae and the roots: http://freemygreenpdx.com/topic/14315-mycorrhizae-and-the-roots/


If being used as a control measure for maximum effectiveness, beneficial insects should be released when pest densities are low to medium. Keep in mind that beneficial are not pesticides and they are not a miracle cure. Just as it takes time for pest problems to develop, it also takes time before beneficial can resolve them. A little patience can pay off. If the pest population is high, IMO , using the beneficial insects window is closed, Spray with chemical, such as avid, sevin, soaps, etc.


Selection of the proper beneficial insect for treating your pest issues will depend on a number of factors including the target pest, temperature range, relative humidity and prior control measures used. Usually all beneficial insects are sent with release instructions and recommendations to maximize their effectiveness


( Once I have the threads up, I'll link them to this one)


How to attract beneficial insects


Nature is filled with "good bugs", crawling and flying creatures whose diet consists mainly of the pests that ravage our garden plants, be it flower, vegetable, or herb.


All these plants are considered good for attracting beneficial insects (I'll go into more detail with each beneficial bug):  A useful link: http://www.organiclandcare.org/free-education/plants-that-attract-beneficial-insects.html



























wild carrot









If you have a unplanted areas, be sure to cover them with mulch, or use ground cover. This will shelter your beneficial insects and hold moisture for them, as well as provide food as it decays in winter, some cover crops

  • buckwheat
  • cowpea
  • fava beans
  • sweet clover
  • red clover
  • white clover
  • vetch
  • mustards



Instead of tilling these crops under at the end of the season, leaving them in place to provide a safe harbor for beneficial predators. Also, if you overlap your cover crops with your food planting areas, the beneficial insects can easily hop from one section to another. If you leave a gap in between, they may not make it to the area you are targeting for their protection.



Parasitic Plants (Yes, you read that right)


Broomrape (Orobanche ramose)




Dodder (Cuscuta campestris and Cuscuta europea)




Before talking about pests and beneficial insects. 1st, The benefits of using Beneficial Insect Food.

Most insects need at least two other dietary items: protein and sugar. Protein, which they obtain from pollen-producing plants, aids in their egg development. This is a necessary ingredient if you want your beneficial insects to stay around for multiple generations. Insects also need sugar for fuel, and they primarily get this from nectar-bearing plants with small flowers. Fill shallow dishes with a layer of small rocks or pebbles. Add water to cover the bottom half of the rocks. Place the dishes on the ground around your garden. Beneficial insects will visit to have a drink of water.


Beneficial Insect Food


Beneficial insect food is a food supplement that contains proteins, fats, fiber, ash, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, amino acids, vitamins, lactose, and sucrose that serves as additional food source for your good bugs.


Mix with water and spray wherever you'd like beneficial insects to hang out. Give them the food they love, so they won't go looking for it at the neighbors.


This food supplement can be applied on flowers and crops that grown either indoors or outdoors as a sprayable, powder, dry powder, or as the nectar source in butterfly feeders. This will attract beneficial insects to your garden, like ladybugs and lacewings and directs them to certain areas of your yard or garden.These beneficial insects will be helpful to kill insect pests. In addition to the protein sources they get by eating your insect pests


Consider using Beneficial Insect Food to supplement Beneficial insects like Mite Predators when mite populations have dwindled. This will help your hired bugs, so they don't starve to death. Remember in their natural setting, when the food source is low to none, they move on. This also helps them in other ways, for example, Ladybugs in particular require a liquid food source when released. (remember they have been put into a dormant state and will be very hungry when they wake up) ; it will increase their egg laying and your control. Some food are general or specialized for a type of beneficial insect.



Types of beneficial bugs : There two groups two groups of beneficial insects: Those that eat their prey directly (predators) and those that deposit their eggs on or into their host (parasitoids).


( keep in mind this list will grow over time)



Aphid Predators/Midge (Aphidoletes aphidimyza)




Fungus Gnat Predators (Hypoaspis sp.)





Hover Fly (syrphid flies)




Predatory Nematodes (Steinernema/ Heterorhabditis)




Mealybug destroyers  (Cryptolaemus montrouzieri)


Spider mite predators    (  Phytoseiulus persimilis,  Neoseiulus californicus, Mesoseiulus longipes)




Spider mite destroyers  (Stethorus punctillium and more)




Thrips predator mites  (Amblyseius cucumeris)


Rove beetle (Dalotia coriaria)


True Bug


Whitefly parasites  (Encarsia formosa)


Whitefly predators  (Delphastus pusillus)


Ground Beetle  (Coleoptera)




Spined soldier bugs (Podisus maculiventris)




                   Fly Parasites: Braconid wasps, Tachinid flies, Ichneumonid wasps


Aphid Parasite (A. matricariae)





Caterpillar Parasites (Trichogramma species)




Chalcid wasps (Chalcidoidea Order Hymenoptera)




Parasitoid wasp- general/ multiple species




General, All-Purpose Pest Controls


Praying mantis (Tenodera sinensis)




Green Lacewings/Eggs (Chrysopa rufilabris)




Ladybugs (Hipodamia convergens)




Pirate bugs (Orius sp.)





The Pests


Insects are the largest class.   Twenty-seven orders of insects are currently recognized by entomologists, and half of them attack Cannabis. Mostafa and Messenger (1972) list 272 species of insects and mites associated with Cannabis.


Slugs and Snails




Aphids (Aphidoidea sp.)




Whiteflies (Trialeurodes sp.)








Thrips (Thysanoptera sp.): Pest or beneficial depend on species: Thrips








cabbage butterfly  (outdoor plants- bud worms)




Cucumber Beetle




Caterpillars and Foliage "Worms"




Fungus Gnats






Leaf Miners














Beetle Borers








Pest Flies (compost pile)



                     Root and Soil Pests ( Root Mealybugs, Root Rot, Root Maggot, Grubs, etc)


Root Aphids





               Some nematodes that are pests                                  


Root knots (Caenorhabditis elegans, Meloidogyne incognita, Meliodogyne hapla, Meloidogyne javanica)


Stem nematode (Ditylenchus dipsaci)


Cyst nematodes (Heterodera schachtii)


Needle nematodes (Paralongidorus maximus)


Root lesion nematodes (Pratylenchus penetrans)





           Types of Mites           


Spider Mites (Tetranychus urticae)




Russet Hemp Mite (family Eriophyidae; Aculops Cannabicola




Bulb Mites (Rhizoglyphus echinopus and R. robini)- attacks cannabis. attacks and kills Garlic and onion




broad mite (Polyphagotarsonemus latus)





         According to literature at least 88 fungi species attack cannabis.Here's some of them      



Bud Rot  (Botrytis Cinerea)




Powdery Mildew




Hemp canker/White mold  (Sclerotinia sclerotiorum)


Dumping off (Pythium aphanidermatum and Pythium ultimum (oomycetes), Rhizoctonia solani, Botrytis cinerea, Macrophomina phaseolina, Fusarium (F. solani, F. oxysporum, F. sulphurem, F. avenaceum, F. graminearum)


Leaf Septoria/ Yellow Leaf Spot (Septoria species)




Brown spot leaf (Phoma and Ascochyta species)


Downy mildew (Pseudocercospora species)


Olive leaf spot (Cercospora species)


Pink rot (Trichothecium roseum) (false powdery mildew)




Brown Blight (Alternaria and Stemphylium species)


Anthranose (Colletotrichum species)


White leaf spot (Phomopsis ganja)


Stem Cankers (Trichothecium roseum, Phoma, Stemphylium, Colletotrichum, Fusarium and Phomopsis species)


Root Rot (Fusarium solani, Fusarium oxysporum, Macrophomina phaseolina, Rhizoctonia solani, Sclerotium rolfsii, Verticillium species)







Viruses are very small (submicroscopic) infectious particles (virions) composed of a protein coat and a nucleic acid core. They carry genetic information encoded in their nucleic acid, which typically specifies two or more proteins. Translation of the genome (to produce proteins) or transcription and replication (to produce more nucleic acid) takes place within the host cell and uses some of the host's biochemical "machinery". Viruses do not capture or store free energy and are not functionally active outside their host. They are therefore parasites (and usually pathogens) but are not usually regarded as genuine microorganisms. Viruses also cause many important plant diseases and are responsible for huge losses in crop production and quality in all parts of the world.



Hemp Streak Virus (HSV)


Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV)





   There are only 4 types of pathogenic bacteria that cause diseases in cannabis plants     


Bacteria Blight (Pseudomonas syringae pv. cannabina and Striatura ulcerosa)


crown gall (Agrobacterium tumefaciens)


bacterial wilt (Erwinia tracheiphila)


xanthomonas leaf spot (Xanthomonas campestris)



                       Abiotic Diseases                                     


Deficiencies of mobile nutrients (N, P, K, Mg, B, Mb)


Deficiencies of less mobile nutrients (Mn, Zn, Ca, S, Fe, Cu)


Ph Lockout



After disaster hits, some plants are lost (bugs, too much or not enough water/nutes, etc), but what to do with the ones that were saved? They took a beating: lots of dead branches and leaves. Let's face it they are a mess, a shadow of what they were, but somehow survived.  The following thread is one of the first threads I posted on this site. It focuses on the worst plant from that lot, I had others that bounced back under 24 hours.


This is an outdoor grow, so I couldn't give the plant the extra veg time she needed to fully recover..... oh I never had that 'plant sitter' watch my plants ever again. 


How to cut back and save a plant after the disaster is over




Classy, sassy, and a bit of a smart assy

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