Insects, mites and weeds have natural controls that can eliminate 98 percent of their populations. In Colorado, beneficial organisms occur naturally. They can also be purchased commercially, and are available on a limited basis through the Colorado Department of Agriculture.
The best known of the so-called good bugs is the ladybird beetle or ladybug. The ladybug is found in most yards and gardens, and provides some control of aphids and several other soft-bodied insects. Unfortunately, ladybugs that are purchased have a natural tendency to disperse, so they provide little benefit to buyers who wish to control insects in their yards.
Green lacewings are commonly found in Colorado and feed on a variety of insect pests. Lacewing eggs can also be purchased and provide control once the eggs hatch and the developing larvae feed. The adults will also disperse unless significant numbers of aphids are present.
Praying mantids are large insects that prey on other insects. Unfortunately, praying mantids don't usually overwinter in Colorado, and they feed on beneficial insects as well as pest species. Praying mantids don't reproduce quickly, and they catch only fast-moving insects.
For more information, see the following Colorado State University Extension fact sheet(s).
For more information, see the following Planttalk Colorado™ script(s).
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Updated Thursday, October 16, 2014