Beneficial Insect Fact Sheets
Aphid Natural Enemies and Biological Control
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
Beneficial and Pest Insects of Utah Alfalfa
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.
Beneficial Insects: Beetles
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.
Beneficial Insects: Mantids
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.
Beneficial Insects: True Bugs
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
Beneficial Insects: Lacewings and Antlions
Lacewings and antlions are considered beneficial because the larvae eat a wide variety
of soft-bodied insects. Adult lacewings feed on nectare, pollen, and aphid honeydew.
Brown lacewing and antlion adults are also predatory on other insects.
Beneficial Predators: Predatory Mites
Predatory mites feed on all life stages of many small anthropods and target pest spider
mites. Most predatory mite species do best in humid conditions and controlled environments
such as greenhouses and high tunnels.
Beneficial True Bugs: Big-Eyed Bugs
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.
Beneficial True Bugs: Damsel Bugs
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.
Blue Orchard Bee
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,
Gardening and Landscaping Practices for Nesting Native Bees
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.
Gardening for Native Bees in Utah and Beyond
900 speicies 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.
Reducing Pesticide Poisoning of Bees
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.