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All about creating abundance by gardening!

   Jul 22

Best Pest Control is Early Detection! FREE App ” Garden Insect Guide” plus Identifing Immature Insects. Read on…

aphidsNo one likes to see insects eating away at their garden produce. Early detection is the best way to control pest in the garden. To detect them you need to be able to identify them and know which insects are beneficial and which are pests.

Here’s a FREE App to Identify Insects in the Garden  from

Mother Earth News

‘Garden Insects Guide’ App

This app will help you tell the bad bugs from the good bugs, and provide advice on how you can prevent damage from the pest insects and attract the beneficial ones.

In this digital resource, MOTHER EARTH NEWS gardening expert Barbara Pleasant profiles 15 of the most common garden pests, each accompanied by beautiful illustrations by Keith Ward. You can take your smartphone or tablet right into your garden and use the illustrations to figure out who’s who. Then, if you confirm that a pest insect is causing damage, this tool will tell you which of eight remedies you can use to protect your crop.

Plus, 14 beneficial insects are also illustrated and profiled, along with tips on ways to bring in each of these garden helpers. We give tips on how to maintain a healthy bad bug-good bug balance, a major goal of organic gardening. You won’t need any toxic pesticides if you follow this approach!

Read more…

Garden Insect Identification: Immatures

 by Roberta

Today we’re going to briefly discuss the identification of insects that aren’t adults yet.

I. Incomplete metamorphosis

Immature insects are not always easy to identify. For example, what were our red mystery insects last week on Growing with Science (Source of this article)?


Photo source: Growing with Science

Zooming in we can see this bug has its proboscis, or straw-like mouth parts, stuck into the plant. It is a true bug. In fact, as Sara pointed out, these red bugs are the nymphs of milkweed bugs.

You can tell they are not adults because of the short, dark pads where the wings would be. Only adult insects have wings. Insects that don’t change drastically in shape between molts, or insects with incomplete metamorphosis, have a series of stages called nymphs.


Photo source: Growing with Science

In this case the nymphs are likely to be small milkweed bugs, Lygaeus kalmaii, which are the most common kinds in our yard. Notice the two white spots on the black part of the wings of this adult.

How can we know for sure which bugs the nymphs will turn into? One way is to have patience and wait until they become adults. Adults are much easier to identify via field guides.


Photo source: Growing with Science

The nymphs may be different colors than the adult. That stripy-legged youngster is the nymph of an assassin bug.


Photo source: Growing with Science

An adult assassin bug lacks the stripes. However, you can still recognize the overall shape.


Photo source: Growing with Science

The nymphs in this cluster have just hatched out of their eggs. These are shield bug nymphs. Once again, the insects lack wings (see adult shield bug)

cicada-nymph1Photo source: Growing with Science

Other groups that have nymphs include cicadas, like the one above. Cicada nymphs may live for years under the ground.

grasshopper-littlePhoto source: Growing with Science

Grasshoppers also have nymphs, as do aphids, leafhoppers, praying mantids and cockroaches, among others.

II. Complete metamorphosis

A. Lepidoptera

Although many of us recognize the life stages of a butterfly, some of the life stages of other orders with complete metamorphosis can be tricky.

moth-pupaPhoto source: Growing with Science

Ever found one of these in the soil? Do you know what it is? It is the pupal stage of a moth (see post about moth life cycles)

B. Coleoptera

lady-beetle-pupaPhoto source: Growing with Science

What about these orange and black insects? The insects in the photographs above turn into lady beetles, similar to this one:


Photo source: Growing with Science

Most of us recognize that adult lady beetles are beneficial insects. The youngsters are beneficial as well (more about lady beetle life cycles).

Some beetle larvae look more like worms or caterpillars. This video has a nice summary of the life cycle of darkling beetles (its larvae are called mealworms).

c. Hymenoptera

sweat-bee-1Photo source: Growing with Science

What are the “grubs” in this photograph? Those are sweat bee larvae

To get further help identifying immature insects

Go to Growing with Science (Source of this article)

Top Photo source via


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