Beneficial or Pest Insect Quiz

Beneficial or Pest Insect Quiz

Is this insect beneficial or a pest?

Correct! Wrong!

This is an Aphid Midge.

Preys On: Aphids

ATTRACTED BY:

  • Dill
  • Plants with plenty of nectar and pollen
  • In its larval stages, Aphidoletes aphidimyza is a voracious aphid killer. The more aphids present, the more it will consume. Also known as the gall midge, it’s known to feed on some 60 types of aphids. It’s a popular means of aphid control in greenhouses.

    Basically night feeders, the larvae hide on the undersides of leaves during the day. In its adult midge stage, the delicate fly feeds on aphid honey dew and deposits eggs in aphid colonies. The larvae take two-three days to hatch and go through three stages over two weeks, feeding on aphids as they go. The predator spends its pupal stage in the ground. The adult emerges in one to two weeks to lay more eggs among the remaining aphids.

    Sources: Planet Natural Research Center

    Is this insect beneficial or a pest?

    Correct! Wrong!

    This is a Cucumber Beetle.

    An infestation of these spotted or striped greenish yellow beetles can spell doom for cucumbers and other squash-family plants. Feeding on tender leaves and flowers, they can stunt or even kill plants before they become established. And if that’s not bad enough, the beetles also transmit serious diseases including bacterial wilt and squash mosaic virus that can ruin fruiting vines.

    Adult striped cucumber beetles are about ¼ inch long and have a yellow-and-black–striped abdomen and a dark-colored head and antennae. Spotted cucumber beetles are the same length but have 12 black spots on a yellow abdomen. The larvae are worm-like, white, dark-headed, and have three pairs of legs on the thorax.

     

    PREVENTION AND CONTROL:

  • Seek out varieties of cucumbers and squash, such as County Fair cucumber, that have proven to be somewhat tolerant of cucumber beetles.
  • Cover seedlings plants with garden fabric. Once young plants have become well-established, they can tolerate some cucumber beetle feeding.
  • If plants are uncovered, handpick beetles from foliage and flowers and crush or dispose of them. Beetle hunting is easiest in the morning when the insects are still cold and sluggish.
  • Mulch heavily around the vines with straw. This makes it difficult for beetles to move from plant to plant.
  • Clean up debris in the fall to minimize the number of overwintering adults.
  •  

    PLANTS AFFECTED:

  • Cucumbers
  • Squash (Zucchini)
  • Pumpkins
  • Beans
  • Sources: The Old Farmer's Almanac and Gardener's Supply Company

    Is this insect beneficial or a pest?

    Correct! Wrong!

    This is a Tarnished Plant Bug.

    TPB is a small, greenish-brown, flattened insect approximately ¼ inch long, with piercing-sucking mouth-parts. It has a diamond shaped area on the back caused by the overlapping of the wing covers. The immature stage (nymph) is a yellowish-green oval insect, taking on a similar shape as the adult after five molts. Older nymphs have four round black dots on the back and one on the abdomen. TPB eggs are cream-colored and flask-shaped, with a flattened edge. They are laid in plant tissue so that only the small anterior end is visible.

    LIFE CYCLE AND DAMAGE

    TPB overwinters as an adult under bark, garden debris, and among clover, alfalfa, and mullein leaves. The overwintering adult becomes active very early in the spring, attacking the buds of early developing fruits. This can kill buds or show up as scars on the fruits. On apples, it often appears as a round scab, often within a dimple. On strawberries, damaged fruits have a hard, greenish, seedy area at the tip. Damaged raspberries are uneven and misshapen.

    TPB lays its eggs primarily on weeds, grasses, and vegetables. The eggs hatch in about 10 days. It takes 3-4 weeks for the nymphs (immatures) to develop to the adult stage, during which time they may feed like adults and cause similar damage to crops. There are typically two generations of TPB per year in New Hampshire.

    PLANTS AFFECTED:

    Tarnished Plant Bugs eat a variety of plants.

    Sources: UNH Extension website

    Is this insect beneficial or a pest?

    Correct! Wrong!

    This is a Damsel Bug.

    In the family of Nabidae, also called nabid bug, any predacious insect in the true bug order, Heteroptera, that feeds on insect eggs, aphids, and small caterpillars. Damsel bugs are generally divided into two types. One is about 8 mm (0.3 inch) long and yellow-brown in colour with well-developed wings, and the second is larger, shiny black, and usually has very short wings.

    Each foreleg of the damsel bug is slightly thickened and has a double row of spines that act as grasping organs when the leg bends. Adults overwinter in grasses and weeds. There can be several generations of damsel bugs each year depending on the climate.

    PREYS ON:

  • Catepillars
  • Mites
  • Aphids
  • Cabbage Worms


  • ATTRACTED BY:

  • Carraway
  • Peter Pan Goldenrod
  • Spearmint
  • Fennel
  • Sources: Britannica

    Is this insect beneficial or a pest?

    Correct! Wrong!

    This is a Braconid Wasp.  

    Braconid Wasps are tiny wasps that might be mistaken for flies were it not for the alarm colors and the female's long ovipositor. Her needle-like ovipositor looks like a long stinger, but it is not. It is a tube used to deposit eggs. They have black heads and red bodies. Long black wings fold over each other and cover the length of the abdomen when walking. Long legs and antennae are also black.

    Braconid Wasps are parasitic to many types of Wood-Boring Beetle larvae as well as caterpillars. Females survey a tree trunk, looking for holes. Many beetle species inject their own eggs into trunks to protect them from surface predators and place them close to the heartwood, a food source for them. The Braconid Wasp female uses her syringe-like ovipositor to poke into deep holes. When she finds a beetle grub at the end of one, she lays a fertilized egg on or inside beetle larva. Later, the newly hatched wasp larva eats the grub from the inside out. In the garden and orchard, this beneficial parasitism occurs on aphids, coddling moths, tomato hornworms, garden webworms and on many different caterpillars, beetles and flies.

    ATTRACTED BY

  • Fern-leaf Yarrow
  • Lemon-Balm
  • Parsley
  • Common Yarrow
  • Source: Insect Identification website https://www.insectidentification.org

    Is this insect beneficial or a pest?

    Correct! Wrong!

    This is a Japanese Beetle  

    It’s a foreign invader, introduced to the United States about a hundred years ago. It’s a voracious eater that loves roses, grapes, plum trees and will eat leaves and damage flowers. They can easily be picked and put in soapy water if you do it early in the morning when they’re still groggy, before they’ve had their first cup of coffee!

    White grubs are the larval stage of several species of beetles and chafers and one of the most troublesome white grubs in New Hampshire is the Japanese beetle. Japanese beetle larvae are C-shaped and feed on grass roots. They are typically cream-colored with a brown head and a dark area at their posterior end, where the body contents show through the skin. Japanese beetles complete their development in one year. Japanese beetles lay their eggs in July and August. The eggs hatch and the young grubs begin feeding on grass roots within one or two weeks. They feed until fall when they burrow deep into the ground to overwinter. In spring, the grubs burrow upwards to the grass roots and resume feeding until late May when they transform into pupae. Peak emergence for Japanese beetles occurs about the first week of July.

    Source: UNH Cooperative Extension

    Is this insect beneficial or a pest?

    Correct! Wrong!

    This is a Minute Pirate Bug

    Also known as flower bugs, these are small, fast-moving predacious insects. The adults are small between 2-3 mm long, oval-shaped, black bugs with white markings on the wing patches. The wings are longer than the body and extend beyond the abdomen.

    In spite of their tiny size, minute pirate bugs are fierce predators, clasping their victims with their front legs and then inserting their needle-like beaks to drain their victims dry. They can even deliver a surprisingly unpleasant bite to the unwary gardener who messes with them! Minute pirate bug nymphs and adults are very active general predators of all life stages of many different types of smaller soft bodied pests. They are capable of eating 30 or more spider mites a day.

    PREYS ON:

  • Spider Mites
  • Aphids
  • Thrips
  • Catepillars
  •  

    ATTRACTED BY:

  • Caraway
  • Fennel
  • Alfalfa
  • Spearmint
  • Source: http://pubs.ext.vt.edu

    Is this insect beneficial or a pest?

    Correct! Wrong!

    This is an Assassin Bug.

    The assassin bug is just that: a voracious predator that will eat cabbage worms, potato beetles, cucumber beetles, cutworms, earwigs, Japanese beetles, Bean beetles, tomato hornworms, and more. A good bug to have around a farm or garden! They are generally black, and about half an inch long with a broad body and bristly front legs. They have a sharp curved beak they use to penetrate other insects, allowing them to inject a poison to kill them and turn their insides into a “smoothie” they can drink. They can sometimes pierce human flesh if handled roughly.

    ATTRACTED BY:

  • Queen Anne’s lace
  • Daisies
  • Alfalfa
  •  

    Sources: The Hippo, NHPR

    Is this insect beneficial or a pest?

    Correct! Wrong!

    This is the Sphinx Moth but most people recognize it when it is a Tomato Hornworm.

    One of the most destructive pests of tomato, potato, pepper, eggplant and tobacco plants. They consume entire leaves, small stems, and sometimes chew pieces from fruit. Despite their large size, hornworms are often difficult to spot because of their protective coloring. Growers will often find large areas where feeding has occurred before they see this garden pest. Damage is most often noticed in midsummer and continues throughout the remainder of the growing season.

    IDENTIFICATION

    Tomato Hornworms are green, between 3 and 4 inches long, with seven diagonal white strips and a black or red horn projecting from the rear. Tomato Hornworms become the hawk or sphinx moth with 4-5 inch wingspan. They are gray or brown in color with white zigzags on the rear wings and orange or brownish spots on the body. They fly quickly and are able to hover like a hummingbird.

    Tip: To find the larvae hidden among plants, look for black droppings (frass) on the leaves and ground and spray the foliage with water. The caterpillars will thrash about and give away their hiding spots.

    CONTROL

    Handpicking and dropping them in a bucket of soapy water is most often the best control in the home garden. Beneficial insects including lacewings, braconoid and trichogramma wasps and ladybugs attack the eggs. Another organic method for killing tomato hornworms is to mix liquid soap and water together and spray it onto the plant foliage, then sprinkle cayenne pepper over the foliage and fruit. The soap solution will kill the worms, while the cayenne repels them if the soap washes off. This treatment will need to be repeated after each heavy rain.

    Roto-tilling after harvest destroys overwintering pupae in the soil. This is especially effective since pupae are large and not buried very deeply in the soil. Results have shown that greater than 90% mortality is caused by normal garden tilling.


    Sources: Planet Natural Research Center and The Spruce

    Is this insect beneficial or a pest?

    Correct! Wrong!

    This is the Lily Leaf Beetle

    Known to lay its eggs and develop only on true lilies, Lilium species (Turk's cap lilies, tiger lilies, Easter lilies, Asiatic and Oriental lilies) (not daylilies), and fritillaria (Fritillaria sp). These beetles have been known to feed on a number of other plants, including lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis), soloman's seal (Polygonatum sp.), bittersweet (Solanum sp.), potato (Solanum tuberosum), hollyhock (Alcea) and various hosta species.

    IDENTIFICATION

    The adult beetles are about ½" long with a very bright red body, and black legs, head, antennae, and undersurface. The beetles are foraging for food and seeking a mate. The adult beetles will begin to lay eggs on the undersides of leaves, usually in May. The eggs are irregular-shaped and laid in rows that appear as tan-colored lines. Just before the eggs hatch, they will turn orange and then a deep red color. The eggs hatch within 4-8 days into the immature or larval stage. The larvae are slug-like in appearance with soft, plump orange, brown, yellowish or even greenish bodies and black heads. The young larvae initially feed on the undersides of the foliage but eventually will move to the upper surfaces and the buds. While they feed, the larvae pile their own excrement on their backs which makes them objectionable to hand-pick. The larval feeding is the most destructive and lasts for 16-24 days. Each female beetle produces 250-450 eggs.

    CONTROL

    Hand-picking adults and eggs can be effective. For more than a few susceptible plants, pesticide treatments may be needed. Products containing Neem (Bon-Neem, Azatin), a botanical insecticide, have been shown to kill very young larvae but must be applied every five to seven days after egg hatch. Before applying any pesticide, READ THE LABEL and apply only as directed on the label.

    Source: https://ag.umass.edu/greenhouse-floriculture/fact-sheets/lily-leaf-beetle

    Beneficial or Pest Insects
    Thank you for taking our quiz!
    The beneficial insects listed in our quiz perform a service humans find beneficial. There are lots of great sources on the Internet with suggestions on ways to attract the beneficial insects to your garden. The National Pesticide Information Center is a good place to start. Their website contains a list of resources. http://npic.orst.edu/ Happy gardening!

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