Useful predatory insects in the vegetable garden

Useful predatory insects in the vegetable garden

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The predatory insects they are those who, when young or as adults, feed on other insects or parasitize them by knocking them out. Since the 'predated' insects are almost always harmful, such as aphids and scale insects, the predatory insects they prove to be useful allies in the vegetable garden and in the garden.

Indeed, more than allies! The predatory insects they are the quintessence of the biological fight against plant diseases, and in a balanced situation they should never be missing. They prove effective not only in repressing infestations, but also and above all in preventing damage. This is because the predatory insects they not only feed on adult insects, but more often on eggs and larvae.

A insect predator it can be recognized by its appearance. Given the diet, strong, forward-facing mandibles are required to grasp and hold prey, which is why the head is generally very pronounced. The second recurring feature is good mobility. Both of these elements are found in the most common predatory insects, which are five:


About 6,000 species have been described but perhaps even more exist. The owner of a vegetable garden probably invented the fact that ladybugs bring luck, as one specimen devours up to 5,000 aphids within a year. Setting up a bug hotel for ladybugs to have a good number of them available in spring can prove to be of great help.

The most common red ladybug with black dots on the back (the number of dots varies from species to species) is an effective predator of aphids, both as an adult and as a larva. The ladybird Thea, yellow with 22 black dots on the back, feeds on fungi harmful to the garden and is very useful in the fight against white disease (powdery mildew). Whatever its color, the ladybug is a friend of plants.


We tend to be wary of earwig, but in reality this is an omnivorous insect which occasionally becomes a phytophagous damaging flowers and buds. There forficula auricularia, called earwigs or scallops, belongs to the order of skin bacteria, one of the most primitive, and if the number does not become excessive it is to be considered an ally in cultivation.

Chrysoperla carnea

It is a voracious predatory insect of the order of Neuroptera and is used in particular for the fight against aphids that affect strawberries.


The name means 'with golden eyes' and derives from the metallic color of the same, while the body is bright green. In the larval stage, chrysopes are predators of aphids, mites, microlepidoptera, bedbugs, scale insects and even insect eggs. They are mainly active at night and have a certain resistance to low temperatures, which makes them suitable for the spring fight against parasitic insects.

Solitary wasps

Even some species of wasps, for example those called 'solitary wasps' or 'mason wasps', are in effect predatory insects. In fact, as adults, the mason wasps feed on nectar, but the larvae eat insects. It thus happens that the mason wasp captures and carries prey of various types such as aphids, caterpillars and spiders into the nest.

Video: Beneficial Garden Insects (August 2022).