Integrated Pest Management is the practice of using biological, cultural, mechanical, physical and ‘chemical’ interventions as a preventative or corrective control for plant health. Using larval and adult predatory and parasitic insects to target unwanted pests is recommended within IPM.

Encouraging Predatory Insects- Bring All The Bugs To Your Yard

If you have pests present in the garden, don’t panic! Planting a forage garden will attract a nearby predator to stop by for a snack. Providing habitat rich in nectar and pollen for beneficial insects will help keep pest populations under control.

Making a Forage Garden- (See Plant List)

Planting a mix of annual, perennial, and flowering shrubs in a diverse range of colors, shapes, sizes, heights, and growth habits will help to attract a variety of beneficial insects. Including native plant species provides reliable, low maintenance forage and habitat. Grouping the same plant in a block creates a desirable insectary, as many pollinators feed on one species at a time. Planning for a continuous succession of blooming times provides valuable nectar and pollen that will keep beneficial insects nearby year-round.

Small branches and logs placed onto garden beds will create critical protection and habitat for long-lived insects, such as ladybugs, to overwinter. At a minimum, plant a 4×4’ patch for a small garden, or for a larger farm, 5-10% of the overall cultivated land, or an insectary row every 100’ among crops to encourage a great insect ecosystem. In orchards, sow or plant forage underneath the trees, or between rows. Generally, you want to create predatory insect habitat close to the crops that need the most protection.

Provide water: Shallow pools, bird baths, and non-chlorinated fountains with good sun exposure provide an accessible drinking water source. Remember to include rocks, marbles, or water plants for insects to land on to prevent drowning.

You can also buy dormant larval or adult predators from Down To Earth that will target the problem immediately.

Forage & Habitat Plants To Attract Beneficials


Cosmos bipinnatus (Cosmos white sensation)
Fagopyrum esculentum (Buckwheat)
Lobelia erinus (Trailing Lobelia)
Lobularia maritima (Sweet Alyssum)
Phacelia tanacetifolia (Lacy Phacelia)
Tagetes tenuifolia (Marigold ‘Lemon gem’)
Trifolium pretense (Crimsom Clover)
Vicia sativa (Common Vetch)
Vicia villosa (Hairy vetch)
Zinnia elegans (Zinnia)


Cornus sericea (Red Osier Dogwood)
Holodiscus discolor (Oceanspray)
Mahonia aquifolium (Oregon Grape)
Prunus virginiana (Chokecherry)
Philadelphus lewisii (Mock Orange)
Physocarpus capitatus (Ninebark)
Ribes sanguineum (Flowering Currant)
Sambucus nigra (Elderberry)
Spiraea douglasii (Douglas Spirea)



* These plants can be aggressive or regionally invasive.


Achillea millefolium (Common Yarrow)
Ajuga reptans (Carpet Bugleweed)
Allium sp. (Flowering Onion)
Anethum graveolens (Dill)
Angelica gigas (Angelica)
Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Weed)
Asclepias speciosa (Showy Milkweed)
Astrantia major (Masterwort)
Carum carvi (Caraway)
Coreopsis grandiflora (Tickseed)
Coreopsis tinctoria (Plains Coreopsis)
Coriandrum sativum (Coriander)
*Daucus carota (Queen Anne’s Lace)
Echinacea purpurea (Eastern Purple Coneflower)
*Foeniculum vulgare (Fennel)
Gaillardia x grandiflora (Blanket Flower)
Geranium sp. (True Geranium)
Helianthus annuus (Sunflower)
Leucanthemum × superbum (Shasta Daisy)
*Leucanthemum vulgare (Oxeye Daisy)
Melissa officinalis (Lemon Balm)
Mentha x piperita (Peppermint)
Mentha spicata (Spearmint)
Penstemon sp. (Penstemon)
Petroselinum crispum (Parsley)
Rudbeckia sp. (Black Eye Susan)
Sedum sp. (Stonecrop)
Sidalcea virgata (Checker Mallow)
Sidalcea oregana (Oregon Checker Mallow)
*Solidago Canadensis (Canada Goldenrod)
Symphyotrichum subspicatum (Douglas Aster)
Symphyotrichum chilense (Pacific Aster)
Thymus serpylum coccineus (Crimson Thyme)
Veronica spicata (Speedwell)

Predators For Hire

(available for special order- call store for pricing, availability, and other details)

LACEWINGS (Aphid Lion): Chrysoperla rufilabris

Eats aphids, caterpillars, spider mites, insect eggs, mealybugs, scales, moth eggs, thrips, and whiteflies.  Lacewing larvae will eat over 200 aphids in a week!  Adequate forage will encourage the adults to remain and reproduce in the release area. An insectary garden full of nectar, pollen and honeydew will stimulate their reproductive process.

Hippodamia convergens

Eats aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, scale, thrips, white flies, and mites.  One larva will eat about 400 aphids as it matures into an adult. During winter dormancy, ladybugs live under rocks, wood, or plant debris and usually live in groups of 100 or more adults.  They can live up to 2-3 years in the wild.

Tenodera sinensis

Eats leaf hoppers, beetles, grasshoppers, crickets, spiders, moths, mosquitoes, roaches, flies, and aphids. Adults also eat small rodents, frogs, hummingbirds, lizards, snakes and small song birds!  Keep in mind they are indiscriminate eaters and will eat other beneficial insects as well.

Aphidius matricareae

Eats many different varieties of aphids. The most common and effective parasite of the green peach aphid.  Is not effective for cotton or potato aphids.  Used frequently in greenhouses for aphid control. Females lay 50-150 eggs in aphid nymphs of all sizes.  One egg is laid in each aphid, which consumes them from the inside out in 5-7 days.

THRIP PREDATOR MITES: Amblyseius cucumeris

This aggressive predator feeds on all species of thrips under high humidity growing conditions.  When it has more than one option of prey, it will feed on the easiest to find.  Adults live for 4-5 weeks in which time the females lay around 35 eggs, mainly on leaves.

Delphastus pusillus

Eat all species of whiteflies, especially Sweet-Potato Whitefly and Silverleaf Whitefly. Females generally lay their eggs within clusters of whitefly eggs, which makes it easier for the larvae to find a food source.  They prefer eggs and nymphs.

Stethorus punctillum

These tiny beetles eat all stages of spider-mites, and find new infestation sites by flying.  Each destroyer eats more than 40 mites/day, living 4-5 weeks. Life cycle lasts 18 days at 70˚.

Cryptolaemus montrouzieri

Eats most mealybug species, especially citrus mealybugs. If mealybugs run short, they’ll eat scales too. Only 1 or 2 are needed per plant since predators eat fast, and mealybugs breed slow.  Females lay eggs along the egg sack of mealybugs. They become adults in 24 days.

Orius insidiosis

Also known as flower bugs.  Feeds on soft bodied insects like thrips, spider mites, and aphids.  They reproduce quickly with a life cycle of 3-4 weeks, so are great for dealing with infestation.

Phyoseiulus persimilis, Neoseiulus californicus, Mesoseiulus longipes

Very effective control for spider-mites. Three species are available. Order single species, mix of two, or mix of all three. Start with at least 1 predator for every 20 spider mites.

Aphidoletes aphidimyza

Otherwise known as a predatory gall midge. These arrive as cocoons from which adults emerge in about a week and lay eggs near aphid colonies. The larval stage, which feeds on aphids is orange, and about 1/10” long. Adults resemble small mosquitoes. Great for trees.

Encarsia formosa

Tiny wasps are effective control of Greenhouse Whitefly (Trialeurodes vaporariorum) in greenhouses. 500 is sufficient for most greenhouses.  Also provides limited control of Sweet Potato Whitefly (Bemisia tabaci).

Heterorhabditis heliothidis, Steinernema carpocapsae

Eats grubs, root aphids, house flies, weevils, Japanese beetles, ticks, queen ants, fleas, fungus gnats, ticks, thrips, leaf miners, cutworms, onion maggots, and root maggots.  Nematodes carry a Photorhabdus species of bacterium, which kills insects within 48 hours. They are known to feast on over 250 different insects including bacteria, fungi, protozoa and other nematodes.

T. pretiosum, T. brassicae, and T. minutum

These wasps lay their eggs into the eggs of over 200 species of moths, which turns the eggs black and kills them, preventing the next generation from maturing. Adult wasps parasitize 100 eggs in their short 8-10 day life cycle. These wasps are harmless to people, animals and plants.


Eats fungus gnats as well as mites, springtails, and most other soil-dwelling critters.  Both the nymphs and adults feed on soil-inhabiting pests, consuming up to 5 prey/day.  Their lifecycle lasts approximately 7-11 days from egg to adult.  Inhabits the top 1/2 inch of soil.

Zoraptor & Raptoralis species

Effective control of most pest flies including house, stable, face, blow, and horn flies. 15,000 treats several head of livestock, a compost pile, or numerous rabbits, chickens, & other small animals.