Growing Guide: Beneficial Insects

Beneficial Insects

Beneficial Insects can be used as a natural pest control for common bug problems. Here are some of the beneficial insects Osuna Nursery carries seasonally:

Praying Mantids

  • Use: Praying Mantids will consume a variety of pest including aphids, thrips, flies, maggots, small caterpillars, leafhoppers, white grubs, and other soft-bodied insects. As they mature they can also eat larger caterpillars, earwigs, chinch bugs, sow bugs, beetles, and grasshoppers.
  • Release: Eggs can be placed on parts of the plants that are more than 2 feet above the ground. The egg case can also be hung with string to keep other animals from eating the Mantis eggs.
  • Recommendations: Praying Mantids hatch in the warmer time of spring as smaller versions of adults, usually half an inch long. As they grow they shed their skin. Females will develop wings in fall, during which time they will lay their eggs in foam. The foam protects the eggs through winter until they hatch again in spring.
  • Other Facts: Praying Mantids stay in one location looking for food—for this reason they are good to use early in the season to prevent pest problems.


  • Use: Ladybugs will eat aphids, but will also consume scale, mealy bugs, boil worm, leaf hopper, and corn ear worm.
  • Release: Release after sundown at the base of the plant. Ladybugs will stay on a plant as long as there is a food source. The more pests there are for them to eat, the more eggs they will lay.
  • Recommendations: Ladybugs can be stored in a refrigerator, however from March-May they should not be stored for more than 2-3 days. From June on they can be stored for 2-3 months.
  • Other Facts: When ladybugs lay eggs, you will see 10-50 yellow eggs on the underside of the leaf. The larvae that hatch look like small black caterpillars with orange spots. In the fall ladybugs migrate to higher elevations. They will return in the spring.

Red Worms

  • Use: Red Worms are the most common type of composting worms. They will consume organic material and digest it. The results of this consumption are expelled as worm castings.
  • Release: Only release early in the morning or after sundown after watering in the chosen area.
  • Recommendations: Red worms can be stored in a refrigerator for a few days.
  • Other Facts: Red worms reproduce quickly and can consume and process large amounts of organic material in a day.

Green Lacewings

Info coming soon.


Info coming soon.