The Road Home

The Road Home
There is no place like home.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Hooray for the Assassin Bugs! - Update

I wanted to post an update to my original post on predatory insects. I have found a new a new bug. I have seen quite a few of these bugs out in the garden, but they don't seem to be causing any damage. So...I looked them up in my books.
I had a vague idea that it might be a stink bug, which I know is not good for the garden. One of my books, The Organic Gardener's Handbook of Natural Insect and Disease Control, has a great section helping to tell bugs apart that are very similar. Because of the markings on the bug, and the lack of damage on the plants, I have come to the conclusion that this is a Spined Soldier Bug that eats caterpillars and grubs. So each time I see one, I thank them for residing in my garden.

Our assassin bug population is doing very well. There are hundreds, it seems, in our okra patch. I greet them everyday when I see them. We still have a few squash bugs roaming around, but not very many.

A friend asked me yesterday what Daddy Longlegs eat because she has a bunch of them by her porch in her flower bed. Well, I didn't know so I went to the same book at it said they are known as Harvestmen. They are active at night and eat small insect pests. I had no idea. She also told me she
has a bunch of aphids on her squash so I recommended she go out in the morning and collect some of the Daddy Longlegs and dump them on her squash plants to see if they will eat the aphids. She thought that was a great idea, so we will see how it works.

So before you smash that next bug, find out if they are friend or foe. By the way, those good sized brown spiders that you find in the garden all the time? They are wolf spiders and are another one of your friends. Their diet includes things like flies, mosquitoes, crickets and beetle larvae. There is a whole world of predatory insects that will help us with our gardening if we will just let them.

We are blessed with challenges and solutions in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes we just have to take the time to look closely to find the answers we are searching for.

Until next time - Fern


  1. what is the estimated world pop. of assassin bugs?

    1. I don't know about the world, but I wish there were more of them around here.