Does anyone use beneficial insects in the gardene? We tryed the Trichogramma Wasps and Green Lacewing last fall. The Trichogramma will eat larvae of about 200 species of insects and have been used for years by farmers to control agricultural pests like boll weevils and corn borers. The wasps love urban webworm larvae, thus sparing pecans and other trees from heavy infestations. The lacewings in the larval stage, are known as aphid lions because of their voracious appetite for aphids. They also feed on other small soft bodied insects such as white flies and mites and various larvae and eggs of other insects. As adults, they continue to feed on insects, but also require such foods as honeydew and nectar. This Spring we will also add Ladybugs to our mix.
The problem I always had selling beneficials is that the customer has no way of telling how much bang for their buck they are getting in their own yard. In a greenhouse situation where the beneficials are partly sequestered you can monitor their movement and activity somewhat where as out side they may move or fly off in a short time and do their good works in the neighbors yard. My customers initially liked the idea but the trend went down for my sales pretty quickly.
We used Aphidius with pretty good success back when the only problem was Aphids. Now we rely on smarter use of chemicals. I would do a biological program if I could get more for our product and pay for the huge increase in cost. The end user doesn't know what were doing and I'm not going to do a biological program just for the warm fuzzy feeling.