Insect diversity in urban landscapes

CFAES’s Department of Entomology hosts talks by two of its graduate students starting at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 12: “Lady Beetles in the City: How Does Urban Habitat Management Affect the Abundance and Diversity of Native and Exotic Lady Beetles?” by Denisha Parker; and “The Impacts of Soil Legacy and Management on Biodiversity and Biocontrol Services in Urban Landscapes” by Emily Sypolt.

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This large, hungry insect is preying for you: Ohio’s natural pest controllers

Image if mantidNext in our look at Ohio’s beneficial predatory arthropods: Mantids, aka mantises. From their CFAES fact sheet:

“How can one not be captivated watching a mantid stalk its prey? These charismatic garden predators are often called praying mantids because most species are sit-and-wait hunters that hold their front legs together as if in prayer while they survey their surroundings for a potential meal.

“Their prey can include both pests and other beneficial arthropods such as bees and spiders.

“Although they are a large predatory insect, mantids do not bite humans.” Read the fact sheet.

Go, daddy, go: Ohio’s natural pest controllers

Image of harvestmanNext in our look at Ohio’s beneficial predatory arthropods: Harvestmen, aka daddy longlegs. From their CFAES fact sheet:

“Harvestmen are arachnids in the order Opiliones. The name of this group comes from the Latin opilo, which roughly translates to shepherd. At one time European shepherds used stilts to look over their sheep, and it is thought that the look of this arachnid’s body atop its long legs inspired the comparison.

“Harvestmen are beneficial predators in the garden and very common in residential landscapes. While the presence of harvestmen is not likely to completely suppress pest populations, they do contribute to biological control.”

Read the fact sheet. Next: Mantids.

No good flies? These flies good: Ohio’s natural pest controllers

Longlegged FlyNext in our look at Ohio’s beneficial predatory arthropods: Long-legged flies.

“Despite having a generally poor reputation,” their CFAES fact sheet says, “flies are a large and diverse order of insects with a diversity of feeding habits. This generally misunderstood group includes many species that are actually beneficial because of the pest control or pollination services they provide.

“The long-legged flies are just one such group of ‘good flies’ found commonly in Ohio landscapes.

“Long-legged fly larvae and adults feed on a variety of soft-bodied arthropods. They do not bite and pose no threat to humans.”

Read the fact sheet. Next: Harvestmen.

Lacy wings and all (or, I’m alright, nobody worry ’bout me): Ohio’s natural pest controllers

Image of lacewingNext in our look at Ohio’s beneficial predatory arthropods: Lacewings.

“Lacewings are named for the adults’ intricately veined wings, which appear lace-like,” says their CFAES fact sheet. “There are two families of lacewings commonly found in Ohio: green lacewings (Family Chrysopidae) and brown lacewings (Family Hemerobiidae).

“Many species of lacewings are considered beneficial insects due to their voracious appetite for insect pests.”

Read the fact sheet. Next: Long-legged flies. (Photo: Joseph Berger,

Spider’s all crabby: Ohio’s natural pest controllers

Image of crab spiderLet’s get to know some of Ohio’s beneficial predatory arthropods (insects, spiders and the like), which can help control pests in your yard and garden. First up: Crab spiders.

“Crab spiders are commonly found in home gardens and landscapes,” says their CFAES fact sheet. “They are generalist predators, meaning they feed on a diversity of arthropods.

“Crab spiders can be contributors to biological control, where feeding by natural enemies results in a reduction of pest populations.”

Read the fact sheet. Next: Lacewings.

Get ‘Good Garden Bugs’ here, have the author sign it

Good Garden Bugs 2CFAES scientist Mary Gardiner, author of the new book Good Garden Bugs: Everything You Need to Know About Beneficial Predatory Insects, will be one of the nearly 100 Ohio authors and illustrators at this year’s Buckeye Book Fair. The 28th annual event is Saturday, Nov. 7, in Fisher Auditorium at OARDC in Wooster. You can meet her, buy her book and have her sign it if you’d like. Learn more on p. 7 here. Beneficial predatory insects, such as lacewings and mantises, can help you keep a healthy garden with fewer chemicals and less work. Read a Columbus Dispatch story about her book here. OARDC is CFAES’s research arm.