University of Illinois

No. 13/June 20, 1997

Good Guys Are Here: Natural Enemies of Insects!

How often have you wondered about the correct identification of an insect during your troubleshooting efforts in a field? Is an insect beneficial, or is it a pest? Michael Jeffords, Susan Post, and Robert Wiedenmann, entomologists with the Illinois Natural History Survey, along with Clifford Sadof of Purdue University, have just created a set of laminated cards with color photographs of beneficial insects. A card is about the size of a baseball card and includes pertinent information about a given beneficial insect on the flip side. Instead of batting averages, facts about the insect's life cycle and behavior are offered. Although the authors of these cards indicate they were designed primarily for use by home gardeners, I believe they would be a valuable component of any field-crop scouting kit as well. Photographs of the following beneficial insects found commonly in field crops are featured: lady beetle, tiger beetle, ground beetle, soldier beetle, green and brown lacewing, assassin bug, ambush bug, damsel bug, minute pirate bug, predatory stink bug, robber fly, hover fly; spiders, predatory mites, and many more. In all, photographs of 30 beneficial insects are provided. For more information about the cards, give me a call. If you would like to order a set, please call (217)333-6833. A set of cards costs $8.

Mike Gray, Extension Entomologist, (217)333-6652