Garden Word of the Day
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Big-eyed bugs are your friend.
There are several different members of the Geocoris, or big-eyed bug family, and all of them are predators. This means they love to eat the pests that suck the life out of your garden plants, spreading disease as they go. The more big-eyed bugs you have in your landscape, the better.
Big-eyed bug identification
Big-eyed bugs (or bigeyed, if you prefer) have, surprise, big eyes! Eggs are pale and oblong. They are normally laid singly or in clusters on leaves. The eggs develop red ‘eyespots’. Adult and nymph big-eyed bugs tend to be oval and slightly flattened. They can be brown, yellow, or orangish and are only 1/6 of an inch long. The prominent eyes are spaced wide apart on a head that is as wide as the thorax (shoulders). These beneficial insects are frequently mistaken for chinch bugs, which are pests.
Big-eyed bug diet
Gardeners should appreciate big-eyed bugs. These predators feast on small caterpillars, flea beetles, mites, cabbage loopers, whiteflies, and many different insect eggs. Research has shown that a single big-eyed bug nymph may consume up to 1,600 spider mites in its lifetime!
Attracting big-eyed bugs
You cannot currently purchase big-eyed bugs, but you can certainly lure them in with plants that provide nectar for when prey is scarce. While many beneficial insects prefer the flowers of carrot, fennel, and onion, big-eyed bugs prefer yarrow above all else. Yarrow is a sturdy, attractive border plant and it takes very little care to stay attractive.
Plant some yarrow today for your local big-eyed bugs!
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