Q: What are Beneficial Insects?
A: Beneficial insects are naturally occurring insect predators. In nature there are the plant eating organisms and predators that eat these plant eaters. We have all seen this in the mammal world, however normally we do not think of the insect world. The same food chain is found in the insect world. Beneficial insects are very small and do not bother humans, pets, or livestock. They target only their prey insects and do not harm any other insect, plant, or animal.

Q: Do Beneficial Insects kill all of the pest?
A: There is no known method, chemical, physical or biological that will eradicate a insect pest problem. Chemicals will knock down a insect problems, but it will return in a day or two. Likewise beneficial insects do not eradicate pests, however they are a method to reduce the pest problems to an acceptable level. This level depends on the tolerance of each individual gardener. Some will apply more that suggested number of beneficials because they do not wish to see the pests, while some individuals are willing to put up with some plant damage.

Q. Why should I use Beneficial insects and not Chemical sprays?
A. The fact that you are at this web site suggests that you are uncomfortable with chemicals—and with good reason. However, besides the obvious damage that chemicals are doing to the environment, the main reason for not using chemicals is they become less effective the more you use them. The pests mutate genes against the chemicals and over a relatively short time (as short as a summer depending on the amount of chemicals and the life cycle of the pest) the chemicals can become ineffective. Beneficial insects on the other hand have evolved thorough natural processes to be the control mechanism for the pests. They do not lose their effectiveness and are the only long term solution to pest insect control.

Q: What species Beneficial Insects do you supply and why?
A: The Bug Factory raises a great number of different beneficial insects. We have identified the most common pest problems found in gardens and hydroponic operations and have packaged beneficial insects to specifically target these pests. You can see a link to the list of products available on the home page.

Q. When should I start a Beneficial program?
A. The best time to start a program is as soon as the pest insects are observed. This usually is indicated by some plant damage, however some experienced gardeners can spot pest insects before they become a problem. Many growers introduce beneficial insects before they notice the problem as a preventative measure. Please keep in mind that it is much easier and less costly to attack a pest problem before it becomes well established.

Q: How do I determine the quantity of Beneficial Insects needed?
A: Each garden and hydroponic operation is unique and many factors influence the number of beneficials needed. The release quantity guidelines for average infestations are available on all of the packaging. Heavier infestations may require more beneficial insects while lighter pest problems can be treated with fewer good bugs. Weather can also be a factor with warmer more humid conditions likely to require a greater quantity, while cooler dryer conditions possibly needing less.

Gaining control of an very heavy infestation can require double or triple the guideline quantity and possibly reducing the time between distributions until control is established, depending on the severity of the infestation. Once control is established, normal guideline quantities and frequencies should be sufficient.

Q: Will the Beneficial Insects harm the environment or negatively change the balance between beneficial insects and pest insects?
A: This is one of the most commonly asked questions that has more than one answer. The beneficial insects will NOT harm the environment. The beneficial insects we produce at The Bug Factory are naturally occuring predatory insects. All we are doing is increasing the numbers. Beneficials are sometimes the only solution to protect our produce and vegetation because of the resistance pest insects have built up against many chemical insecticides. As for the issue with our insects natural predator - prey balance; you have to decide which approach is going to have the least negative impact on the environment. There is the option of producing more beneficials. There is the option of spraying chemical insecticides which kills off both the pests and the benificial insects and is harmful to all life forms and our environment. And finally there is also the option of giving up our produce, trees and vegetation to the pest insects that are naturally rapidly increasing.  Increasing the benefial population is the most logical answer. Our beneficials are very specific in their diet and once they have depleted their food source they finish their life cycle and die off. Their little dead bodies are then eaten up by the  scavengers of the insect world. We are very careful with our beneficial insect production and only produce what is needed. Often we cannot produce enough insects to supply the constant demand from our organic growers.

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