Two kinds of beneficial garden insects: generalists and specialists

    Not all of the insects you see in your garden are pests. There are a wide variety of beneficial insects that you can find in your garden. These insects can be broken up into two different groups, generalists and specialists. Generalists such as lady beetles, praying mantids, assassin bugs, lacewings and hover flies will consume a wide variety of garden pests. In some cases, like with lady beetles and praying mantids, both the larvae and the adults will consume insects. In other cases, like with lacewings and hover flies, only the larvae will consume insects. Specialist insects like parasitoid wasps will only attack one type of insect, or in some cases one species. The adult wasps will look for the eggs or larvae of their target.  Once they have found them they will lay their egg on the insect or inside of it, depending on the wasp. Once the wasp egg hatches it will start to develop inside of the insect and eat it, eventually killing the insect.

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