Bob Barber bob at
Tue Oct 20 22:54:22 EDT 1998

A good alternative to introducing predatory insects is attracting predatory
and parasitic insects that are already in the area.  I recently heard a
talk by Dr. Joseph M. Patt of Rowan University.  His studies involved
attracting these predators on a commercial scale, mostly in eggplant fields
in NJ.  These fields were planted with intermittent rows of plants that
attracted and supported the predatory insects. Comparison slides of fields
with, and without, these plantings were dramatic. These studies showed that
the best plantings were those with small flowers and exposed nectar and
pollen. These include coriander (cilantro). dill (especially "boguet"
variety), fennel, and caraway.  Alyssum, flowering buckwheat, black-eyed
susans, dwarf sunflowers, and yarrow were also good.  He recommends that
10% of a garden should be planted with these, or similar plants. They
should be planted at intervals, or with species that have different
flowering periods, to avoid gaps without flowers as this will disrupt the
colonization process.  Unfortunately, shortly after the conclusion of his
studies, systemic pesticides were introduced, and more efficient to
implement on a commercial scale.  Systemic pesticides are absorbed by the
seedling plants, and are effective only on the insects that feed on them.
However, for the home gardener, the plantings to attract the predatory
insects are probably a better alternative.  Many of these will probably
attract butterflies as well.
Bob Barber

Bob Barber <bob at>
Rutgers University - Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences
Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory -Histology/Pathology
New Jersey  USA
Lat. 39 19.574N   Long. 074 58.113W

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