beneficial insects

Did You Know? Ants

Ants around ant holeWhile ants can be a nuisance, they are actually considered beneficial predators when they are in places where they are not disrupting plant growth. They prefer sandy, dry soils and that is probably why they are in this area. Compost is not an effective means of killing ants, but if a sandy soil is amended with sufficient compost as to make soil more moisture- retentive, ants may move elsewhere.

Ants are difficult to control because colonies are located in chambers many feet below the soil surface. Any control method outside of soil amending, would involve using baits that ants would bring deep into the chambers and share with fellow ants.

A dense turf cover with grass kept 3 inches high or a little higher would go a long way in discouraging ants from an area.  Watering to keep soils moist during peak ant activity may encourage ants to relocate.

You may want to choose an area to maintain as a quality turf, and let the ants remain in the rest of the area.   See link below for ant control options, many of which include chemical control products, which you can elect not to use.

There is much more information about ant management at the following link:

-Pamm Cooper

Bug Out with UConn Extension

monarch butterfly on an orange flower

UConn Extension is celebrating Bug Month from July 1 – 31 with virtual programs and resources for the entire family.


All ages are welcome to explore the activities dedicated to insects and their relatives. Bug Month virtual programs and resources are buzzing with the following:

  • Answer a few questions to qualify for a free bug kit. The bug kit comes with a Bug Month activity booklet, supplies for collecting and looking closely at bugs as well as ideas for backyard adventures with the kit. Learn more at
  • Check out the “Up Close” with the Luna Moth videos to learn more about Luna Moth development. 
  • A beneficial insect section. Read more about beneficial insects in our area and the roles they play. 
  • Want to make some bug-related crafts and recipes? Check out for a wide variety of crafts and treats. 
  • Planning to create a pollinator garden? We have added a “Native Plants for Pollinators” section to help you choose plants for your garden. 
  • The Connecticut Science Center will be buzzing with programs to celebrate Bug Month from Monday, July 21 through Sunday, July 27. Spend time in the tropical Butterfly Encounter, participate in bug-themed Live Science programming, hear a bug themed story during Story Time, and be sure to explore what is flying around the Rooftop Garden. 
  • We’re having our photo contest this year with three categories: junior, senior, and professional. Learn more at:

Bug Month is one example of UConn Extension’s mission in bringing UConn’s research out to the citizens of the state by addressing insects and their relatives. For more information on Bug Month, please visit our website at, email or call 860-486-9228.

UConn Extension has more than 100 years’ experience strengthening communities in Connecticut and beyond. Extension programs address the full range of issues set forth in the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources strategic initiatives:

  • Ensuring a vibrant and sustainable agricultural industry and food supply
  • Enhancing health and well-being locally, nationally, and globally
  • Designing sustainable landscapes across urban-rural interfaces
  • Advancing adaptation and resilience in a changing climate.


Programs delivered by Extension reach individuals, communities, and businesses in each of Connecticut’s 169 municipalities. 

Hands on Training for Greenhouse Growers

Hands on Training Sessions featured at the Northeast Greenhouse Conference

Growers always value hands-on training sessions to learn the tools they need to be successful in today’s competitive environment.

Come participate in the following hands on training sessions:

Monitoring the Greenhouse Environment by Chris Currey from Iowa State University to be held on Thursday, November 10th from 9:00-9:50 am.

Come learn about some of the tools you can use to measure and monitor light and temperature to successfully grow your crops.

Monitoring Growing Media: pH and EC, by Rosa Raudales from University of Connecticut to be held on Thursday, November 10th from 10:30 to 11:20.

Come learn how to properly collect samples, how to measure pH and EC and how to interpret the results.

How to Get the Most from Your Beneficial Insects by Suzanne Wainwright –Evans, Buglady Consulting to be held on Thursday, November 10th from 1:30 to 2:20.

Get tips and recommendations on how to get the most out of your beneficial insects and mites so you have the most efficient program possible.

Suzanne Wainwright-Evans
Suzanne Wainwright-Evans

Space is limited, so register early. 

The Northeast Greenhouse Conference and Expo is sponsored by the Extension programs of the six New England State Universities and New York State, and the New England Floriculture, Inc.

For more information on the Northeast Greenhouse Conference and Expo, visit the website,

Monitoring for Insects

Brazil internsIt may not be the Olympics, but we’ve been busy with Brazil too. Last week, Leanne Pundt visited Geremia’s Greenhouses in Wallingford to help train their interns on how to identify and monitor for insects on their yellow sticky cards. The interns are all from Brazil and part of The Ohio Program, an International Exchange Program of The Ohio State University specializing in Internships for Horticulture, Agriculture and Turf Grass.

Yellow sticky cards are used in greenhouses to monitor for winged insect pests such as whiteflies, thrips, fungus gnats, aphids, shore flies, and leafminers and leafhoppers. Growers can look at trends and see if insect populations are increasing or decreasing to determine if they need to treat and how well their management strategies are working. For more see: Identifying Some Pest and Beneficial Insects on Your Sticky Cards

Interns were: Giovane Giorgetti, Thales Fogagnoli, and Paulo Boaretto (holding the reference book).

Biological Controls in Greenhouses

More Connecticut greenhouse growers and retailers are using biological controls to manage insect and diseases (Photo of greenhouse). Here you can see a variety of spring plants for sale that were grown using biological controls (beneficial insects and mites, and biologically based fungicides). As an  example, this yellow gerbera daisy flower was grown using biological controls. (yellow gerbera daisy). This is to prevent damage from western flower thrips that can damage flowers (pink gerbera daisy). Small predatory mites (photo of bags in plants) are placed in the crop that prey upon the small thrips in the flowers. Here the predatory mites  are contained inside a controlled release sachet containing bran and a additional food source for the beneficial mites. The small predatory mites emerge from these small paper sachets over a 4 to 6 week period preying upon western flower thrips. (Note: western flower thrips are primarily a concern in greenhouse production, not in the home garden). Source: Leanne Pundt, UConn Extension Educator in Greenhouse IPM.

The Garden - WoodburyGerbera DaisyIMG0003131