Hi, I noticed today that there are many many tiny red insects on a certain...

Asked June 20, 2015, 10:15 PM EDT

Hi, I noticed today that there are many many tiny red insects on a certain flower (on its stems and flowers - I can't remember the name). They are hanging many to a stem, and some leaves have been eaten. I've never seen these, and apart from cutting them back, not sure what to do about them. I have photos I can send, if that is helpful. Thank you!

Hennepin County Minnesota

3 Responses

Red aphids are commonly found on heliopsis this time of year.

The following website contains a lot of reliable information about aphids and how to control them if you want to do that.

http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/insects/find/aphids-in-home-gardens/

Thank you for the response. Do you know of any reliable source for purchasing lady beetles? Are there any concerns with introducing these into one's garden? Thank you.

Releasing lady beetles might not be beneficial. The following excerpt from a Colorado State University bulletin explains why:

Purchase of Lady Beetles
A great many nurseries and garden catalogs offer lady beetles for control of garden pests. Essentially all those sold are the convergent lady beetle, Hippodamia convergens. This insect is field collected from mountainous areas of the West Coast states where the beetles periodically migrate and aggregate in large masses when their normal prey are absent in the lower elevations.

Unfortunately, the record for effective use of lady beetles released in a garden is typically poor. One reason for this is that the beetles are highly dispersive, poised to migrate long distances from their collection areas. With few exceptions, expect released lady beetles to fly away from gardens where they have been introduced. Furthermore, these field-collected lady beetles usually are in a state known as reproductive diapause, during which time they do not produce eggs. Only after feeding for several weeks after release do they resume egg laying.

Another concern raised about field-collected lady beetles is that a proportion of them contain a natural enemy of the convergent lady beetle. A small wasp, Perilitus coccinellae, develops as an internal parasite of these lady beetles. Their presence is evident when the larva completes development and subsequently pupates within a cocoon underneath the lady beetle.

Some major local garden centers such as Bachman's sell lady beetles at this time of year. Many catalog and Internet sources also offer them. Some even claim to sell beetles that stay put, begin reproducing as soon as they are released and are parasite free. However, we can't vouch for the reliability of such claims.

Go here to read the complete Colorado State University bulletin:

http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/insect/05594.html