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Spined Soldier Bug - Caterpillar Predator
Bug of the Month - Spined Soldier Bug
By: Arbico Organics Staff
August, 2006

One of the best beneficials to release this time of year in the garden is Podisus maculiventris, the Spined Soldier Bug. These great bugs are my favorites for taking care of the larger stages of pest insects common in the summer, especially large caterpillar pests and foliar feeding beetle larvae. Soldier Bugs also overwinter quite nicely (as adults in leaf litter, so leave some habitat for them) and can usually be encouraged back in the spring by putting out a "Soldier Bug Attractor". These are true "bugs" which means that they go through several life stages, but all stages mostly resemble the adult (the little guys look like tiny black spidermites) instead of like the larvae of "insects". All of the nymphal stages and the adults are voracious and also paralyze their victims with a toxin before they suck out their insides. It's kind of a gross image but probably sounds like heaven if you're the victim of a larval infestation!

250 eggs are available in a batch and will be overnighted to you for $144.00. With care you will be able to keep them around year after year so consider it a little treat for your garden that will also become an investment. Then tell your tomatoes you've finally hired a full time security force!