Identifying beneficial insect larvae

I think we all know what greenfly look like, and can identify hatched slugs etc., but does anybody know of a book or a website which gives us pictures of the eggs and larvae of pests and of 'good' insects such as ladybird or hoverfly larve, so we know which ones to squash or blitz with soap etc. and which to cuddle and nurture?


  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,114

    There is a cheap Collins Gem book in that Bookshop in the Sky.  I have not seen it but the whole series of their books are pretty reliable.

  • Thank-you. I'll take a look.

  • Hmm.. well there are quite a lot of 'field guides' out there, aimed at the amateur entomologist, and quite a few seem to be published by Collins. They look like field guides for ramblers etc. Perhaps what I am seeking doesn't actually exist, but ideally I'm looking for one aimed specifically at the gardener.

    I'd be more interested in a description which says 'their larvae eat cabbages and here is what they look like, but here's a similar-looking one which only eats dandelions' than one which is full of full-colour plates of photos or Victorian illustrations of pretty butterfiles and moths.

    In the 'olden days' you would have had a parent or grandparent to teach you such garden lore, but these days you either have to learn it off the telly or in books. I'd rather do that, though, than blitz everything with some noxious spray bought down the 24/7 Garden Centre.

  • SwissSueSwissSue Posts: 1,447

    These are definitely ladybird eggs:


    If you google "insect eggs" or insect larvae" and select images, you will find lots of sites.


  • figratfigrat Posts: 1,619

    Swiss Sue's popped in another very informative post before mine, but here's what I was typing before I saw that.

    Well, I see your point, but if, for example, I see a clutch of eggs on my brassicas, I'm pretty sure they're going to hatch into a clutch of hungry cabbage white caterpillars which are going to decimate my crop.

    Maybe it might be worth another approach to your search criteria, based on what you have growing and what the common pests might be.

  • marshmellomarshmello Posts: 683

    Is this of any help to you Chapelgirl.....Scroll down to ---- Garden pests of britain and europe, this maybe helpful.

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 25,354

    CGirl- I expect if you just type in 'beneficial insects' or something you'll get some websites to look at which you can then save or refine further to include the non beneficial ones.

    I agree - sometimes it's hard to know the good guys from the bad - some of the larvae bear no resemblance whatsoever to the adult so it gets very confusing  image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • marshmellomarshmello Posts: 683

    Found a website which identifies a lot pests and diseases,

    Not sure if it's exactly what you were looking for, but it's worth a look.

  • Thanks SwissSue and figrat. I wouldn't have known what a ladybird egg looked like before.

    figrat, how do you know the difference between cabbage white eggs and the eggs of the predator of a cabbage white? Presumably they also lay them on or near the host plant, so as to be closest to their prey?

    If I find a large grub in my compost bin, is it a friend or a foe?

    I'm not expecting any instant answers on here, by the way, I'm just trying to stimulate a discussion which might help me and others of a similar mind.


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