Insect Intelligence: Organic Pest Control

Gardening is a beautiful and rewarding endeavor, but it’s not always sunshine and rainbows. Pests can wreak havoc on your plants, leaving you feeling frustrated and helpless. But before you reach for the chemical pesticides, consider an organic approach: insect intelligence.

What is Insect Intelligence?

  • Insect intelligence refers to the ability of insects to adapt and respond to their environment in order to survive. This includes their ability to identify and avoid predators, find food, and reproduce.
  • For example, did you know that ladybugs can sense the presence of aphids from up to a mile away? Or that parasitic wasps can locate and lay eggs on specific caterpillars? These behaviors are driven by chemical cues and other forms of communication, and they’re a powerful and natural tool for controlling pests in the garden.

The Ecosystem’s Ability to Balance Out Pests

  • When pests are present in an ecosystem, other insects will naturally emerge to help control the population and balance out the ecosystem. These beneficial insects, also known as natural enemies, can be predators, parasitoids, or pathogens of pests.
  • To make the most of insect intelligence, you need to create a habitat that attracts and supports beneficial insects. This means providing food, water, and shelter in the form of flowers, herbs, and other plants. It also means avoiding the use of chemical pesticides, which can harm beneficial insects and throw the ecosystem of your garden out of homeostasis.

Beneficial Insects

Ladybugs – These cute little beetles are a gardener’s best friend. They devour aphids, mites, and other small insects.

Lacewings – These delicate insects are known for their lace-like wings and voracious appetites. They feed on aphids, mites, and other small insects.

Lacewings bug crawling on tree branch.

Hover Flies – These flying insects may look like bees or wasps, but they are harmless to humans and beneficial to your garden. They feed on aphids and other small insects.

Hoverfly on pink flower.

Parasitic Wasps – These tiny wasps are natural predators of caterpillars and other soft-bodied insects. They lay their eggs on or inside the pest, providing a biological control method without the use of chemicals.

Ground Beetles – These hard-bodied beetles are great at controlling slugs, snails and cutworms. They are great tillers of the soil and they consume a variety of pests both above and below the soil surface.

How to Deal With Pest Infestations Organically

Insect intelligence is a long term strategy for organic pest control. However, in the short term, you can sometimes run into annoying infestations. Maybe a bunch of scale has infested some leaves or branches. Sometimes the easiest solution is to simply blast these bugs off with water from your garden hose.

We also offer our own insecticidal soap, made from organic ingredients. It can help repel harmful bugs from your plants without leaving chemicals that destroy the natural ecosystem for insect predation to take place.


  • Organic pest control can be achieved using nature and beneficial insects instead of chemicals
  • Insect intelligence is complex behavior and decision making driven by chemical cues
  • Beneficial insects: ladybugs, lacewings, hoverflies, parasitic wasps and ground beetles
  • Habitat for beneficial insects: food, water and shelter, achieved by plant diversity
  • Avoid pesticides to protect beneficial insects

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