Understanding pest life cycles, or insect development, is critical to pest control. The process is called metamorphosis. There can be critical differences in where pests are located from each stage in an insects life cycle. An IPM or GPM professional must know the differences to be effective. The example is killing an adult fly, without addressing where the larvae are feeding will be ineffective.
First, what is metamorphosis? Imagine the butterfly you want in your garden, it is important to understand that it starts as a egg, proceeds through a larval stage, pupates and then becomes the admired adult butterfly. The four types of metamorphosis are without, gradual, incomplete and complete.
The first, without metamorphosis, or ametabolous insects, such as silverfish, grow from egg to adult increasing in size and gradually maturing with each molt. All stages are found together.
Next gradual metamorphosis, includes a set number of molts with definite development of reproductive organs (and wings if applicable) over the stages. Insects that develop through gradual metamorphosis share the same habitat as nymphs and adults and include bed bugs, cockroaches, and termites.
A third type, incomplete metamorphosis, includes dragonflies, an amazing insect. This type has an aquatic nymph known as naiads. The adults have a different habitat then nymphal stages. Usually, these are not pests.
The final type, complete metamorphosis, includes many pests such as ants, fleas, flies, mosquitoes and moths. The larval stage is usually complete different than the adult (think maggot larval stage of winged fly). The differences include not only body type and mouthparts, but also habitat. For an IPM or GPM strategy to be successful, the professional must understand the pests’ life cycle.
–Lauren Greenhow, General Manager, GreenHow, Inc.
www.GreenHow.com. Effective Organic & Low Impact Solutions, Lawn Care, Pest Control & Termite Control in Newton and Metro Boston.