Garden Insects of North America:
The Ultimate Guide to Backyard Bugs
by Whitney Cranshaw
Garden Insects of North America is the most comprehensive and user-friendly guide to the common insects and mites affecting yard and garden plants in North America. In a manner no previous book has come close to achieving, through full-color photos and concise, clear, scientifically accurate text, it describes the vast majority of species associated with shade trees and shrubs, turfgrass, flowers and ornamental plants, vegetables, and fruits—1,420 of them, including crickets, katydids, fruit flies, mealybugs, moths, maggots, borers, aphids, ants, bees, and many, many more. For particularly abundant bugs adept at damaging garden plants, management tips are also included. Covering all of the continental United States and Canada, this is the definitive one-volume resource for amateur gardeners, insect lovers, and professional entomologists alike.
To ease identification, the book is organized by plant area affected (e.g., foliage, flowers, stems) and within that, by taxa. Close to a third of the species are primarily leaf chewers, with about the same number of sap suckers. Multiple photos of various life stages and typical plant symptoms are included for key species. The text, on the facing page, provides basic information on host plants, characteristic damage caused to plants, distribution, life history, habits, and, where necessary, how to keep “pests” in check—in short, the essentials to better understanding, appreciating, and tolerating these creatures.
“Know thine enemy,’ a time-worn caveat lifted from Sun-tzu’s treatise, The Art of War, is sage advice for the organic gardener hoping to emerge victorious in the battle of the bugs. Acquiring such knowledge has just become easier with the release of Garden Insects of North America. . . . [Cranshaw] has packed his book with concise, organized information on all the common and not-so-common insect pests of turf, orchards and gardens in North America. The overwhelming emphasis is on recognizing and categorizing the insects themselves, using appearance, type of destructive damage encountered and target food hosts as clues. . . . With detailed, high-quality photographic plates conveniently adjacent to the standardized insect descriptions, identification of suspected insect enemies is straightforward.”—Jack Aldridge, San Francisco Chronicle
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