Book Review – Good Bug, Bad Bug by Jessica Walliser

Good Bug, Bad Bug: Who’s who, what they do, and how to manage them organically (all you need to know about insects in your garden) by Jessica Walliser is a handy reference guide to common insects that you may encounter in your garden. 

While the title is a mouthful, the book itself is quite compact and concise. This is not a comprehensive taxonomic guide to any insect you may possibly find, just the most common culprits, which in my opinion, is preferable.  Chances are these are the insects that you’ll be coming into contact with in your garden.  I know I’ve dealt with some of these pests repeatedly, like aphids and cucumber beetles, which are both covered in this book.  Walliser also includes information on many common “good bugs” which are usually either predators or pollinators.  

Good Bug, Bad Bug does not go through a taxonomy to identify your bug, but I think that’s okay as it has descriptions and photos of the bugs, often in both the larval and mature stages.  For each bad bug, there is a heading called Plants They Attack that makes it handy in narrowing down what is likely to be causing your particular plant a problem.  She also includes sections such as Spot the damage, where she describes how a plant that is infected with that particular pest usually appears, Live Biological Controls (and a whole section on beneficial insects as an addendum), Preventive Actions, and finally Organic Product Controls.  Overall, on the bugs included in this book the information is thorough and useful.  The photography is also helpful in identifying the damage and the offender.  

I was surprised to learn that the author, Jessica Walliser, has local connections to Pittsburgh.  She hosts a radio show, The Organic Gardeners, on KDKA radio, and also writes The Good Earth column for the Tribune Review.  I have not listened to her show or read her columns, but I certainly intend to in the future.  Based on Good Bug, Bad Bug, she researches well and presents factual information that gardeners can apply to their own yards and gardens.   

Good Bug, Bad Bug: Who’s Who, What They Do, and How to Manage Them Organically by Jessica Walliser is a handy and portable guide to common garden pests. I found it incredibly easy to use and filled with practical information on managing these pests organically. I would most certainly recommend this book, and I also intend to look into more work by Jessica Walliser. She wrote a quality book here, so I’m sure her Tribune Review columns and radio show will also be great resources.  

Published by scottmeneely

Gardener passionate about organic gardening, fresh food, sustainable landscaping, home brewing, and much more! Our nursery also includes my wife and 2 kids. We work together, learn together, and travel together. My wife is Panamanian and we try to grow lots of good Latin American ingedients. We live in Baldwin, Pennsylvania in the South Hills of Pittsburgh.

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