Could you please identify this insect? Is it a pest or beneficial? Thanks!
I think I have identified it by myself. It is Zelus renardii, a beneficial insect eating a lot of pests.
I have read the benefits of having "resident" toads in the garden is very beneficial. How does one go about finding/buying a toad(s)?
Yes, you can purchase live Toads. Just do a Google search for garden Toads for sale.
For organic pest control, could ladybugs be introduced to potted plants on a balcony or would they fly away?
Some might stay but most will fly away. The following article gives tips on what to do before releasing them. You also can attract ladybugs with certain pollen bearing plants. Just add a couple more pots with the plants mentioned in the article. I can attest to fennel attracting ladybugs, both the green and bronze.
That is a wonderful thing! They eat insects, which may harm your plants. This article will help: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/beneficial/attracting-frogs-to-garden.htm
I live in Three Rivers, CA (Tulare Co.). I have a 25' x 50' field which I'd like to plant for a feedlot/sanctuary for butterflies and bees. Can you recommend articles or books so I'll know how to do this? Do you have any tips or suggestions?
Sure, Here are some articles that will help:
Seems to be a living root but recognizes when approach an retracts back into the ground. I live in the Midwest.
Unfortunately, your photo did not come through. From your description, it sounds like a worm of some sort.
Not sure this is a lady bug
Yes, that is what they look like at their pupal stage!