Bugs are notorious for being a gardener’s worst nightmare, but did you know there are bugs that are actually good for your garden? There are a number of beneficial bugs that will hunt the problem pests in your garden. If you notice you have a bug problem in your garden, invite these bugs to serve as a natural pest remedy. This will ensure no harmful chemicals are used that might harm your plants, and you can let Mother Nature do the pest control work for you.
There are more than 400 species of ladybugs in North America, and most all adults and larvae love to feed on aphids and other soft-bodied insects that harm your garden. In fact, ladybugs are able to eat up to 50 to 60 aphids per day, and do no harm to your plants in the process.
Lacewings are pale green or brown with large, veined wings. Although they feed mainly on flower nectar, lacewing larvae prey heavily on aphids, thrips, scales, moth eggs, small caterpillars, and mites.
Assassin bugs did not receive their name on accident. They prey on a variety of insects that love the plants in your garden, including tomato hornworms, thrips, spider mites, and many insects’ eggs. Most assassin bugs are brown, green, or black, with a few species displaying bright colors. They have broad bodies, elongated heads, and long, spindly legs.
Ground beetles are large, shiny blue-black or brown beetles with long legs. You will usually find them under rocks and logs, and are very fast-moving when frightened. Ground beetles feed on slugs, snails, cutworms, and root maggots.
Honey bees are one of the most beneficial insects for your garden. Bees are nature’s best flower pollinators, and will help you yield a beautiful garden. If you are afraid of being stung, don’t worry, honey bees are very docile and only sting humans when their hive is in danger.
Black and yellow garden spiders feed on all bugs in your garden and are excellent at preventing pest outbreaks. Spiders are one of the most useful bugs you can have in your garden as they eat a high volume of pests and do no harm to your garden. The only downside is that they are not selective in their feeding, and may eat beneficial bugs, as well. It’s important to note that these bugs do not come indoors and are not poisonous.
Syrphid flies, otherwise known as hoverflies and flower flies, look like small bees and are attracted to the flower nectar and pollen in your garden. These flies prey on aphids in tight spaces that other beneficial bugs cannot reach. Syrphid flies also pollinate strawberries and raspberries, helping you produce larger fruits and higher yields in your garden.
Wasps are known to feed multiple times a day, and with one nest able to hold a couple thousand hunters, that adds up to a lot of pests out of your garden. Caterpillars are one of the wasp’s favorite foods, which are detrimental to your garden. You may be worried about having wasps around, but they are usually docile and wont sting or bite humans unless provoked.
Pirate bugs are less than one inch long, oval to triangular in shape, and black with white marks on their back. Pirate bugs are generalist predators that feed on many of the worst pests in your garden, including thrips, aphids, spider mites, and many insect eggs. They are especially useful for corn crops as they feed on earworm eggs in cornfields.
If you have a bug problem in your garden and want to avoid using chemicals, inviting beneficial bugs can serve as a natural pest remover. There are a number of ways you can encourage beneficial bugs to your garden, including placing stones, planting certain flowers, and using feeders. If these techniques don’t bring beneficial bugs to your garden, you can also buy them from a variety of local providers.
About the Author:
Daniel Mackie, co-owner of Greenleaf Pest Control , is a Toronto pest control expert well-known as an industry go-to guy, an innovator of safe, effective pest control solutions, and is a regular guest on HGTV. Mackie, along with business partner Sandy Costa, were the first pest control professionals in Canada to use detection dogs and thermal remediation for the successful eradication of bed bugs. In his free time, he is an avid gardener.