Helpful Garden Bugs

Not all insects are bad. Most of us know that bees and other pollinators are vital. Did you know there are other garden bugs that are helpful? Let's take a closer look at some.

Praying Mantis

This unique looking insect is always a treat to find lurking around your gardens. They are not harmful to humans and their main diet is other insects. They will consume live insects and are fascinating to watch, although they can attack very small birds too. It's best to let them live since they are considered beneficial. Keep in mind, if you see one in an area where you think they might be a threat to small birds simply relocate the insect to another part of the yard or reposition your bird feeders.

Spiders

Many people understandably have a fear of spiders. Some can grow quite large and some can inflict poisonous bites. Most spiders you'll find in a garden are harmless and actually very useful. They won't eat your plants and they will build webs in order to catch insects, many of which are nuisance pests. Spiders will catch mosquitoes and flies as they sit in their webs. If you have plants outside that you bring in during colder months it's a good idea to check the plants for spiders and if you see one gently brush it off outside so it doesn't end up in your house.

Parasitoid Wasps

That's right, there are some wasp species that are beneficial. The parasitoid wasp is a misunderstood insect that falls into that category. These interesting insects lay their eggs on hosts such as destructive caterpillars or beetle larvae that often destroy vegetable gardens. When the eggs hatch, the wasp larvae remain on the host and feed on it until the host dies. The female wasp cannot sting so it's not harmful. You may never see the wasp but might notice odd looking white things on hosts such as the green hornworm which often destroys tomato plants. You can place the host insect elsewhere or let it remain where you found it. It will soon be devoured and the wasps will fly off.

Lady Beetles (AKA Ladybugs)

These insects are certainly welcome garden visitors. They feed on aphids, spider mites, and other pests that damage gardens. They are gentle, beautiful and helpful garden bugs. Ladybugs have gotten a bad rap as they can be easily confused with Asian Lady Beetles, which do bite and are not a welcome sight when they infest homes. The best way to identify which is which is to remember that Ladybugs are typically a vibrant red with just a few black spots and the pesky Asian Lady Beetles are more varying in color, ranging from light orange to yellow with more small spots than Ladybugs have and they have an “m” shape on their heads.

Of course all the pollinators such as bees and butterflies are extremely helpful garden bugs. If you want to attract them but don't want them too close to your decks and patios, as the pollinating bees can still cause harm if they are stepped on or swatted at, consider installing a pollinator garden area in a space away from that part of your yard where you hang around outside.

Not all insects are a welcome sight indoors or outdoors. If you have any pests that you need removed from your home or business, contact Eagle Pest Services.