When you think of bugs, you may think of insects that crawl across your walls and buzz around your head. Some of them bite, some sting and others make annoying sounds. Then there are the ones that wreak havoc on your garden or landscaping. But while many bugs do cause inconveniences for humans, you may find there are also beneficial insects for your yard and garden.
These good insects can prey on bugs that destroy your crops, pollinate plants or serve as a parasite to other insects, says KidsGardening.org. So before you start spraying or swatting all of the pests away, consider whether you may want to keep some of them around.
Most people recognize ladybugs as round insects with the red or orange backs adorned with black spots. According to Better Homes and Gardens, ladybugs are a great defense against aphids. The Mother Nature Network describes aphids as soft-bodied insects that are destructive to both vegetable and ornamental plants.
Both adult ladybugs and their larvae can feed on thousands of aphids in a single summer, Better Homes and Gardens says. They also prey on mites, scale insects and mealybugs. Mother Nature Network adds that ladybugs are a natural pest deterrent and can usually be purchased for your garden or attracted to your yard with angelica or scented geranium plants.
These long, skinny bugs are natural assassins and will eat any other insect, says DIY Network. They may prey on caterpillars munching through your plants or budworms aggravating your yard. These useful insects are always hungry, says Better Homes and Gardens, and will also consume smaller bugs, such as flies, crickets, grasshoppers, moths and even other praying mantises.
Rove beetles are usually gray or brown with short wings and narrow bodies, says Mother Nature Network. They are often drawn to decaying organic matter, such as produce on the ground, loose bark, leaf litter, manure and compost piles in your backyard. Rove beetles eat some of the most irritating bugs, such as flies, mosquitoes, fleas, maggots and mites.
Most people are quite familiar with this fuzzy, black and yellow bee. That’s because honeybees tend to be a critical element of any garden, says Better Homes and Gardens, as they are pollinators. In fact, honeybees can carry as much as half of their weight in pollen while flying from plant to plant.
Without honeybees in your garden, says Better Homes and Gardens, fruits, flowers and vegetables may not get fertilized effectively. Make sure you leave them alone, though, advises Better Homes and Gardens, as honeybees generally won’t sting you unless you get in the way of their work.
Spined soldier bugs are a predator that other insects may not want to cross paths with. They have spines on their backs, says Mother Nature Network, and they may release an unpleasant odor when they are bothered. The odor is not the only thing keeping other pests away, though.
Spined soldier bugs eat more than 100 species of insects. But they don’t just eat them; these predators harpoon their prey, such as beetle larvae, hornworms, grubs, armyworms and gypsy moth caterpillars, inject a substance in them to paralyze them, and then suck out their insides.
Beneficial garden bugs can offer your yard protection and help your plants thrive. Even though the sight of them may make you cringe, KidsGardening.org recommends welcoming beneficial insects to your garden. You just may wind up with a more beautiful and fruitful backyard.
Content by Cristel Mohrman for the Allstate Blog
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