As we finish our spring chores and plan our new gardens, we have to constantly be on the lookout for invading pests that might damage our young plants. We might think it’s a good idea to spray pesticides to kill all of the insects in our garden, but not all insects are considered pests. There are actually quite a few beneficial insects that are actually good for our lawns and gardens. These helpful bugs pollinate flowers and prey on harmful pests. Here’s a list of 4 beneficial insects for your lawn and garden:
I know what you’re thinking, “wasps are beneficial?”. Well this particular wasp is. Your first instinct when encountering this wasp is to run. Your second instinct might be to squash it. But these wasps are an unknown friend to gardeners. They help control several species of insects that we consider pests, including: hornworms, caterpillars, beetles, aphids, squash bugs, and stink bugs. The wasps feed on these bugs, then deposit their eggs inside them. When the eggs hatch, the larvae feed on the dead insect until they mature. Although their stingers might look intimidating, these wasps rarely attack humans and only when they’re provoked.
Praying Mantises are a rare and delightful sight in the garden. Most people already know that these insects do not harm humans, but did you know they are great garden guests? Mantises eat almost any insect they can get their fast little claws on which makes them a big help in the garden. You can actually purchase mantis eggs and place them around your yard and garden for an efficient and interesting insect control.
Damsel bugs are thin, soft bodied insects with long antennae and legs. Their mouths are long and needle-like, perfect for chomping on smaller insects. They are about ⅜ to ½ inch long and are usually grey or brown in color. Damsel bugs are attracted to ornamental grasses but don’t worry, they don’t cause damage to plants. Instead, they feast on aphids, caterpillars, leafhoppers, and thrips that do eat your ornamental grasses. These beneficial insects can’t be purchased like ladybugs or mantises but you can collect them and let them go in your garden.
Ladybugs are probably the most well-known of the beneficial insects. They prey on aphids that can cause a lot of damage for such a small insect. They don’t just hunt aphids, they also secretly lay their eggs among them. When the larvae hatch, they feed on the aphids. Ladybugs can be purchased in bulk, so you can release an army of them into your garden to rid it of troublesome pests. The only drawback with ladybugs is that, in the fall, they tend to seek a warm place to overwinter and that place is usually your house.
Not all insects are beneficial. Here in Georgia we have to put up with angry fire ants and bothersome fleas and ticks. These bugs give us no benefits, only pain and discomfort. When dealing with these bugs you should call Environmental Turf Management. We have years of experience battling fire ants, fleas, and ticks.