Identifying Beneficial Garden Insects

July 2019

Here’s a fact that might surprise you: the right insects can benefit your garden in a few different ways. Some bugs, such as ladybugs and spiders, eat various garden pests (or their eggs or larvae), reducing the risk of infestation and damage to plants. Others, like bees, help plants thrive through pollination. Still others, including ground beetles, aerate the soil to help plants absorb water and nutrients.

These beneficial bugs won't harm your plants at all while they're hunting for other insects. Some might eat a plant's pollen if there's a shortage of prey, but these bugs aren't interested in your flowers, fruits or vegetables. Their primary goal is catching garden pests.

Which Insects are Beneficial for Your Garden?

1. Bees

Bees are the famous pollinators of flowers everywhere, and this behavior is a huge benefit to the plants in your garden. Plants that grow fruits and vegetables, as well as those that simply produce flowers, need the pollinating power of bees to reproduce. Bees are naturally attracted to these plants, so there's little to do on your part to bring these wonderfully helpful bugs to your garden other than normally tending to your plants to keep them healthy.

2. Ladybugs

Tiny ladybugs might seem harmless and unconcerned with other bugs, but, in fact, they eat a number of garden pests. They primarily prey on aphids, the tiny green bugs that gather on plant leaves and stems in the thousands to feed on their sap (and spread plant diseases). A single ladybug can eat hundreds of aphids a week and add a bit of colorful beauty to your green garden at the same time.

3. Spiders

Okay, you might think spiders are the last creature you want anywhere near your garden or your home. But spiders are expert bug-hunters. That's what their webs are for, after all. You probably won't jump at the idea of introducing spiders to your garden, but if you find them already there, it might be best to leave them alone. They're not interested in you; they're too busy catching aphids, fruit flies and other unwanted pests.

4. Mantises

"Praying" mantids (and other members of the mantis order) are amazing creatures. Like spiders, they're primarily ambush predators, waiting for prey to come to them. Their diet includes caterpillars, beetles and many other pests. If you're not familiar with them, these large insects might startle you with their eerily still posture and quick-turning head. Luckily, they can be very helpful predators to keep around in your garden.

5. Ground Beetles

Ground beetles are nocturnal insects that can help save your garden from many harmful ground pests, including caterpillars, snails and slugs. They're especially attracted to compost piles, which provide the right habitats for their larvae. As the larvae grow and move around in the soil, these bugs produce a bonus benefit: they aerate the soil, helping speed up the chemical reactions that drive the composting process.

6. Lacewings

Lacewings and their larvae feed on various garden pests, such as caterpillars, mealybugs and aphids. They lay their eggs on the undersides of leaves in late spring but you shouldn't worry—they won't harm your plants.

7. Aphid Midges, Damsel Bugs, Hoverlies & More

Several other insects can benefit your garden by reducing aphid populations. Aphid midges, damsel bugs and hoverflies are just a few of the beneficial bugs that eat aphids. It's only the hoverfly larva that eats insects, but the adult's diet is limited to pollen, which won't damage your plants.

Should You Introduce Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden?

Increasing the numbers of insects such as ladybugs and ground beetles can reduce the need for pesticides in some cases. Pesticides sometimes kill the good insects as well as the harmful pests. This can leave room for the bad bugs to make a stronger comeback with less natural enemies.

Beneficial bugs are also a better defense against garden pests that are resistant to pesticides. For example, spider mites can quickly become resistant to pesticides. But pirate bugs eat spider mites and can help defend your plants against them.

Before thinking about intentionally introducing bugs to your garden, consider your situation: do you have children or pets that might not like having more insects around? Think about your neighbors, too: will they mind the possibility of bugs spreading to their gardens?

It's also important to pay close attention to the bugs in your garden, even if you've identified them as good. If a population becomes large enough, it might start to spread indoors and become an infestation.

Call Aptive Environmental for Garden Pest Control

If you'd rather leave garden pest control to the professionals, or if you have any concerns about pests around your house, call Aptive Environmental right away. Our professionals have the expert knowledge to identify pests and create a convenient, customized solution for your home and garden. We use effective techniques to control infestations of any size. Help your garden thrive by calling your local Aptive branch today for a free quote.

Recommended Reading

Pest Control: The Lifecycle of Pests

Pests are a nuisance to homeowners, and can cause a lot of damage to property, as well as health risks to humans and pets. To effectively control pests, it is important to understand their lifecycle and behavior. In this article, we will explore the lifecycle of...

Feb 17, 2023

Data, Patterns, and Pest Control

As a leading pest control provider, Aptive service professionals encounter all kinds of pest activity across the country. Our ability to monitor this pest activity has provided valuable insights into understanding the prevalence of specific pest types at different...

Aug 1, 2023

Jumping Spider Control: Effective Methods to Eliminate and Prevent

Jumping spiders may seem harmless, but they can quickly get out of hand. With their swift movements and sharp vision, jumping spiders can be a nuisance and even pose risks to you and your surroundings. That's where effective jumping spider control methods come into...

Jul 26, 2023

Brown Recluse Spider: Facts, Bites & Control

Did you know that brown recluse spiders, also known as violin spiders, are among the most common venomous arachnids found in the United States? These elusive creatures are famous for their distinctive violin-shaped markings on their bodies. Brown recluse spiders...

Jul 14, 2023

Ultimate guide to identifying, preventing, and treating earwigs

Did you know that there is an insect with a rather peculiar name that often sparks curiosity and even fear? Meet the earwig, a nocturnal creature belonging to the order Dermaptera. With elongated bodies and distinctive pincers called cerci at their rear end, these...

Jun 19, 2023

Carpet Beetles: Identification, Prevention & Control Tips

Did you know that there are tiny creatures lurking in your home that can cause significant damage to fabrics and other materials? These are carpet beetles, small oval-shaped insects with a varied color pattern. There are several species of carpet beetles, but the...

Jun 12, 2023

Flea Bites: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Have you ever noticed a red bump on your skin that is itchy and painful? If so, you might have been bitten by a flea. Fleas are tiny insects that feed on the blood of humans and animals, and their bites can cause discomfort and irritation. In this article, we will...

May 31, 2023

Get Rid of Silverfish: Your Ultimate Guide!

Silverfish are common household pests that can be found in dark and damp areas of your home, such as basements, attics, and bathrooms. They are named after their silvery, metallic appearance and fish-like movements. These insects have a three-stage life cycle: egg,...

May 25, 2023

The Short Lifespan of Flies

Flies have a relatively short lifespan, typically living for only a few weeks to a few months, depending on the species. Their lifespan is influenced by various factors, including temperature, humidity, and availability of food and water. Flies lay their eggs in...

Feb 15, 2023

What Attracts Ants to Your Home?

Ants are small, seemingly harmless pests, but without proper treatment they can quickly become a massive nuisance. Oftentimes, homeowners don’t know where to start with ants and typically try solutions that only temporarily fix the problem. It can be difficult to...

Nov 22, 2022

How to Pest-Proof Your Garbage Cans

Depending on where you live, you may be familiar with managing pest-ridden garbage cans. What many city-dwellers and suburbians don’t realize though, is how easy it is for their own trash cans to become home to opportunistic pests. Allowing bugs to live in your...

Oct 20, 2022

Take back your home with pest control today.

Pin It on Pinterest