to Account
Call Us

(855) 948-5816


Find Service Area

Identifying Beneficial Garden Insects

Written by Aptive Environmental July 11, 2019

Updated February 7, 2023

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.

Curated articles for you, from our pest experts.

Ant On Wet Leaf.

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
Why You Should Have Pest Control

3 Reasons Why You Should Have Pest Control

It’s easy to recognize the need for pest control when we find a wasp nest next to the front door, or when a roach scuttles across the kitchen floor, but some issues may not be as visible. Sometimes a single ant on a countertop or a tick crawling up a pant leg can...

Feb 20, 2024
Lovebug 2 1

Lovebugs: Facts, Identification, and How to Treat Them

Lovebugs: these small insects may seem harmless, but they can quickly become a nuisance in the southeastern United States. With their unique mating behavior and rapid reproduction, lovebugs can swarm in large numbers during certain times of the year. But what...

Feb 12, 2024
A Guide To Rat Control And Identification 1

The Rodent Riddle: A Guide to Rat Control and Identification

In the corners of homes and urban landscapes, rats lurk as stealthy intruders, capable of causing damage and spreading disease. Recognizing the signs of a rat infestation and understanding effective control measures are crucial for maintaining a more pest protected...

Feb 5, 2024
How To Treat Mice 1 1

How to Treat Mice in the Home

Mice, those elusive yet troublesome creatures, have a knack for infiltrating our living spaces and turning a minor annoyance into a full-blown infestation. Understanding their characteristics and behavior is pivotal in effectively controlling these invaders....

Jan 29, 2024
Paper Wasp Control 1 1

Understanding and Controlling Paper Wasps

In the intricate tapestry of nature, paper wasps play a crucial role, contributing to the balance of ecosystems by preying on various pests. However, when these buzzing architects decide to build their intricate nests in and around our homes, they can quickly turn from fascinating insects to potential pests.

Jan 8, 2024
Winter Pest Control 1

Why You Need Pest Control in the Winter As the days grow shorter and the temperatures drop, many people tend to believe that pests die off during winter. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. In fact, winter can be a time of heightened pest movement as...

Dec 4, 2023
Pest Activyt Neighborhood Map

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
How To Pest-Proof Your Garbage Cans

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
Aptive Employee Standing In The Front Yard Talking To A Customer.

What to Do After a Pest Control Treatment by Aptive

Most homeowners know the importance of receiving routine pest control treatments each quarter, but not all know that the actions you take immediately following a treatment can directly determine its success. As the homeowner, make sure you’re taking full advantage...

Sep 15, 2022

Take back your home with pest control today.