On Chemistry Cachet, we love sharing information straight from the experts! We want to make sure you get the best information!
Today we have a pest control expert sharing tips on garden pests that are beneficial to your garden.
When hearing the word pest, any gardener instantly shudders and thinks of the demise of all of their precious flowers, plants, or vegetables. This is not always the case. In fact, green thumbs from around the world can rejoice in knowing that there are many types of insects that are actually beneficial for the garden. Recognizing the various types of bugs that reside in your garden can be an invaluable asset. While many do want to nibble on your tomatoes or the roots of your flowers, some can be very helpful in keeping your beautiful garden thriving. Mother nature can be the best form of pest control, so here are a few helpful bugs that you might want to allow to feel right at home in your garden.
Beautiful Bugs That Help Your Garden Grow
Ladybugs are one of the most well-known and easily identifiable garden inhabitant. These insects are essential to preventing pest outbreaks. As fierce opponents to aphids and other soft-bodied insects, both the larvae and the adults should be a happy sight to see for any gardener.
2. Assassin Bugs
As their name suggests, assassin bugs are tough warriors when it comes to protecting your garden. These bugs are almost mythical in their ability to use disguises and tricks to trap and annihilate their victim. The force they use is pretty intense, killing anything from caterpillars to beetles. Beware around these bugs, their ferocious bite is also pretty painful for the unsuspecting fingers of a gardener.
3. Praying Mantis
If you’ve ever seen a praying mantis before, you’re pretty lucky because these bugs are very good at blending in with the plants. Their camouflage is so good, in fact, that they are able to quickly capture and destroy many other insects (even ones larger than them) without even being noticed. While praying mantises are a good insect to have in your garden to control pests, as generalist predators they’re just as likely to eat their relatives, and as helpful insects they will eat vegetable destroying caterpillars
These surprisingly beautiful bugs feed on honeydew, pollen, and nectar after reaching adulthood. However, as successful larval predators, their meal that is most helpful to you is aphids. The larvae feast on your garden’s biggest villain and devour them by stabbing them ferociously with their pointed mandibles.
5. Hoverflies (aka flower flies or syrphid flies)
Syrphid flies are commonly mistaken for bees and have almost identical yellow-orange and black stripes. They can be differentiated though, as they only have two wings. Not only will they pollinate flowers, but they are also pretty talented at finding hiding aphids and forcibly removing them from your precious plants and flowers.
6. Stink Bugs
Although some stink bugs are considered to be pests, there are a few predatory varieties that help control pest numbers. For instance, the spined soldier bug can help manage an infestation of caterpillars or grubs. Like beetles, stink bugs are generalist feeders, so while they’ll consume pests, they also eat other beneficial insects and even members of their own family!
7. Minute pirate bugs
These guys are probably in your backyard right now and you don’t even know it. At less than 1/16th of an inch long, they might be some of the tiniest predators to help your garden flourish. These little bugs can easily consume multiple mites, thrips, and aphids; be sure to use a magnifying glass if you ever attempt to see them in action!
All of the biggest garden pests — thrips, mites, mealybugs, and aphids — know to watch out for the garden beetle. Beetles, both larvae and adults, feed on the pests. Lady beetles are also easy to identify; they look like a smaller version of a very colorful alligator. Ground beetles, on the other hand, have a stunning metallic sheen, and are most likely found on a plant stem hunting for insect eggs.
9. Hunting and parasitic wasps
Some of these wasps are unseen to the naked eye but are critical in protecting your garden. The microscopic wasps are beneficial by attacking the eggs of pests, preventing any future pest outbreaks. As one of the most important and helpful pest predators, pollen and nectar plants can be used to attract them.
Scary to humans and insects alike, spiders are very important insects to have in a garden. As they eat all types of insects, spiders can be helpful in preventing pest outbreaks. Many spiders are attracted to permanent perennial plants and will live underneath straw mulch. You can take comfort in knowing that most of the ones that reside in your garden aren’t poisonous and won’t try to move into your house.
11. Tachinid Flies
These insects look very similar to house flies but are far more important when it comes to protecting your garden. As enemies of caterpillars, cabbage loopers, sawflies, gypsy moths, and many more garden predators, it might be wise to plant pollen and nectar producing plants to attract them.
12. Big-Eyed Bugs
One of the easier kinds of insects to distinguish without help of a magnifying glass, these bugs are known for their massive and bulging eyes. While their eyes are large, the rest of their body is relatively small, only about 1/8th of an inch. Their eyes are clearly as big as their stomach though, these bugs consume substantial numbers of aphids, insect eggs, and mites.
13. Damsel Bugs
These insects look similar to assassin bugs, but are smaller and even more successful at blending in with their environment. Both adults and nymphs prey on eggs and small insects. They use their strong legs to grab prey like caterpillars, leafhoppers, thrips, and aphids.
When it comes to garden pests that actually do good for your garden you can’t go past these ones. So, have you met any of these garden pests on your garden adventure?
About the Author:
Lynton Paddick. Lynton specialises in pest control and bought into the Jim’s Pest Control franchise. He works on providing premium pest control services for clients and is a well trusted member of the community. Outside of work he walks the family dogs, goes for bike rides with the family, and enjoys life.
To guest post for Chemistry Cachet, check out our sponsor page!