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Bugs aren’t all bad. In fact, they are a sign of a healthy ecosystem. Many bugs feed on the pests that would otherwise destroy your garden, such as aphids and gypsy moths. Some even pollinate your crops, giving life to fruits and vegetables. In return, insects are an important food source to birds, bats, frogs, and fish.
The following lists some of the beneficial insects you should keep around the home and garden.
Bees are your friends! Honeybees and bumblebees are pollinators, spreading genetic material from one flower to the next. Without them, it would be nearly impossible for plants to reproduce. If you see a bee in the garden, leave it be. If there is a hive on your property that is giving you trouble, call a beekeeper or bee rescuer for help.
Ladybugs are pretty little pest control experts. They feed on aphids, thrips, mites, mealybugs, and whiteflies, which are known to damage the garden. Just be sure that you do not confuse ladybugs with Asian lady beetles. The Asian lady beetle is an invasive species with an M-shaped marking on the back of its head.
The lacewing is another predator that helps keep pests under control. It eats aphids, spidermites, thrips, leafhoppers, moth eggs, mealybugs, and more. Lacewing larvae are known as aphid lions because they love to eat aphids. These flying green bugs have been used in gardens, orchards, and greenhouses for generations.
Also known as the assassin fly, the robber fly is an aggressive predator capable of taking down grasshoppers and wasps. While it may sometimes feed on bees, the robber fly does not pose a threat. Robber flies are good for keeping pests under control.
Dragonfly and Damsel Fly
Both the dragonfly and damsel fly have 2 pairs of wings, so they look very similar. They’re also good for the garden. While the dragonfly eats mosquitoes, the damsel fly eats aphids, mites, leafhoppers, and other little pests that hurt your plants.
The pill bug, also known as the potato bug or roly poly, is an omnivorous little bug that feeds mostly on decaying matter. This insect is beneficial to the garden because it helps produce compost, breaking down leaf litter, grass clippings, and dead insects.
There are thousands of ground beetle species around the world. Generally, these bugs are good for the garden because they eat pests. Ground beetles eat gypsy moth larvae, cankerworms, cutworms, and more.
Like bees, butterflies pollinate the garden. They also attract ladybugs and other beneficial insects to the garden. Butterflies are important members of the ecosystem, serving as pollinators and prey. The presence of butterflies signals a healthy ecosystem.
House Spider and Cellar Spider
You may have heard that spiders are “good for the house.” This is because spiders are predators
Centipedes are nightmare-fuel to many people, but if you can handle them, they’re great for getting rid of pests. Centipedes are predators that feed on ants, bed bugs, and other insects you do not want around the house. They tend to hang around bathrooms and moist environments. Seeing a centipede every now and then is fine.
How to Attract Beneficial Insects
Here’s what you can do to attract these insects into the garden:
- Don’t use pesticides. Insect populations are suffering from pesticides and deforestation. Use ecofriendly alternatives, instead.
- Grow native plants. Create a natural habitat for the insects in your area. Native plants are also easier to care for.
- Plant a variety of flowers. Plant colourful, flowering plants that produce a lot of nectar. You can also plant flowering herbs such as lavender, thyme, mint, and parsley.
- Provide a moist, shaded environment. Bugs need water, too. Water your plants regularly so that the ecosystem on your property can thrive.