Just thinking about bugs will cause people to start squirming. But not every bug is the enemy, especially when it comes to gardens. There are a few, including some of the creepy ones, that support our external environment. Bugs may be of some very real help in maintaining a safe environment, from pollination of our crops to removing the harmful pests.
Yes, a bug and an bee, and even arthropods, vary. But I will be referring to all of them as bugs for the sake of this post, just to keep it simple.
Not every area on this list will automatically have all the bugs. You may not even notice them on the ground, in the air, or on your plants, even though they are present in your specific area. They actually want to cohabit with us humans less than we would want them to. And they’re going to do their absolute best to go unnoticed.
But, which bugs are good and deserve to be left alone in helping our gardens do their work? The list below contains some of the more famous ones.
1. Praying Mantis
The praying mantis is maybe the biggest on this list, making it one that will be more visible. These are more identifiable than any of the others on this list, with its broad and triangular head, prolonged body and bulging eyes. The body disguises its wings and the long forelegs are perfect to capture their prey.
And, their prey to our gardens also happens to be different harmful bugs.
Admittedly, I have come a long way to kill a spider since the days of tossing a shoe around the house. I don’t like them still, nor do I want to get close to them. But I am not afraid of them like I used to in the past.
Part of that is because I know they’re good at killing other bugs which damage our plants and gardens. The web they weave helps to catch the bugs they love to eat which are crop enemies. Certainly, we humans can be dangerous to certain spiders. The spiders usually found in gardens, however, are harmless to us and beneficial for our goods.
Known by other names including Lady Beetle and Lady Bird, the ladybug is a natural consumer of mites, aphids and other soft-bodied bugs’ eggs. Not only are they adorable, they’re also helpful in keeping a healthy garden.
In fact, some gardeners are known to buy them in bulk just to add them to their garden.
4. Ground Beetle
Ground beetles can fly but rarely.
They come out at night and go for bugs which bind to your garden treasures and feed them off. Sometimes they can be found under old leaves and debri piles, or other darkly colored areas, like a compost pile.
Even though with their threatening presence they look like they could harm you, they won’t. It is best to leave them in the garden to do their job.
Next time you see a dragonfly, know they are helping with flying pests, such as mosquitoes, moths, flies, fruit flies, white flies, and even their larvae.
They might seem intimidating, but they are not.
Well, unless you are a mosquito.
Chances are you wouldn’t even think of a butterfly as something for which you don’t like around. And, that is fine.
Their hypnotic presence as they can be seen fluttering around the gardens is more important than their attractiveness alone.
They feed on the flowers nectar, bringing pollen to help fertilize new seeds and plants, while promoting plant production.
7. Braconid Wasp
Wasp, hornets, and other flying stingy bugs can make many people very nervous. I know, because I am one of them. I’ve discovered recently, however, that braconid wasp is harmful to the hornworm.
Yeah, the same hornworm that’s fond of attacking tomato plants. The braconid wasp, just under the surface, lays its eggs on the worm. The larvae have a feast on the hornworm when the eggs have hatched, then create a cocoon on the hornworm that suffocates it, saving your tomatoes.
Bees also play an important role in the life cycle and development of a plant alongside the rich honey some of us enjoy.
Identified as one of the top pollinators, other stinging pests have caused them to get a bad rap. Usually they’re not going to bother you at all unless they feel you’re attacking them. Well, don’t. Let them do the work in peace.
Related: Beekeeping for Beginners
Lacewings can be a very beneficial bug in both their larvae and adult stages, since they are the greatest attacker of whiteflies and bad aphids.
The female lacewing lays her eggs within the larvae of whiteflies and aphids. They then start devouring them, very violently.
Ants are nevertheless aphid-friendly and may seek to consume eggs of lacewings. To put it another way, ants are not nice to your garden.
10. Aphid Midge
The smallest of fly species is the aphid midge. But, by devouring them, they throw quite a punch in helping manage about 60 different species of aphids. In reality, they are going to rid your garden of destructive aphids faster than the lacewing and ladybug both.
A perfect way to control the destructive bug population that wants to take over your garden is to implement the bugs mentioned above. At the very least, if you notice them among your plants roaming about, it is best to leave them alone.