Beneficial insects work behind the scenes in your home and garden to eliminate destructive pests. In many cases, these beneficial pests help your garden grow and keep your home and family safe.
What is a beneficial insect for your garden?
Beneficial pests or insects eat the other insects that destroy and eat your plants. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, The average backyard is home to thousands of insects, and you may be surprised to learn that only about a tenth is destructive. Instead, most are either beneficial or harmless. Beneficial insects fall into three main categories:
- Pollinators: We depend on these insects—including bees, butterflies, flies, and moths—to pollinate our garden’s flowers.
- Predators: These insects eliminate pests by eating them. Things like ladybugs, praying mantises, and green lacewing larvae fall into this category.
- Parasitizers: Like predators, parasitizers also prey upon other insects, but in a slightly different way. They lay their eggs on or in the bad bugs, and when the eggs hatch, the larvae feed on the host insects. Parasitic wasps are the main member of this category.
Which insects are beneficial for your garden?
Everyone knows the value of bees for pollination but did you know of the other insects that help keep your garden healthy and growing?
- Ladybugs. Gardeners often welcome ladybugs to the yard. They eat small worms, aphids, and other garden pests. Often drawn to the scent of certain herbs such as dill, they gather around your home from early spring to early fall. In search of warmth, ladybugs enter your home through a tiny crack in a window or door. Soon, the word gets out, and you may find dozens to hundreds of ladybugs.
- Spiders. “Spiders—though technically arachnids rather than insects—are often overlooked as beneficial, but they are very effective pest controllers. Since they are attracted to their prey by movement, they eat many live insects. Jumping spiders and wolf spiders are especially good at keeping pests under control.”
- Praying Mantis. “A praying mantiswill make short work of any grasshoppers that are troubling you; these fierce predators will also hunt many other insect pests that terrorize gardens, including moths, beetles, and flies. Note, however, that praying mantises are ruthless and will turn to eating other beneficials, such as butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds—and even each other!”
- Hoverflies. According to growveg.com, Adult hoverflies feed on flower nectar and help pollinate some crops, but it is the larvae that are important predators in the garden. The tiny, nearly invisible slug-like larvae scour the undersides of plant leaves for aphids and eat them as their primary food source.
- Ground Beetles. Ground beetles rummage around your garden all night long, looking to consume mites, snails, slugs, caterpillars, earwigs, cutworms, vine borers, aphids, and lots of other insects.
What is an assassin bug?
At Accurate pest control, we love bugs and love to learn about them regarding the benefit some bugs provide to our ecosystem and outdoor space. The Assassin Bug is no exception. So we turn to Bobvila.com for the inside scoop:
Commonly called assassin bugs, these bad boys of the insect world belong to a large group in the Reduviidae family. Though there are approximately 160 different species of assassin bugs in North America and more than 3,000 worldwide, they all share one notable characteristic: a curved, dagger-like mouthpart known as a rostrum or proboscis, which is used to kill prey. An assassin bug will spear its victim, inject lethal venom or digestive juices to kill it, and then suck on the prey to feed. They also use this beak to defend themselves from predators.
Assassin bugs of the Reduviidae family are also sometimes familiarly referred to as kissing bugs—and for their prey, it’s the kiss of death! They devour the likes of destructive aphids, leafhoppers, and caterpillars, and can even consume insects larger than themselves. What’s more, kissing bugs actively hunt their prey, patrolling trees, bushes, and other vegetation for victims. No wonder experienced gardeners view them as friends, especially those who take a natural approach and like to limit their use of pesticides.
(that’s why we love bugs!)
Not all insects are beneficial.
We do our best to keep your home and outdoor living space safe for you and your family. The insects we discussed here are suitable for your garden. However, insects inside your home, even some of the insects listed here, can cause damage when an infestation occurs.
If you see an increase in any insect inside your home, including ladybugs and spiders, call us to inspect your home and determine if an infestation has occurred. Enjoy the remaining weeks of summer!
Serving: Albany County, Columbia County, Fulton County, Green County, Montgomery County, Rensselaer County, Saratoga County, Schenectady County, Warren County, Washington County.
Have we treated your home or business? Great! Would you please give us a Google review?
resources: Special thanks to The Farmer’s Almanac for their content and phenomenal descriptions! https://www.growveg.com/beneficial-insects/us-and-canada/hoverfly/ and https://savvygardening.com/build-a-beetle-bank-or-bump/, Bobvila.com