When you hear pest, you probably think of an animal or insect harmful to your crops. They might eat your plants or carry diseases that could ruin your entire crop. They might even make your garden unsightly. However, some pests can actually be beneficial to your garden. Beneficial insects are natural predators that help control populations of harmful pests. They fall under three main categories:
Pollinators: Pollinators are essential for the reproduction of many plants. These include bees, butterflies, and other insects that help pollinate flowers.
Predators: These include ladybugs, lacewings, and spiders. Predators help control populations of harmful pests by eating them.
Parasites: Like predators, they can also prey on other insects. However, they don’t kill their host outright. Instead, they lay their eggs inside the host’s body, and the larvae eventually consume the host from the inside out.
Here are five beneficial pests that you want in your garden:
Bees & Wasps
Most homeowners think that wasps are a very dangerous pest to have around in the summer. But they don’t realize that wasps eat many harmful pests that could damage the fruits and vegetables you are growing. The experts at Thrive Pest Control claim that wasps are essential to keeping other common household pests in check. The wasp is also a good pollinator that can aid in crops’ growth and yield.
Bees are very similar to wasps in terms of their benefits to your garden. They are also excellent pollinators and can help improve the quality and quantity of your crops. In addition, bees help control pests by eating them. Bees are attracted to gardens with a variety of flowers, so if you want to attract bees to your garden, make sure to plant various flowers.
True to its name, the assassin bug is a voracious predator that feeds on various harmful pests, including aphids, caterpillars, and some species of beetles. They use their beaks to inject enzymes into their victims that liquefy their insides, making them easy to consume.
The most common assassin bugs are wheel bugs. Their size ranges from 1 1/4 inches making them one of the largest true bugs in North America. They are gray with a semicircular crest on their back resembling a wheel. One of the entomologists of the University of Maryland acknowledges that their presence in the garden is a good sign that means you have a very healthy landscape.
At first, homeowners would never know that these fancy creatures can do a great job in keeping harmful pests at bay. Lacewings are delicate-looking insects with clear wings and elongated bodies. They are excellent predators of aphids, small caterpillars, whiteflies, and mealybugs.
Their larvae, known as “aphid lions,” are particularly voracious predators. They have a huge appetite and can consume 200 aphids in 1 week. If you have a serious aphid problem in your garden, releasing lacewings can help solve the issue. They can travel 80-100 feet and move around searching for prey.
There are more than 350,000 species of beetles, and many of them are beneficial to your garden. Some beetles prey on harmful insects, while others help pollinate flowers. One example of a beetle that preys on harmful insects is the ladybug. They are red or orange with black spots and are one of the most popular beneficial insects. Ladybugs are voracious predators of aphids, small caterpillars, whiteflies, and mealybugs.
Another example of a helpful beetle is the ground beetle. They are dark brown or black in color and are excellent predators of other pests, including nematodes, caterpillars, thrips, weevils, slugs, and silverfish. During the day, they hide in the soil, rocks, and tree barks and search for food at night.
They commonly known by their shiny hard shell and size about ⅛ to 1½ inches long. Most of them have a dark color, usually black or bronze. But some are green, blue, or red.
Although spiders may look creepy and dangerous, many experts, including experts at Thrive Pest Control, agree that spiders play a vital role in our ecosystem and be beneficial to have in your garden.
Spiders are vicarious eaters that eat insects as many as they can. Many of their favorite meals are insects that mostly like to destroy your gardens, such as aphids, leafminers, caterpillars, flea beetles, and leafhoppers.
There are many different types of spiders, but the most common ones that you will find in your garden are the orb-weaver spiders. They build large webs to catch their prey. These spiders can vary in color, but they are usually black with white spots or patterns on their abdomens. They are not picky eaters and can eat twice their body weight, making them excellent predators in your garden.
Beneficial pests can help your garden in many ways. They can help with pollination and help with getting rid of pests that are harmful to your plants. When you have a beneficial pest in your garden, it is important to ensure that you do not use pesticides that could kill them. If you have a problem with a certain type of pest, it is important to identify it to find a beneficial insect that will prey on that particular pest.
There are many different types of beneficial insects, each with a specific role to play in the garden. You can create a healthy garden that is less susceptible to pests and diseases by having a diversity of beneficial insects. Therefore, it is important to research to find the best ones for your particular garden.
If you are looking for a natural way to get rid of pests, consider attracting beneficial insects. They are safe for your plants and can help to create a healthy garden. By attracting these helpful creatures to your yard, you can enjoy a beautiful garden free of harmful pests.