With more than a million named species of bugs and insects, it is easy to see how they make up more than half of all living things on earth, yet only 1% are considered harmful. Most insects go about pollinating plants, and helping to decompose dead material. One of the biggest things insects do is keep pest populations down. The good guys battling the bad. At first it is difficult to tell the two apart, but there are beneficial insects that help control pest populations.
Encouraging beneficial insects in your garden and yard is one of the easiest, and greenest methods of pest control out there. An easy way to start is to get a small glass jar and gather a couple of the bugs in your garden, identify them and go from there, there are plenty of resources available to help with identification. Becoming familiar with several common beneficials and their preferred environment will help you in understanding how to use them to control negative pests.
Some beneficial insects commonly found in the garden are:
Assassin bugs: Voracious predators (including some other beneficials); adults are black, brown or bright-colored slender insects with an extended needlelike beak and enlarged bristly front legs.
Green lacewings: Also called aphid lions; ethereal-looking garden “good guys” with a slender pale green body, delicate gossamer wings and immense golden eyes, giving the appearance of a fairy prancing on garden leaves rather than the aggressive predator they are; natural enemies of several species of aphids, spider mites (especially red mites), leafhoppers, mealybugs, leafminers, thrips, whiteflies, small caterpillars, beetle larvae and insect eggs; its ferocious larvae are grayish to brown, mottled and spiny alligator-shaped.
Minute pirate bugs: About the same to twice the size of an aphid; fierce, generalist adults are somewhat oval shaped, black to purplish in color with the characteristic true bug X-shape or chevron on their back.
Praying mantis): Wonderfully weird, insect-hunting machines range in size from 2 to 4 inches long and have tremendous appetites, eating almost any prey they can overcome; adults feast on both pests and beneficials by ambushing predators.
Soldier beetles: Also known as leather-winged beetles; adults are relatively soft-bodied, straight-sided beetles about ½-inch long with a red, orange or yellow head and abdomen; predators to a host of bad bugs.
Syrphid flies: Commonly known as flower or hover flies, resembling bees; bright-colored adults are black or brown adorned with yellow banded abdomens and body markings; its larvae that are the predators, while adults feast on pollen and nectar; their movement from flower to flower makes them an important pollinator.
Your garden can supply adequate food and water for beneficial insects, a high variety of plants will also help. Remember to keep dust low because it aids in the outbreak of negative pests such as spider mites.
If the all natural approach isn’t working, remember to contact Earth Guard Pest Services for all of your pest control needs.