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Beneficial Bugs

28
Feb

Not all bugs are bad news. Some bugs provide some very useful benefits for people, especially if you have a garden (or any of your neighbors do). If you find these bugs in your home, it’s best to humanely capture them and safely return them outdoors where they can continue to do the beneficial work that they do.

1. Praying Mantis – It’s uncommon for a praying mantis to make its way into your home but if it should happen to you, this is one bug you want to keep around–just out in the garden and not in the house. The praying mantis eats a large volume and large variety of insects that would normally cause serious damage to the plants in your garden.

 

2. Ladybugs – In many cultures, ladybugs (also called lady beetles) are a symbol of good luck but you might not guess the reason why. Ladybugs are voracious consumers of aphids. When crops or gardens throughout history were plagued by aphids that threatened to destroy the entire harvest, the appearance of ladybugs was a sign of salvation. A single ladybug can eat 50 aphids or more in just one day. Over a lifetime, the average ladybug eats as many as 5,000 aphids. Ladybugs also like to snack on thrips, fruit flies and mites, too.

 

3. Lacewings – Lacewings or Green Lacewings are flying bugs with wings that resemble delicate lace and typically a green body. Lacewings are often used as a form of pest control for other types of bugs you don’t want in your garden. Lacewings happily gobble up red mites, spider mites, thrips, aphids, mealybugs, whiteflies, small caterpillars and leafhoppers. The Lacewing larvae particularly enjoy aphids and can eat as many as 200 of them in a week.

 

4. Honey Bees – If you notice an unusually large number of bees in your yard or notice bees making their way into your home, it is a good idea to call a local beekeeper to assess the situation. In many cases, beekeepers will happily relocate honey bees. Honey bees are one of the primary pollinators of food crops, fruits and vegetables. As the honey bees go about collecting pollen and nectar, they spread small amounts of pollen that help pollinate the plants they visit. In one trip, a honey bee can visit 50 or more flowers. With Colony Collapse Disorder (primarily caused by bee-killing pesticides) threatening a number of bee species, protecting honey bees has become very important.

 

Not all bugs are a nuisance! This list highlights 4 common beneficial bugs that you actually want around in your garden or yard. If they happen to end up in your house, catch them as gently and humanely as possible and return them to their ideal habitat outside. They’ll repay the favor by eating the bugs that really bug you or by helping pollinate the plants that produce the food we eat.