3 Categories of Beneficial Insects
You don’t have to be a homeowner for very long before you realize that not all insects are created equal. In fact, some of the bugs commonly found on a residential property can be quite beneficial to keep around. Before we start listing off particular species and how they can help, let’s look at the three categories of beneficial insects:
- Pollinators — These are the insects that pollinate flowers and other plants. Some of them such as flies and moths may be annoying but also beneficial.
- Predators — These include both insects and arachnids that devour harmful insects. You want to keep most of these around whenever possible.
- Parasitizers — These types of insects also prey on bad bugs, but they do so by laying their eggs on or inside them. When the eggs hatch, the larvae feed on the host.
12 Types of Beneficial Garden Insects
The truth is that any type of insect may need elimination or removal if their numbers get out of hand. However, there are some insects (and arachnids) that can be quite beneficial in limited numbers.
Here’s a quick look at each of these:
Out of all beneficial insects, this is definitely the most important. Honeybees are essential for pollination and it’s been said that the world would be devastated if their numbers were greatly reduced.
The voracious appetite of praying mantises is one reason why the partial myth of the female eating the male’s head after copulation is part of insect lore. You probably want to leave these bugs alone because they will eliminate smaller, dangerous pests.
We all know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but with the ladybug, it’s perfectly okay because they’re both pretty and great predators. In their larval stage, they look like little black and orange movie monsters, but don’t kill them because they can eat as many as 40 aphids an hour.
People often kill green lacewings because they look like your average, annoying little pest. However, in their adult phase, these bugs feed on pollen and nectar, which makes them perfect pollinators, while in their larval stage – where they look like a cross between an alligator and slug – they eat caterpillars, aphids, and other soft-bodied garden pests.
Yes, we know that spiders are arachnids, not insects. It’s important to include them, however, because if these voracious predators were all to disappear, our planet’s crops would be decimated. Unless your property starts to get overrun by spiders, you should leave most of them alone and let them eat insects all day.
There are several different types of ground beetles, many of which feast on pests such as caterpillars, nematodes, slugs, silverfish, etc. The best way to determine if the beetles in your yard are a concern is to ask a professional pest control company.
Like ladybugs, butterflies have an extremely positive reputation, mostly because of their appearance and that they’re typically not damaging and don’t carry disease. This is another small creature where unless there’s a huge infestation, you probably want to leave them alone.
As the only parasitizer on this list, these wasps deserve special attention. The important thing to remember about them is despite being wasps, they aren’t aggressive and won’t sting unless provoked. Leave them alone and these wasps help keep the insect population down.
As the name most likely clues you in, assassin bugs are predators that kill a variety of insect pests found in your garden. This is definitely an odd-looking bug – basically a mix between a praying mantis and a squash bug – but it’s also quite beneficial to have around.
These insects may initially appear menacing because they look like small yellow jackets without a stinger, but they’re only here to help. In the larval stage, they feed on aphids, caterpillars, beetles, and other insects while the adults help pollinate flowers and other plants.
While it’s true that robber flies will bite humans if threatened, their voracious appetites for other insects make these flies worth this very small risk. If you see them flying around, just give them space because they’re probably tracking down an insect or two for the kill.
Soldier beetles are well known for preying on insects such as Colorado potato beetles, caterpillars, and aphids. These bugs are attracted to compound blossoms, so if you want this beneficial beetle to stick around, make some of them a part of your garden.
Getting Help with Professional Pest Control
The biggest problem with determining which insects are beneficial and which ones could cause you harm is the fact that there are so many varieties out there. Many of the most unattractive bugs are the ones that could be helping you the most by getting rid of more harmful insects. If you’re unsure of what you’re dealing with, it’s always best to get in contact with a pest control company who will survey your property and identify the particular insects or arachnids.
Contact ProHealth Pest Control for Help with Beneficial Insects
As you can see, some insects that you would consider garden pests are actually beneficial insects (and arachnids). If you have any questions about our residential, commercial, or organic pest control methods or would like to schedule an appointment, reach out to ProHealth Pest Control by calling (727) 472-9420 today.