Spring is here! If you are an avid gardener or landscaper, you are no doubt already planning what flowers and plants you want to grow. This time of year Advanced IPM gets a lot of questions about which insects are good for your garden, and which ones are bad news.
We have rounded up some of the top “love bugs” to pamper in your garden this spring, and how to keep them happily hunting the insects that threaten your new growth.
Most people would consider bees to be a pest due to their stinging nature, but they are also one of the most beneficial insects you can have around. As long as you do not have an infestation of bees that you are unable to work around, try to let them benefit you by pollinating your garden. If you do not see a lot of bees in your area, you can take steps to attract them. Planting wild flowers, flowers with one ring of leaves (which produce more pollen), and plants of different sizes and shapes will keep bees in your garden.
Ground beetles like to hide out under stones and mulch, but they don't shy away from a good meal. They are especially fond of small insects like aphids and other leaf-eating pests. Perfectly maintained gardens look nice, but try leaving some dead leaves or wood behind to provide a good habitat for these beetles.
Although we call it a bug, the ladybug is actually a beetle! Also known as the ladybird beetle, 472 out of the 475 species found in the United States are beneficial. While the mature ladybug is what most people associate with, the ladybug’s larvae (seen above) are even more beneficial. If you happen to purchase or relocate ladybugs to your garden, be sure to release them in the evening after thoroughly watering your garden- otherwise they may fly off to a more suitable habitat!
If you have a lot of low-growing crops, the damsel bug may be especially beneficial to your garden. These bugs are equal opportunity hunters, but prefer to hunt other insects within their preferred habitat- low to the ground vegetation. Leaf eating pests better watch out if these bugs are about!
In addition to being beautiful to look at, dragonflies are also fierce hunters who can fly at speeds up to 35 miles per hour. Luckily for you, they like to hunt many predatory insects within your garden. In order to keep dragonflies hunting in your backyard, it helps to have a pond or water feature nearby.
Like dragonflies, spiders are very good hunters. In fact, some studies have shown spiders may be the number one defense against pests in many yards and gardens across the United States. While this may sound like bad news to an arachnophobic, try to remember that very few spiders in our area have harmful bites. To attract these ninja-like pest eaters to your plants and vegetables, provide a loose layer of clippings, leaves, or grass in your garden.
Have you seen a visitor in your garden that you can't identify? Are you wondering if it is a friend or foe? Send us a picture on Facebook, Twitter, or our Contact Page and we will have one of our friendly pest control technicians identify it for you!