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Not All Bugs in your Home Vegetable Garden are bad

Date Posted: October 4, 2014

Seeds of the Month Club by Mike the Gardener Not All Bugs in your Home Vegetable Garden are bad
photo credit: iStockPhoto

Just remember, not all bugs are bad. I cannot say that enough. Most new gardeners see large groups of bugs and assume they are bad. Not sure where that mentality comes from, but hopefully we can get the information out there, that your garden has good insects. Those good insects are needed to keep the bad insects in check.

Take for example the bad insects, aphids. Aphids can literally destroy your garden crop in no time if you don’t do something about it. However, before you spray tons of pesticides on your home grown veggies, did you also know that ladybugs are a great beneficial insect to get rid of aphids? Ladybugs can eat their weight daily in aphids. Even if you do not see any ladybugs in your garden, you can still buy ladybugs in the thousands, and they are fairly inexpensive.

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Another group of popular good guys in the insect world are assassin bugs. They are part of the Reduviidae family. These bugs are often looked at by gardeners as being bad guys because they move in large numbers and seem to take over plants. However, that is not the case. They are beneficial insects, traveling in large groups that feed on bad insects such as beetles.

Assassin bugs come in various colors, but the common ones found in home gardens are brown. They have a small head and elongated body. Their “weapon” is their beak, called the proboscis. They will stab their prey with their proboscis rendering the prey paralyzed and damaging the internal organ structure of the insect it is going after. When the assassin bug is not using its proboscis, it hides underneath the belly section of the insect.

Unfortunately, assassin bugs are not for sale like the ladybugs mentioned earlier. You will need to attract them. Most of the time gardeners do it without even knowing it, but if you have not seen them in your garden, try planting some Queen Anne’s Lace, fennel, or dill. While not a 100% surefire way of attracting them, these plants, and other small flowering plants are a good way to go.

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Mike the gardener

About the Author

Mike Podlesny is the author of the book Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person as well as the creator of the Seeds of the Month Club where members receive non gmo, heirloom variety seeds every month. You can listen to Mike each week on the Vegetable Gardening Podcast where he interviews gardening industry experts. Don`t forget to link up with Mike on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.


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