Most of us know that bugs can harm our garden, but do you know that some of them are beneficial bugs? They can help you protect your garden by eating harmful ones. Thus, make sure that you don’t accidentally kill the following bugs when taking care of your garden.
Aphid midge can kill and eat more than 60 different aphid types who are trying to destroy your garden.
If you have got an aphid problem, aphid midge is on the way to your garden. You don’t incorrectly kill them.
Small orange eggs under the leaves develop into fat tiny orange larvae that eat over 50 aphids per day during 7 continuous days.
After this time, the larvae drop off the leaves to go into the soil and turn into adult midge.
Tomato growers hate hornworms who love their tomato plants. Only a few Hornworms are enough to destroy your whole tomato crop. Luckily, Braconid wasps, such as ants, bees, and wasps, can help you kill these harmful bugs.
Small and slender wasps feature orange bodies, black wings, and spindly legs, incredibly long stingers used to kill Hornworms, not string you. So, don’t be worried.
The female wasps directly lay her eggs inside the Hornworm caterpillar, so the larvae will emerge from the caterpillar to feed. They create small white cocoons on the caterpillar body where their “babies” grow into adult wasps to kill the host Harmworm.
The damsel bug’s color range varies green, tan, and brown, and some of them come with veined wings over the backs.
They hold and kill their prey with their front legs. Damsel bugs aren’t picky, so they can eat most common garden pests: tiny caterpillars, mites, aphids, insect eggs, assassin bugs, and minute pirate bugs, even though they eat each other.
Although you can’t buy Damel bugs, you can encourage them to enter your garden by stopping using pesticides.
Ground beetles usually have black or brown color and are ⅛’’ - ½’’ in length. Their lifespan is around 4 years, and they live underground in the winter.
These ground beetles hide under rocks, but they eat pests above and below the ground.
When living beneath the soil, they eat common underground garden pests. Above the ground, they eat other bugs such as larvae, slugs, and caterpillars. Plus, some ground beetles can eat certain weed seeds, such as ragweed, foxtail, and thistle.
How to encourage ground beetles to enter your garden?
Set up places where they can stay a whole day because they are nocturnal. It’s best to put flat rocks or logs under old trees and plants to provide shade.
Hoverflies look like bees and wasps, but they can hover in the air. They deal with aphids. Aphid honeydew attracts hoverflies naturally, so you don’t have to do anything else to encourage them to enter your garden.
The larvae look like small green sea cucumbers, but they can eat aphids, tiny caterpillars, and thrips.
Moreover, adult hoverflies are tiny pollinators, so any gardener loves them.
Lacewings are generalist predators, so they aren’t picky.
These tiny, slight, and delicate lacewings feature a slender green body, long antennae, and see-through wings.
Their green eggs are beautiful. Each egg is attached to the end of a tiny and thin stalk.
After hatching, they become little buggers. Their foods are aphids, and soft-bodied insects, such as tiny caterpillars, leafhoppers, and mealybugs.
Adult lacewings are beneficial pollinators, eating aphid honeydew and plant pollen.
You should stop using pesticides to encourage them to enter your garden or buy lacewing larvae in a store.
Lady Beetles (Ladybugs, Ladybird Beetles)
A cute lady beetle can eat around 5000 aphids during its life. Besides, they also love eating insect eggs, mites, and scale insects. Unlike the appealing look of adults, ladybug larvae are ugly with a spiny body in black color and orange splotches on 2 sides.
Pollen from marigolds and calendula, cosmos, yarrow, and other herbs, such as chives, cilantro, and dill, can attract them. If you don’t grow these plants in your garden, you can buy ladybugs in a store or online.
Asian ladybugs might bite if you touch them. They can cause a stink if they are disturbed. Thus, you need to know how to distinguish regular ladybugs and Asian ladybugs that have an “M” shape at the neck base, and they tend to come with an orange color rather than red.
This type of bug has a dark brown or black body with an orange head and backside. Although the mealybug destroyer larvae look like mealybug larvae - a white curly covering on the body, the mealybug destroyer is bigger than another.
How can mealybug destroyers kill mealybugs?
Female mealybug destroyers lay their eggs in the egg sacks of their prey to kill them.
A mealybug destroyer can eat over 100 mealybugs during its life.
If mealybugs are attracting your garden, you can make an online purchase of mealybug destroyers.
Minute Pirate Bugs
MINUTE PIRATE BUGS CAN BITE YOU IF YOU TOUCH THEM. They love eating corn borers, leafhoppers, insect eggs, mites, thrips, and other soft-bodied insects.
Small minute pirate bugs have a teardrop shape and orange color, while adults are black or dark brown with a set of black and white wings.
You can easily find these bugs in a garden of potatoes, tomatoes, beans, corn, and strawberries because of their prey like these plants.
Spiders attack most pests, including both beneficial and harmful ones. The majority of spiders are safe. You need to be careful with the black widow and the brown recluse because they can bite you. The good news is that gardens aren’t their preferred habitat.
Spined Soldier Bugs
Spined soldier bugs look like Euchirtas stink bugs who will feed on your plants. However, these bugs have reddish antennae, sharp spined shoulders, a red body, a blackhead, and many black bars on their backs.
Except for the first nymph stage, they continuously eat insect pests in the next successive stages. Among 50-100 different species, their favorite foods are moth larvae and beetles.
The most efficient method is to buy them and release them in your garden to control pest problems. Or you can also apply pheromones in your garden to attract them.
Tachinid flies look like common ones, but you can distinguish through their size, coloration, and shape. They have a big triangular head, bulging eyes, and a long body.
These flies are parasitoids, and their hosts are grasshoppers, sawfly larvae, cabbage looner caterpillars, squash bugs, potato beetles, Hornworm caterpillars, and Japanese beetles.
Female Tachinid flies will lay eggs outside the host body as long as the larvae can burrow into the host after hatching. They will directly insert their eggs into the host body so that their “babies” can destroy the host from the inside out after hatching. Meanwhile, the adult flies will feed on pollen and nectar.
Praying mantises eat a variety of difficult plant-eating pests, such as aphids, beetles, and caterpillars. You can attract them to enter your garden with a dill scent.
They have large forelegs used to catch and hold prey.
Generally, some bugs are helpful in your gardening task, so don’t kill them. They include aphid midge, braconid wasps, damsel bugs, ground beetles, hoverflies, lacewings, lady beetles, mealybug destroyer, minute pirate bugs, spiders, spined soldier bugs, Tachinid flies, and Praying mantises.