Garden Bugs: Are they Good or Bad?
When we see insects in our garden, our first instinct is to destroy them, but they are not always bad and destroying them might not work in the best health of your garden and plants. Out of the 1.5 million insects species known, approximately 95% are either beneficial to the garden or simply benign.
Beneficial insects perform vital functions in the environment. More than 75 percent of crops and an equal amount of flowering plants rely on animals to distribute pollen, and most that perform this task are insects. Bees, butterflies, moths and even beetles and flies pollinate plants.
Insects also perform the important tasks of aerating soil, breaking down dead materials and returning them to the earth, and serving as food for wildlife. Some insects, such as ladybird beetles and green lacewings, also eat harmful pests, which helps to keep the environment in balance.
What should you do when you see an insect in your garden?
The first task in order is to stop yourself from quashing them but ignoring them is also not a good idea. Here are some things you could follow to understand the new guest in your garden.
- Take a close look at the bug and observe what it’s doing – is it alone, is it feeding on the foliage, is it forming a colony and causing extensive damage.
- Click a photo of it and run a google image search to know its name. You can search for the images at a few reliable official websites like this.
- Once you are sure of what the insect is and if it invasive and detrimental to your garden, use superior quality measures to control the pest. The control measures can be either physical or chemical or a combination of both.
- If the bugs are just a few in number and can be picked up physically and disposed, either pick them up and throw them or prune away the infested leaf or branch to get rid of them.
- After you get rid of the bugs with physical methods, don’t forget to spray down the entire plant with a neem oil solution to kill any larvae that might be present and deter new bugs from coming in.
- If the bugs have infested your plant and can’t be removed using physical means, chemical methods are the only solution. Use a good quality spray that doesn’t cause harm to the ecosystem. One of the best and most effective pest control methods that doesn’t cause harm to the soil or the plants is neem oil. Use an excellent quality neem oil, like the Ugaoo Neem oil, dilute it as per package instructions and either use it as a spray or use it wipe down the leaves of your plants.
- Preventive measures for pest control in gardening are always better and more effective than curative measures. It is easier to deter pests from making your garden their home than to shoo them away. Spray your plants with a neem oil solution every 15 days to prevent any and every kind of pest infestation.
Here is a list of the best good bugs and the worst bad bugs in your garden.
The Good Bugs
These good bugs do a lot of good things in the garden:
- They eat the bad bugs. The green lacewings can eat up to two hundred or more pests per week, while a ladybug can eat almost five thousand aphids in its lifetime.
- They pollinate fruits, vegetables, crops, and flowers.
- They break down dead material and turn it into usable and nutritional soil components.
There are two types of god bugs for every garden
- Predators: These bugs and their larvae feed on the bad bugs and kill them.
- Parasitoids: These good bugs are smaller than the bad bugs, but they function as parasites by laying eggs on or near bad bugs, the hatching larvae feed on the bad bugs.
Here are some good bugs for the garden:
- Aphid midge: This is a predator; the midge paralyzes and kills aphids with toxic saliva before eating them.
- Green lacewing: This is a predator; both the adult and larvae lacewing eats many pests including caterpillars, whiteflies, aphids, and scale insects.
- Minute pirate bug: They are predator that eat almost any and every garden pest.
- Ladybug: The prettiest garden predator, both its adult and larvae eat mites, mealybugs, and aphids.
Top bad bugs in your garden:
These bugs can wreak havoc in your garden and destroy your well loved and cared for plants and the sooner you get rid of them the better.
- Tobacco/tomato hornworm: It eats through the foliage of the tomato and potato plant family at an alarming rate, defoliating the entire plant in a matter of days.
- Japanese beetle: Eats almost every plant that comes in its way, without any discretion.
- Mealybugs: These white cottony bugs are one of the worst infestations your plants can have. They look pretty harmless for the damage they do; they suck the life out of your plants and spread at an alarming rate and are extremely difficult to get rid of.
- Spider mites: These miniature spiders colonise the plants and kill them, they especially feed upon the young leaves and buds and stunt growth.
- Aphids: Aphids infest plants in colonies, they are soft bodies sucking insects that feed on the plant sap. They are found in large groups on the underside of the leaves.
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