Any pest control company, and by extension its blog, tends to spend a lot of time talking about how to kill bugs. In fact, we talk about little else. But an equally important part of responsible pest management is knowing what isn’t a pest. Depending on the circumstances, practically every member of the animal kingdom can be a pest, but many of them, so long as they stay outside, can be quite helpful.
Here are five “bugs,” in no particular order, that you might actually want around your home or in the garden:
- Lacewing Larvae eat aphids and caterpillars, among other pests. Adults have large, veined wings and feed on flower nectar.
- Lady Beetles, often called lady bugs, feed on aphids, mites, and mealybugs. There are more than 400 species of lady beetle in North America. You can attract them by planting a number of herbs, including dill and fennel, though any flower nectar and pollen will help to attract them.
- Ground Beetles feed on slugs, snails, and a variety of pests’ larvae. You can attract them by providing shelter in the form of stones or pieces of wood, under which they’ll hide.
- Spiders aren’t bugs, nor are they insects, but they belong on this list. Every species of spider feeds on insects. The most dangerous spiders — the black widow and the brown recluse — are rarely found in garden areas. Pictured is the intimidating, yet harmless, garden spider, but any kind of spider will devour pests. However, they’ll also feed on the beneficial insects already mentioned.
- Praying Mantis are perfectly camouflaged by many garden plants, and feed on many pests. Unfortunately, they also feed on beneficial insects. They’ll even feed on each other. For more on these large predators, check out our recent post about them.