Top Ten Beneficial Garden Insects

Gardens, in every shape and size are filled with bugs of many types. They range from aphids to slugs. While it is in our nature to get rid of bugs, it might be an idea to take a close look at them. Some of them are actually beneficial to your garden and keep the insect population in check. So next time you see one insect eating your tomatoes, remember that another insect is ready to feed on him!

Here are ten beneficial bugs you might find in your garden.

1. Assassin Bugs

These bugs really know how to do their job! They will use any means necessary to get a meal. They have a diet which consists of eating everything from beetles to caterpillars. They are not at all fussy in their choice of foods! Actually they are fun to watch but care should be taken as they can and will bite!

assasin bug

2. Green Lacewings

The larvae of the beautiful adult lacewing is extremely voracious in their eating habits. Their favorite food is aphids and they will absolutely devour them. They seek soft bodied prey and will stab them using their pointed mandibles. They have the well deserved nickname of ‘aphid lions’ which describes their eating habits. The adults feed on pollen and nectar.

green lacewings

3. Lady Beetles

Lady beetles are a great favorite of most people especially children. Gardeners have a special appreciation for them as their diet consists of aphids, thrips, mealy bugs and mites. These fall into the category of pests that gardeners dislike so lady beetles serve a very useful purpose. Both the adult and the larvae feed on pests so you have a double attack here!

lady beetle

4. Minute Pirate Bugs

These bugs are exactly as the name says. They are minute, so small you don’t even know they are in your garden! They might only measure up to 1/16th of an inch but they will eat aphids, mites and thrips and enjoy them! For their size they can eat an enormous amount. You will need to look really hard for them, the adults have black bodies with a white chevron on the back.

minutepiratebug15. Preying Mantis

You will need a good eye to spot these insects in your garden, their skill is in blending in with the background. They can eat even the largest bugs in the garden and occasionally the they will even eat their siblings. They also eat lady beetles and caterpillars, and live in shady areas of your garden and blend in so that they are not visible to their prey.

praying mantis

6. Damsel Bugs

Damsel bugs are blessed with thick front legs with which to grab their prey. Their diet is mainly aphids, leafhoppers and other soft bodied insects. The females will also eat small insects and their eggs. They are a dull brown color and blend well into the surroundings. While they might look similar to Assassin bugs, they are somewhat smaller.

damsel bug

7. Big Eyed Bugs

Large bulging eyes are what distinguishes this bug from other bugs. Similar to other bugs they have an oval shaped body and are a little on the flat side. They are quite small and might only reach 1/8th of an inch in length. However despite their smallness, they have very good appetites when it comes to mites, aphids and any insect eggs.

big eyed bugs

8. Predatory Stink Bugs

These can be easily identified by their shield shaped bodies and of course the noxious odour they give off when disturbed. Although they are actually a plant pest, they do also keep other bugs in check. The spined soldier bug feeds on caterpillars, and while they eat almost anything, they do like lady beetles. They will even eat their own kind if hungry.

predatory stink bug

9. Syrphid Flies

These insects with their bright markings often resemble bees. They are also yellow and black and they have two wings. The maggots make their way onto garden foliage in search of aphids to eat. They are good at hunting them out in curled up leaves where they hide. Additionally, the adults will pollinate your flowers. Sometimes they are called hover flies. As the name indicates, you will see them hovering over your flowers.

syrphid fly

10. Ground Beetles

Most likely when you lift a stone in your garden you will see one of these scuttling away. The adults are dark colored with a metallic sheen to them. The larvae develop deep in the ground and eat root maggots, cutworms and other insects that live under the soil. Very few of them venture into the daylight but a few will hunt for caterpillars and insect eggs.

ground beetle

Source: About Education