Think twice before squashing that bug. You may not realize it, but most of the little critters that make our landscapes and flower gardens home, provide benefits. These beneficial insects help your plants in ways you may not have realized. Maintaining a healthy diversity of insects will lead to a more successful landscape or garden. Here is a breakdown of some good and bad bugs you may find in your landscaping.
Ground beetles are a predator of many plant eating insects such as tent caterpillars and slugs. Soldier beetles prey on aphids and grasshoppers eggs. Making sure there is some plant debris around your landscaping will give these beetles a place to hang out.
Ladybug beetles will eat up to 200 aphids and day. You can keep them in your landscaping by having flowering perennials and planting legumes such as peas, clover, or beans. They are commercially available for purchase to release and fight an aphid outbreak.
The larvae of fireflies or lightning bugs will eat snails, slugs, and mites. Who needs landscape lighting when you can have a swarm of fireflies lighting up your paver patio, right? Okay, maybe it wouldn’t quite work out that way.
The larvae of green lacewings are voracious eaters of aphids, thrips, and mealybugs. Green lacewings are attracted by flowering plants, will help pollinate plants, and you have probably seen them around your landscape if you aren’t spraying pesticides.
Aphids are very small but can destroy or stunt the growth of landscape plants. They reproduce quickly are usually found in groups. The most effective control is having healthy soil and biodiversity in your landscaping.
While most grubs cause no harm to your landscape, grub worms of June bugs will eat plant roots and kill parts of your lawn when those roots are eaten away. Supporting biodiversity in the soil is the best defense against them but you can speed up control by apply pesticides too.
Chinch bugs will feed at the base of leaves, turning irregular shaped patches of grass brown. An infestation can leave behind an ugly looking lawn.
Do you have concerns about what pests might be in your lawn or landscaping? Landscape Associates is a landscape company in Green Bay WI that has landscape maintenance experts on staff that can help.