Why Not All Insects Are Actually Harmful to Your Plants July 08 2022
Insects are often seen as pests, especially in your garden. And while there definitely are many that can give a plant lover a headache, the truth is not all insects are actually that bad. In fact, some insects may even help you with your pest problems.
One great example of insects that help your garden thrive is ladybugs, which are small red and black insects with dots. These are beneficial insects and will help control aphids. These are small but hard-working insects that will eat your plant pests. They are also highly beneficial and are used as biological control agents. In fact, they even help the natural environment.
However, some ladybugs are either native or introduced by humans to help control pests. In fact, hundreds of ladybugs are bought and released or sold as biocontrol agents. While these insects do not harm your plants, you need to be aware of these things when releasing them into your garden.
Lacewings are also wonderful insects that eat pests for your plants. These are medium-sized green or brown winged insects with lacy wings. It is because of the large brown eyespots on its wings that they are also known as the “mother of pearl” or “mirror” insects. These insects help with aphid control.
However, you should be wary not to release these lacewings as they can also eat beneficial insects such as pollinators, honeybees, and ladybugs.
Syrphid flies are another beneficial insect that eats pests for your plants. These flies have a very long proboscis which they use to suck nectar from flowers. These are small brown and yellow insects with large wings. They have four long, narrow wings and their upper wings have a pattern of black and brown stripes on a yellow background.
These flies feed on aphids that have damaged your plants. They are known for their “hovering” behavior. While they will bite if disturbed, it is mild and less painful compared to the bite of honeybees.
Mites are also beneficial insects that eat pests for your plants. In fact, they are one of the most common predators of aphids in the garden. These have been used as biocontrol agents for the control of mites in greenhouses, vegetable and flower nurseries, and food processing plants. These are good insects to have in your garden.
However, some mites do not eat pests but instead cause plant galls. These are when mites inject salivary secretions into the plant, altering the growth of the leaves and stems.
Lastly, there are ladybug beetles. While not the same as ladybugs, these are also beneficial insects that eat pests for your plants. These are brown, oval, or “shield-shaped” beetles that are about 0.25 inches long with a pattern of black markings on the wing covers. They are also known to eat aphids and thus, are a great addition to your garden.
Insects are not all bad for your plants. In fact, there are some that can actually help you with your pest problems. Ladybugs, lacewings, syrphid flies, and predatory mites are all great insects that eat pests for your plants. Some of these insects, however, may also eat beneficial insects such as bees, ladybugs, and other pollinators, which is why you should always use caution when releasing them.
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