Before you yell “Ew!” and run away, give some bugs a second look! These 10 bugs are good for your greens, also known as “beneficials,” and can be used in place of harmful pesticides. Check out this list of your greatest allies in the garden:
1. Damsel Bugs eat pests like aphids, caterpillars, leafhoppers, and thrips. They can be found in alfalfa fields.
2. Ground Beetles eat slugs, snails, cutworms, and cabbage maggots. They are drawn to perennials and white clover.
3. Ladybugs eat aphids, mites, and mealybugs. They are drawn to angelica, coreopsis, dill, fennel, and yarrow.
4. Lacewing larvae eat aphids, caterpillars, mealybugs, leafhoppers, insect eggs, and whiteflies. They are drawn to flowering plants.
5. Hoverflies lay their eggs on pests like aphids, which then hatch and devour their host. They are drawn to flowering plants.
6. Parasitic Wasps kill a variety of caterpillars and even aphids. In some cases the wasps lay their eggs INSIDE the caterpillar eggs; the wasp eggs then take over and destroy the would-be caterpillars. Other times the wasps will lay their eggs on top of or inside grown caterpillars, then the eggs hatch and destroy the host.
7. Garden-dwelling, non-poisonous spiders pray on pesty insects and are drawn to perennials and straw mulch.
8. Dragonflies eat mosquitoes, aphids, and other pests. They are drawn to wet landscapes like marshes and ponds.
9. Bees do not feed on pests but do help your garden by pollinating your flowers!
10. Praying Mantis will eat any other bug, but beware–it may eat good bugs to, so invite into your garden with caution!