Insects are widely regarded as pests in virtually any situation. Whether they are getting into your home, ravaging your garden, or generally making life unpleasant, pretty much everybody does whatever they can to keep the bugs away. However, not all bugs are actually bad for your property, and several misunderstood species are actually beneficial. In fact, these insects do great work keeping your garden healthy, your home protected from other obnoxious pests, and others are even crucial for the environment around us as well. In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at four types of bugs that many people see as pests but that are actually beneficial in many ways.
Perhaps the greatest and most well-known example of a misunderstood insect is the bee. Bees are seen by many as menaces that possess harmful stingers. Their venom can trigger allergic reactions that can be fatal or life-threatening for some, demanding fast access to an epi-pen. However, the messaging about just how vital bees are to our environment has spread over the last several years, and today more and more people understand just how important these small, flying creatures are to our environment. And that’s a good thing when you consider how fast bees are actually dying out.
Bees are crucial because they are pollinators. They eat flower pollen, but in doing so they carry bits of pollen from plant to plant. They then deposit this pollen into flowers, spreading it over a wider area. This fertilizes plant seeds, which in turn allows plants to produce fertilized seeds that will actually reproduce into another plant. As nature cycles, these new seeds will turn into new plants that will provide more pollen for the bees, and so on and so forth. Plants are also crucial for our environment, as they convert carbon dioxide into oxygen through the photosynthesis process, giving us an environment we can breathe. So if you see bees buzzing through your flower bed, leave them to their business. They’re actually helping your garden grow.
Ladybugs are often seen as one of the more adorable bug species. Their bright-red shells with black spots make them attractive to the eye, and their small size means they can show up in a lot of places where you don’t expect them. Likewise, they do not bite, and are fairly easy to handle, making them popular with children. While there is a rumor floating around that ladybugs eat plants, this actually isn’t true at all.
Contrary to their name that implies a docile nature, ladybugs are actually vicious and ferocious predators! These bugs feast on aphids—small, soft-shelled bugs that can swarm a garden by the thousands, killing plants by sucking the juices out of them. The aphids are the ones that damage your garden, and a single adult ladybug can eat up to 40 aphids in a single hour! They are so effective at alleviating this problem that you can actually buy tubs of ladybugs at a lot of specialized nurseries so you can release them into your garden in order to protect it.
Spiders are unsightly, tend to show up where you don’t want them to, and some can cause serious problems with painful, venomous bites. However, spiders are not all bad—spiders on the outside of your home actually help with pest control! Spiders are trap-hunters, and their webs are designed to capture an unsuspecting bug and hold it in place like a net. The spider then rushes down, injects its catch with venom, and drains it of its blood as a feast. What do spiders eat? Flies and mosquitos are common delicacies. So, believe it or not, the spiders in your yard are actually helping with your mosquito control efforts.
Like the ladybug, the praying mantis is also an accomplished and prolific hunter, only their prey tends to be a little larger than the smallest bugs that inhabit your garden. Praying mantises prey on some of the larger garden pests you might find, including grasshoppers, moths, beetles, flies, and even cicadas (which are often quite a bit larger than they are!). However, as much as a praying mantis is beneficial for keeping plant-consuming pests away, they are equally vicious against other species as well. Mantises have been known to attack butterflies, bees, and even each other!Sick of dealing with a pest problem in your home or garden? Call Hopper Termite & Pest at (479) 332-3745 today!