Keeping a vibrant landscape throughout the summer is hard work. Whether it is pruning, watering, or fertilizing, there are numerous activities that are universally known by green thumbs. However, did you know that bugs can be used to keep your landscape looking happy and healthy? The benefits of “good bugs” are numerous. They help eat the “bad bugs”, improve soil conditions by recycling organic matter, and pollinate plants. Below is a list of “good bugs” and how they benefit your landscape.
Ladybugs/Ladybeetles – These types of bugs are especially good for your plants. Both the full grown adults, along with the immature larvae, feed on aphids, scale, thrips, mealybugs, and spider mites.
Lacewing – Lacewing’s are eating machines, especially their larvae. They help your plants by devouring aphids, thrips, mealybugs, scale, leafhoppers, and many other types of insect eggs.
Dragonfly – These beautiful bugs help to keep flying pests at bay. They love to eat mosquitos, flies, and midges.
Ground Beetle – The larvae of these common ground bugs are beneficial for your plants in a number of ways. Not only do they help to aerate the soil, but they also eat ground pests like slugs, root maggots, and cutworms.
Praying Mantis – These bugs are hard to spot, but they are very valuable to your outdoor plants. They are ferocious eaters and will eat both “good” and “bad” bugs. They have even been known to eat other Praying Mantises.
With so many “good” bugs out there, it is important to create the type of environment that lures them in and keeps them happy. One way is to avoid using pesticides. Yes, pesticides work to kill the “bad” bugs, but unfortunately they kill the “good” bugs too. If, but more likely when, the “bad” bugs return, they will not have any predators (“good” bugs) to help control their populations. If you do decide to use pesticides, make sure you understand the risks associated with these chemicals.
Another way to attract “good” bugs is by introducing plants that they like into your landscape. Plants that belong to the carrot family (umbels), the sunflower family (composites), and the mint family (spikes) will all help to attract beneficial bugs to your property. It is also important to plant a wide variety of plants, which will entice a wide variety of bugs. This helps to create an ecosystem that is more resistant to disease and “bad” bugs.
Learning how to identify and promote “good” bugs on your property is an inexpensive way to keep your plants looking good throughout the summer. If you have any questions about your property, feel free to give us a call at (317) 575-1100, or fill out the form below.