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Beneficial Bugs

Most of us see insects as pests and try to get rid of them when we see them. In reality though, these six legged creatures are providing us with many benefits. Without them the world would literally stop working. They play an integral role in the food chain and are food for other animals including birds, reptiles, rodents, and even humans. A food source is not the only benefit they provide though. Many of the beneficial insects are great at pest control, waste management, and pollinating. It is good to have them around. Here is a list of just a few of these beneficial insects.

asian lady beetle
Image credit:UKY.edu

Ladybugs
These bugs have long been used as a natural way to control aphids in our gardens and farms. Aphids are the small, green, soft bodied pests which devour leafy greens. Aphids can quickly infest and destroy entire crops if they are not managed right away. This is where lady bugs come into play. One ladybug can eat up to 50 aphids a day! Set some free in your garden after catching them or buying them at a garden shop. More facts about lady bugs.

Lacewings
Lacewing larvae are also great at controlling aphid infestations. In fact they are so good at taking care of aphid problems that they are known as aphid lions. They really make quick work of any aphids they find. They do not just solely feet on aphids though, they will eat many other pests as well. Some of the other food sources of lacewing larva are spider mites, mealybugs, and insect eggs. More facts about lacewings.

Black Soldier Fly
The larvae of black soldier flies are amazing at waste management. In fact, they are even more powerful composters than worms. They will devour any kind of waste. This includes things that even things worms digest including meat, feces, and grease. You can find these in most compost heaps during our toxic waste into earthy soil. Don’t try to get rid of them, they are doing hard work! In adult form they do not even bother humans, because they do not have any mouths.

Fly Parasites
These small wasps may look menacing, and they are, but not to humans. The reason they are beneficial to us is that they their eggs inside of filth fly pupae (the stage right before maturing into a fly). The filth fly is a common fly that are attracted to animal waste and can spread disease. The wasp’s egg will hatch into larva and consume the fly before it even hatches. These bugs are very aggressive. They’ll control pest fly populations and leave humans alone.

mantis pet
Praying Mantis
Praying mantis may look calm mild mannered, but they are actually very aggressive predators. The reason they are so still is to prevent other insects from noticing them. They stand still and blend in well to leaves and grass. Then when an insect crosses their path they will devour it. They feed on almost any other insect. They can help to eliminate a variety of pests from your garden or yard. The downside is they are so ferocious that they will also eat beneficial bugs. More facts about the praying mantis.