Beneficial Bugs December 18, 2014 Growing Tips Today we’re going to wrap up our posts on pest series telling you about a few insects that can be beneficial to your garden and how. Bees Most everybody knows from school that bees pollinate flowers. This phenomenon in nature is actually an “accident” that occurs while bees are gathering and feeding on pollen for personal needs. In doing so they will unintentionally move pollen from the anther (male part) of a flowering plant to the stigma (female part) of another plant triggering the ability for the plant to fertilize and reproduce. There are some 20,000 species of bees in the world and nearly 5,000 of them reside in North America. Sadly we are killing off nature’s little gardeners with pesticides and other environmental pollutants (Read more about this here : CCD ). Yellow Jackets A close relative to the bees, yellow jackets and hornets are a children’s worst nightmare, but what they don’t tell you is that these nasty fliers hunt in foliage and take away flies, spiders and caterpillars amongst other larvae to feed their young. Hornets keep the insect population in check as well as help pollinate like the bees so please do your best to leave them undisturbed unless they are in a high traffic areas around people or pets. Your garden will benefit and so will ours. Flies Most people see flies as pests, some of which are, but others such as Tachinid flies and Aphid Midges are hugely beneficial insects for gardeners, from your front yard garden to a farmer’s biggest crop. Tachinids are large and dark gray flies that place their parasitic eggs on larvae and in doing so help to suppress outbreaks of caterpillars and armyworms while Aphid Midges are named for their diet and are often store bought to control pests in greenhouse environments. Spiders and Mites Although nobody wants to hear it, yes, spiders are one of the most beneficial critters you can have in your garden. They will hunt and eat any variety of pests that may plague your garden. But if you can’t handle the spider maybe you wouldn’t mind having some of their arachnid cousins, the mites. Predatory mites are available at garden supply shops and online and can help wipe out pesky pest outbreaks. Not only do mites pose less risk to people, they are also much smaller and don’t leave webs hanging around your garden for you to stumble into later. Encouraging beneficial insects is probably one of the cheapest, most environmentally friendly and fun ways to help prevent pests and protect your crops or decorative plants. Did you enjoy our series on Natural Pesticides? Let us know on our facebook and twitter! Watch for next week’s posts as we start a new series. Until then, happy gardening! Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.