I love insects, ever since I was very young, insects have been a long lasting interest to me. At one time I thought about becoming an Entomologist and then I discovered art and science took a back seat to that. At one time my friends called me Creepy Crawler for my interest and knowledge of bugs, as they called them, they were all freaked by insects and spiders in some fashion.
Many people are freaked out by insects and spiders but 99% of insects are benign or beneficial and are an important part of any healthy environment.
First, a lot of insects are pollinators, and some are specific pollinators of specific plants. We know the honey bee is a great pollinator but did you know there are 3500 species of native bees in the United States so the introduced European Honey Bee we all know and love is not the only important bee pollinator in our country.
Many other types of insects are pollinators too. Over 15 billion dollars of food must be pollinated by some type of insect pollinator every year and many of them are the native insect species of bees, butterflies, flies and beetles.
Many insects are also beneficial because they are insect predators that kill harmful insects that can ruin a food crop if left unchecked. Many insect predators are killers in the larvae stage and others are predators in the adult stage of life. Spiders are the best bug killers ever, their whole life is based on trapping bugs anywhere they can climb or anywhere they can build a web. Some spiders are hunters who jump on their prey, some hide under trap doors and one type of spider can throw a web out at a passing bug.
So it is really a better idea to attract insects outside more than to just spray, smash or electrocuting them because the whole idea of flowers is about attracting pollinators to help create fruit, vegetables and seeds. So, to help your plants you gotta have bugs!
One of the ways to attract beneficial insects is to create a diverse environment in your yard and garden areas. Intersperse your plants with each other, don't create a mono-culture in one large area. Mix flowers with vegetable plants in your garden. And leave some weed plants on the edges of your property. Many weed plants are a natural source of food for insects during their larvae stage and adults lay eggs specifically on those weeds.
Here is a just a small list of some of the beneficial insects that come to your yard and garden.
True Bugs- Assassin bugs, Big-eyed bugs, minute pirate bugs, damsel bugs and 35 species of predatory stink bug.
True Flies - Robber flies, Hoverflies, flower flies, syphrid flies, tachinid flies.
Predatory Beetles - Fireflies, ground beetles, ladybugs, rove beetles, soldier beetles, tiger beetles.
Predatory Wasps - 1700+ species of brachonid wasps, chalcid wasps, Ichneumon wasps.
Dragonflies and damselflies, lacewings, praying mantids are all good predators of other bugs.
And of course our super bug predator, the spider, we have over 3000 species of spiders in North America.
So learn more about the insects in your areas, find out which ones are beneficial and why and plant for more bugs living in your environment. They aren't that bad to have around.
Oh, except for the ants, It seems all of Western Pennsylvania is having an ant invasion in houses here. The big and little ones are coming into bathrooms and kitchens up and down the state.
I also caught two parasitic wasps in the house and released them outside where they belong. I just have to catch the jumping spider that lives somewhere in our window seat.
Bugs, gotta love em or hide from them, they are legion.
Now, can you name any bugs in the photos and do you know if they are good or bad?