A ‘buggy experience’ of useful panorama bugs


I often praise the benefits of “bugs” in the landscape and urge readers to make them work without DBP (death from pesticides). A few years ago I put together a humble “foundation” on some of the many beneficial insects that work for us alongside the much-lauded honey and bumblebees and butterflies. I repeat now that there are many – each made for their own duty in our world. Let’s give them a chance! This is a heavily marginalized list of the most popular area BBs (beneficial bugs), starting with the short-lived lacewing. Lacewing: Adult lacewings feed on nectar and pollen, thus serving as pollinators while they are self-feeding. A bonus is their predatory larvae, nicknamed the “aphid lion” for eating aphids, although they also eat small caterpillars and other pests. Both are pictured above, the larval picture proves that really ugly looking things are really very useful!

Dragonflies: Well-known dragonfly larvae are aquatic and feed on fly and mosquito larvae in their birth pond (or lake, bog, or other calm body of water). As a winged adult, they wander around indiscriminately, looking for flying pests that they snap right out of the air. Close cousins ​​are damselflies, darters and skimmers, some of them in bright red and / or blue tones.

Wasps: Nectar and pollen lovers – and ignorant pollinators, many wasp species also feed on other insects. Large species such as paper wasps, yellow vests and hornets paralyze caterpillars and other prey with one sting and transport them back to their nests to eat. Tiny Trichogramma wasps – often seen in a pollen-filled flower – not only pollinate, but also parasitize moth eggs. Braconid wasps lay eggs on live caterpillars such as tent worms and some large beetle larvae.

Flies and Mosquitoes: Often viewed as pests, many species help control other pests. The larvae of nectar-eating hoverflies and predatory mosquitoes feed on aphids. Tachnid flies lay their eggs like braconid wasps on living caterpillars, maggots or beetles.

Mantis: The well-known large green Chinese praying mantis is a long-time Asian import, but should be welcomed as an effective pest control by impaling and consuming pests while held in their strong spiky forelegs. Smaller mantis are deadly as well. While waiting to ambush prey, they keep their legs in a position that reminded early naturalists of praying hands and thus coined their common name.

Beetles: Some beetles are considered pests themselves, but many are voracious predators – like the popular “ladybird” or ladybird. They feed on small, soft prey such as aphids, even if they are still larvae themselves. Hundreds of other beetles – most useful – include tiger beetles, soldier beetles, ground beetles, all of which patrol the countryside day and night.

Bedbugs: True bedbugs are generally of the order Hemiptera (half-winged) per se, which are the only insects correctly referred to as “bedbugs”. These include assassins, predatory sting bugs, pirate bugs, and ambush bugs, and they are constantly on pest patrol. They impale their victims with a hollow, spear-like mouthpiece and suck out the fluids.

Spiders: Arachnids are not beetles or even insects, but they are important predators of pests. In general, they are prone to sticky webs that allow them to catch prey, like the bright black and yellow garden spider, some like jumping spiders and wolf spiders actively stalking the garden, waiting to pounce on unwary insects. Give this valuable workforce a chance! How to start them.

As you have seen, many beneficial insects feed on nectar or pollen. Make sure you have a variety of flowering plants to attract them. Colorful and / or fragrant flowers attract them and, as many of them need protection, offer hiding places. Ornamental grasses, leaf mulch, brush piles, perennials and flowering shrubs can be the answer. Other pals may show up and surprise you – toads, tiny salamanders (be careful, they snuggle under leaves!) And our pretty black and yellow garden snake – all good guys and a blessing for your garden!

Broad spectrum insecticides and / or herbicides kill beneficial insects, so don’t use them. Pull weeds and kill unwanted insects by hand and work with Mom Nature for a real natural garden brimming with vibrant life.

Valle Novak writes the Country Chef and Weekend Gardener columns for the Daily Bee. She can be reached at bcdailybee@bonnercountydailybee.com. or by phone at 208-265-4688 between 8:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.