Useful bugs – Broomfield Enterprise


As I was growing up, I was regularly told to go outside and play. When we complained that there was nothing to do, my mom reminded me that she could surely find something for me. In this case, the something was usually an unpleasant duty.

As a child, I learned to explore nature in detail. A habit that I still do today. My husband would love to cover a lot while hiking. For me, I want to creep along mindfully and look for what is normally not seen.

I like to look for insects and insects. I find your world curious. Because of this, I pay close attention to the pesky pests we talked about last week, as well as the beneficial insects that help our gardens thrive.

Ladybugs are one of the most widely recognized useful visitors to the garden. The females lay their eggs on the underside of the leaf. The larvae look like little black and orange alligators to me and these little guys can eat.

A single ladybug lays up to 300 eggs per season. In case you’re wondering, yes, there are male ladybugs. All ladybugs are born black and their spots fade as they get older. Ladybugs can eat up to 5,000 aphids in their lifetime. These amazing insects hibernate in winter, much like bears. You can find more interesting facts about ladybugs at

The green lacewing is another regular insect that you will see in the garden. These flying insects have bright green wings, gold eyes, and green bodies. The females lay tiny, elongated eggs on silk threads, which makes them appear floating. Lacewing larvae are similar to ladybug larvae in that they look like alligators, but their coloration is more brown and tan. While ladybugs feed primarily on aphids, lacewings also feed on mealybugs, psyllids, thrips, mites, cicadas and a variety of other garden pests. More information is available at

For me it is a lot of fun to watch the praying mantis. These insects are usually 2 to 4 inches long. They can be yellowish, brown or green. The female lays her eggs in an ootheca, a hard brownish-gray egg sac. You will often find the egg sac attached to wood, bark, or other material. We found one on our deck last year. Mantis like to hang out near flowers and then wait for their prey. They feed on many unwanted pests, but they are not selective and also eat beneficial insects. More information about Mantis can be found at

They’re a slew of assassins that include the milkweed assassin, ambush beetle, wheel beetle, and kiss beetle. These insects are beneficial in your garden too, but they will bite you if you pick them up. You can find more detailed information on bomber bugs at

Other useful insects include predatory wasps and mites, spiders, dwarf bugs, pirate bugs, and hover flies. The latter looks like a bee and a fly have mated. Well, for me anyway. To easily identify these natural pest enemies, download a poster with photos here

Arianna Kelley Rawlsky has an MS in horticulture and is the director of Bringing People and Plants Together, an organization dedicated to providing horticultural education and therapy. For more information: or follow us on Facebook.