by Kate Hofmann
Some “bugs” are bothersome, but plenty aren’t pests at all. Set off on a quest for the best kinds of bugs—and see who you meet!
What You Need
- insect field guide
- magnifying glass
- sketchbook and pencil (optional)
What You Do
Good bugs are all around. Do you know which ones live in your yard or neighborhood? Grab a field guide to insects and a magnifying glass, and go find out! Here’s what to look for:
- Predator insects, such as lacewings, ladybugs, praying mantises, and ground beetles, which eat the “bad bugs.”
- Parasitic wasps, which lay eggs on certain troublemaking caterpillars and other pests.
- Pollinators such as bees, butterflies and moths.
- Recyclers such as carrion beetles.
Keep a list of what you find. Soon you’ll be an expert on the benefits of bugs!
Want to make your yard or garden a cozier place for good bugs to hang out in? Here are five ideas to share with your family:
- Skip the pesticides. They kill the good guys along with the pests (and aren’t healthy for the environment, people, or pets).
- Plant flowers that provide food for helpful insects. Try herbs such as dill, cilantro, fennel, and parsley, as well as flowers including sweet alyssum, yarrow, lavender, cosmos, zinnias, and sunflowers.
- Aim for variety. Choose lots of different kinds of flowers. That way, there’s a good chance something will be blooming to attract good bugs all season long.
- Provide shelter for good bugs. Trees, shrubs, ground covers, and grasses make safe places to rest. Mulch and stepping stones are nice to hide under.
- Add water. Place some rocks in a saucer and keep it filled with fresh water during dry spells.
Give them a good home, and good bugs will soon be hard at work, helping out in your garden!