Got Good Bugs?By Kate Hofmann
It’s true, 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!
Good bugs are all around. Do you know which ones live in your yard or neighborhood? Grab a magnifying glass and a field guide to insects, 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 in certain troublesome 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? Share these ideas with your family:
- Skip the pesticides. They kill the good guys along with the pests. And they 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. These “good bugs” also feed on native flowers such as coneflowers, milkweed, goldenrod, and bee balm.
- Aim for variety. Choose lots of different kinds of flowers that bloom at different times. That way, you’ll attract good bugs all season long.
- Provide shelter. Trees, shrubs, ground covers, and native grasses make safe places for bugs to rest in. 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. The rocks make good places to rest while taking a sip.
Give them a good home, and good bugs will soon be hard at work, helping out in your garden!