When it comes to our home gardens, we often feel like it’s us against the insect world. We are lone warriors fighting a battle against a well-trained military force of insect pests. What you may not know is that there is help out there, although it comes from what may seem an unlikely place. Some of those insects that you may spot in your garden are actually on your side, willing to join forces with you to fight against the insect pests that seek to destroy your precious plants. These insect predators are only too happy to act as loyal guardians of your garden.
Who can resist smiling at the sight of the bright, happy colors of the red and black ladybug? They bring back cherished memories from childhood of catching them and watching as they trustingly meandered across the palm of our hand. You might be surprised then to discover that these seemingly sweet bugs are voracious predators of plant-eating insect pests such as aphids. Ladybugs will lay hundreds of eggs near the colonies of these insect pests, which are immediately devoured by the larvae after they hatch.
The praying mantis is an insect predator that every gardener should have in their arsenal. These bugs will gobble up just about any insect they find in their vicinity. Unfortunately, this indiscriminate palate also means they will also eat beneficial insects as well as the insects destroying your garden. If you see these guys in your garden, you’ll want to take note of where they hang out and what kind of insects they’re eating in order to decide whether they are being helpful getting rid of the pests or harmful by eating other beneficial insects.
Do you have ladybugs or praying mantises in your garden? Do you think they are helpful insects to have around?