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How to Tell the Good Bugs from the Bad

How to Tell the Good Bugs from the Bad

How to Tell the Good Bugs from the Bad
If you don’t really have the stomach for something creepy crawly, your first instinct might be to swat the bug that’s in your space. But what if there’s such a thing as good bugs and bad bugs? Would it surprise you to know that a good 90% of insects are actually harmless and some are even helpful? Here’s how you can tell the difference between good bugs and bad and which ones can be advantageous in your yard and in your garden!

“Good” Insects

As it stands in the natural kingdom, there aren’t really good or bad insects as everything has a function towards sustaining a thriving ecosystem. To us, however, there are insects that are pests and insects that are beneficial. To determine the useful insects, there’s an easy way you can categorize them – “good” insects are either predators, pollinators or parasitoids.

Predators do exactly as they sound and hunt down the pests in your garden, yard or home for food. Think ladybugs, lacewing flies, damselflies, or assassin bugs. These predators prey on pests like aphids, mealy bugs, spider mites, whiteflies or cabbage worms.

Pollinators are our friends, they encourage biodiversity and are some of the most helpful insects as they pollinate so much of our food. Vegetables and fruits and other crops are possible because of our hardworking pollinators. Honeybees are the most well-known, but moths, butterflies, wasps, mason bees and so many other varieties of bees are responsible for the pollination process.

Parasitoids are insects that take over or lay eggs in the host body of a “bad” insect and therefore cause the demise of the host insect. An example would be parasitic wasps that can attack hundreds of potential pests such as scales, caterpillars, beetle larvae, or aphids.

“Bad” Insects

These are the insects that can decimate your garden, trees, crops or yard and can infest your home. In the garden, creepy crawlers like tomato hornworms, aphids, cabbage loopers and many species of beetles can lay waste to your veggies and fruits. Stink bugs can take out decorative plants, fruit trees like peaches or apples and vegetables like peppers and tomatoes. Earwigs destroy lettuce crops and love to invade crawl spaces and basements whereas Japanese Beetles will demolish flowers, plants and grass, leaving nothing but stripped tatters.

Keep in mind that there really isn’t such a thing as a good bug or a bad bug, it’s just how helpful it can be to us directly or how annoying they are. Biodiversity is essential for a healthy ecosystem and that includes pesky pests like mosquitoes and hornets and pine beetles. Attract the good bugs to your home by planting their favourite flowers and plant life, but for all those bad bugs, we’re here to help. Give us a call at 403.262.1666 if you’re dealing with a case of bad bugs!