Helpful and harmful insects

Metro Service
Butterflies and other helpful insects such as bees pollinate flowers and can keep dangerous pests at bay in the garden.

■ Newsroom

Although it’s virtually impossible to count them, insects are the most diverse group of organisms on the planet. Nine hundred thousand different kinds of insects are known to exist. At any given time, it is estimated that there are around 10 quintillion individual insects living.
Gardeners grow frustrated when seeing their gardens infested with insects. In an effort to restore their gardens, homeowners might be tempted to eradicate any bug that moves in their yards. But gardeners would be wise to first learn which insects can hurt their gardens and which can actually help gardens in the long run.

Harmful insects
Certain insects can be dangerous to animals and plants. These insects can threaten the vitality of gardens.
Aphids: These insects suck on the juice needed to sustain plants, particularly when they congregate.
Bald-faced hornet: Hornets tend to be an aggressive species that can sting repeatedly. Should you find a nest near an entertaining space or garden, it can cause trouble.
Carpenter ants: These ants will burrow into wood, causing damage. They may compromise any wooden structure in and around a home.
Caterpillars: Many caterpillars, the precursor to adult moths, will feed constantly on leaves, stems and other parts of plants. The tobacco hornworm moth caterpillar can damage potato and tomato plants.
Grasshoppers: Certain grasshoppers, like the red-legged grasshopper, can decimate food crops and transfer parasites to birds when eaten as prey.
Locusts: Various species of locust can damage plants and crops due to their voracious appetites.
Red pavement ant: As they feed on all manner of human food, these ants can quickly overtake areas with their staggering numbers and deliver painful bites.
Treehoppers: These small, green insects mimic the look of leaves, and their appetites can affect crops and gardens.

Helpful insects
Plants depend on insects to transfer pollen as they forage, and many insects are quite beneficial in one’s garden. While some pollinate, others are predators of other pests.
Antlion: A foe of ants, they’ll help eat and control ant populations and pollinate flowers. They pose no threat to humans, either.
Bees and butterflies: Butterflies and bees are some of the best pollinators out there, and each can add whimsy to gardens.
Big dipper firefly: These colorful insects feast on earthworms, slugs and snails during the larval stage. Fireflies add drama to evening gardens with their twinkling lights.
Blue-winged wasp: This wasp attacks the larvae of Japanese beetles, helping to control beetle populations.
Dragonflies: These aerial artists that zip around the yard are consuming smaller insects that would otherwise pester plants and humans.
Garden spiders: Although some spiders can be venomous, many are quite handy to have around the garden. They’ll help control pest populations that can damage plants and crops. MS

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *