How to Identify Good and Bad Bugs in Your Garden

For new gardeners, seeing bugs in their garden can cause panic. Often, they try to destroy and eliminate them. However, this should not always be the case. The first course of action should be to identify the bugs you have in the garden. According to some research, we have close to 10 quintillion insects globally, and a massive percentage of them are beneficial to gardens or do not inflict much damage to crops and plants. In fact, some of them are considered to be beneficial insects.

Beneficial Insects

These good bugs provide various advantages to the garden. They are responsible for making some of the crops healthy enough to produce flowers. As much as 75% of crops rely on bugs to distribute their pollen. Butterflies, moths, bees, and beetles help in the plant pollination process.

Some insects are also responsible for breaking down materials and aerating the soil so the plants can remain healthy. Ladybird beetles and lacewings are often distributed in greenhouses to reduce the number of harmful pests to keep the balance.

Given this information, how do you manage insects and identify whether they are good or bad for your garden?

Getting to Know the Good and the Bad Bugs

Ladybugs and beetles are easy to spot. But, what do you do when you come across a “stranger” bug inside your garden? Here’s how you can identify them:

Observe Its Behavior

When you come across a new insect in your greenhouse, before you do anything, take the time to observe it first. Take a picture if you have a camera available. Observe if the bug is eating. Check what it is eating and if it causes any damage to your plants. If it does, then it is most likely a pest. If you notice that a particular plant has a congregation of insects, then it could mean that the parasite is infesting your garden.

Do Your Research

If you took a picture of the bug, do your research on it. Compare your photos with those that you can find online. Various sites can help you identify if these bugs are indeed pests or beneficial insects. Some of the sites you can visit include the Agricultural Research Service Image Gallery and The Bugwood Insect Images. You can also search for several entomology galleries maintained by universities to help you in insect identification.

Should your research confirm that you have an invasive pest in your garden, contact your local agricultural agent to identify the insect.

Control the Spread

Once you have identified that the insect is bad for the garden, you should find ways to control its spread. It should be done the earliest time possible to ensure that it does not affect the rest of your plants.

There are times when you feel like beneficial pests like wasps are a pest, especially when they have created their home in your garden. Wasps can be territorial and may attack when approached. They should be taken care of by experts like Corpus Christi wasp exterminator so they cannot cause harm to anyone in the garden.

The Bad Bugs

Some of the bad bugs that you should immediately remove from your garden are as follows:

  • Scales
  • Japanese beetles
  • Mexican bean beetles
  • Flea beetles
  • Colorado potato beetles
  • Cutworms
  • Aphids
  • Cabbage maggot
  • Caterpillars
  • Tarnished plant bug

Final Thoughts

Maintaining a garden involves carefully minding the soil and checking for any bugs that may affect plant growth, especially if you plan to have a self-sustaining garden. Removing the bad bugs should be carefully done, so you don’t accidentally kill the good ones that are beneficial for your plants.
Amelia
 

Amelia Robinson is a lover of plants and gardens, as well as an educator on this topic. It’s her goal to make sure that you get the chance to learn what you need to about gardening to succeed with your own home garden at the blog RobinsonLovePlants.com. You’re not going to find just a collection of basic articles about gardening here. Instead, she wants to answer the difficult questions for you. She tweets at @robinsonplants

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