It may surprise you to learn that of all the insects inhabiting your home landscape, fewer than 5% are considered to be pest insects. By far, most of the bugs, beetles, and flies calling your yard home are either beneficial to your ecosystem or are benign and cause no harm. What is also somewhat astounding is that in a healthy ecosystem, 80% of the pest insects that visit your yard will be killed within months either by weather, by song birds, or by beneficial insects.
Beneficial insects will kill pest insects, eat pest insects eggs and larvae, and generally keep any pest insect population in control.
Beneficial insects such as bees and butterflies are pollinators, making it possible for your plants to produce fruits, seeds, and nuts.
Beneficial insects are decomposers, helping to turn the organic matter in your yard into valuable compost.
Many beneficial insects emerge later in the season than the enemy pest insects do. Consequently, yardeners may notice a bit more pest problems early in the season than they do later, when the beneficials have arrived. Try not to succumb to the temptation to eradicate all insect pests immediately. To do so would be to deny the beneficial insects their food supply, and they will only stay in your yard and police it if there is something for them to eat.
Avoid Broad Spectrum Insecticides - If you use any form of broad spectrum insecticide that is designed to kill all insects it contacts, then you are killing off more good guys than bad buys. And once the good guys are gone, the bad guys can move in and take over a yard in a very short time.
Attract Beneficials When You Can - In this section of Yardener's Helper we describe some of the most common and easy to see beneficial insects inhabiting a home ecosystem. In many cases, you can take steps to attract more of these helpful critters. It may involve selecting certain plants that are attractive, or maybe providing water. In any case, here we help you understand how powerful this crew of good bugs can be and how important it is to protect them.