Good Guys On The Ground

There are dozens of bugs and beetles living in any healthy home landscape. A few of them, if they become to populace, can become a problem. Japanese beetles, flea beetles, and Mexican bean beetles come to mind. Most of the bugs and beetles in any yard are either benign and do no one any harm or are predators of those few pest bugs and beetles. The five beneficial bugs and beetles described in this tip sheet are perhaps the most common in all parts of the country and are credited with being among the most effective predators of pest insects.

You should not assume that all of these good guys are in fact present on your property. Just as with the songbirds, beneficial insects need food, cover, and water. If you cut your lawn shorter than 2 inches, you have few bugs and beetles in the lawn. If you have bare soil under trees, shrubs, and hedges, you have few bugs. If you have only a few plants besides the lawn, you do not have a variety of insects. On the other hand, when the lawn is thick and mowed high, when there is mulch under all the trees, shrubs, and hedges, and when you have a number of different trees, shrubs, and flowers, you will have bugs. The only other thing you need to do is put out shallow pans filled with gravel in out of sight out-of-the-way spots in the yard. Usually the rain will keep them filled, but if there is a long dry spell. You need to keep them filled with water.

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