Most people’s initial reaction to finding an insect resembling a pest in a garden would probably eliminate the harmful bug. However, these bugs aren’t always harmful.
Believe it or not, but 97% of insects benefit humans and the environment. Sadly, they are usually confused with harmful pests, and they suffer the consequence. Regardless, there are also a lot of harmful pests out there. Fortunately, there are ways to differentiate between good and bad pests.
Read on to learn about the contrasts between each pest, so the next time you see one in your lawn or garden, you’ll know when or not to kill it.
What Makes A Pest Good?
Pests or insects are considered good and beneficial when they fulfill important roles in the environment through:
- Eating harmful insects
- Nurturing wildlife
- Soil aeration
- Producing products that humans benefit from
- Breaking down waste and dead materials
These pests protect our lawns and gardens from harmful insects, help in aerating our soil, and pollinate our plants. Keeping them is an essential part of improving your lawn and garden, as well as the environment.
The Difference Between Good and Bad Pests
Good pests aerate the soil and pollinate plants, while bad pests eat and kill plants, invade homes, and destroy lawns and gardens.
To fully understand the difference, here’s an in-depth explanation about good and bad pests, including specific examples for each.
Good Pests have two main types: parasitoids and predators. Predators feed on pests and eliminate them from your garden, while parasitoids feed on host pests bigger than them. They will lay their eggs around harmful pests and feeds on them once they hatched.
Examples of good pests are:
These insects are some of the greatest environmental pollinators. They pollinate about $15 billion in crops in the U.S. annually.
These pretty insects help in pollinating flowers.
These predatory ladybugs eat the harmful aphids.
- Minute Pirate Bug
Minute pirate bugs eat whatever harmful pest they find.
- Green Lacewing
The Green Lacewing is a predatory insect that eats caterpillars, whiteflies,
- Aphids, and scale.
- Aphid Midge
With its name, you can probably guess that this insect devours aphids.
As said before, 97% of insects are good and beneficial, which means the remaining 3% are harmful to our lawns and environment.
Here are some examples of bad pests:
Known as the deadliest insects globally, mosquitoes are known vectors of yellow fever, Dengue, Malaria, and more life-threatening diseases.
Wasps, unlike honeybees, are less likely to pollinate our environment. They also have painful stings that can threaten the lives of people with severe allergies.
These pests feed on wet mulch and destroy yards. They also destroy the walls of your homes by using the garden as a gateway to get through.
These bad pests suck the plants of their nutrients and create a substance that draws ants.
- Tomato Hornworm
The tomato hornworm not only defoliates tomato plants but also destroys potatoes.
- Stink Bug
Aside from their stinky smell, these bugs also feast on fruits and vegetables.
- Japanese Beetle
This insect has no preference when it comes to plants and just devours everything it finds.
Ways To Identify Good and Bad Pests
If you don’t have ample knowledge of the different types of pests, you might find it difficult to identify each of them. Take a look at these ways to determine which pest is which:
The first point of identifying the good and bad pests is by educating yourself on those that can be commonly found in your area. Accustom yourself to the appearances of each pest, taking into consideration the way their larvae look.
You might mistake a beneficial pest’s larvae for a harmful one which would be the worst thing to do. So get to know these insects as well as their larvae.
The next thing to do is to observe the pests living in your lawn or garden. Keep notes of the way they look, what they’re doing, and their numbers. Multiple pests may signify infestation, so it’s crucial to know how many of them are there.
After you have learned about and observed the insects, you should now have the ability to identify those around you. With this, you can look for the best way to control their population or take the steps of eradicating them from your home.
If you can’t identify which insects are in your lawn and garden, you can contact a pest professional. As experts, they will easily identify if the pests are good or bad and recommend the necessary follow-up steps. Try to take a photo of the pest to help the pest expert recognize what exactly it is you have to deal with.