Not All Insects Are Harmful

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Think before you spray!

Many beginner gardeners panic at the sight of the least insect. A common attitude is “Quick! Where is the most powerful insecticide I can find to blast that bug to smithereens?”

The wise gardener takes a few minutes to look over the situation. After all, the vast majority of insects are either innocuous or somewhat to very useful. Only about 10% are actually harmful in any way. Before you start to spray something noxious in your garden, take a few minutes to look into what’s going. The insect you’re about to destroy is perhaps one of your garden’s best friends!

Consider the following: if the insect does not appear to be eating your plant and does not seem to have a probiscus that pierces the stem, there is normally no reason to chase it away and certainly not to poison it.

A Few Beneficial Insects

The following insects and other athropods are generally beneficial to the garden… but there are many others.

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Bee – pollinator. Source: Maciej A. Czyzewski, WIkimedia Commons

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Braconid wasp – parasite of insect pests. Source: Judy Gallagher, Wikimedia Commons

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Centipede – predator of insect pests. Source: Bert Heymans, Flickr

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Ground beetle – predator of insect pests and slugs. Source: Udo Schmidt, Flickr

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Hoverfly – pollinator; some species are predators of insect pests. Photo: Sandy Rae, Wikimedia Commons

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Ichneumon wasp – parasite of insect pests. Source: Charlesjsharp, Wikimedia Commons

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Lacewing – predator of insect pests. Source: Bruce Marlin, Wikimedia Commons

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Ladybug – predator of insect pests. Provided by: ElinaElena, Pixabay

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Pirate bug (flower bug) – predator of insect pests. Source: Jack Dykinga, Wikimedia Commons

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Praying mantis – predator of insect pests. Source: Oliver Koemmerling, Wikimedia Commons

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Predatory mite – predator of red spider mites. Source: Anders Sandberge, Flickr

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Social wasp – parasite of insect pests and pollinator. Alvesgaspar, Wikimedia Commons

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Soldier bug – parasite of insect pests. Source: Gerald J. Lenhard, Bugwood.org

Domestic house spider

Spider – predator of insect pests. Source: James Petts, Wikimedia Commons

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Tachinid fly – parasite of insect pests and pollinator. Source: Gilles Gonthier, Flickr

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