Spring is officially upon us, which means that before you know it, flowers will be blooming, birds will be singing and you’ll be battling bugs. While both flowers and birds bring a smile to many people’s faces, bugs rarely illicit a similar reaction. Still, bugs are important in the circle of life. They help pollinate plants and act as a food source for birds; in fact, for the most part, their negative reputation isn’t necessarily deserved.
Reality vs. Perception
There’s no question that some bugs do cause trouble. For example, stink bugs and Japanese beetles are both a farmer’s worst nightmare; they can make a huge mess out of a promising crop of plants. However, most bugs simply go about their daily life, neither hurting nor necessarily improving the world around them. And for every “bad” bug, there are two or three other good ones crawling around; for example, in their youth, green lacewings eat many destructive pests, like aphids and white flies.
Believe it or not, only about three percent of all bugs are considered harmful. The vast majority are either one of the good guys or fall into the category of “doing no harm.” Unfortunately, most people have no idea which bugs are which, and they move to dispose of an insect as soon as they see one. That can be a problem, particularly for gardeners. Using a lot of chemicals in your garden does get rid of the pesky bugs, but it also kills the good ones. If you refrain from spraying pesticides, you are likely to see an improvement in your garden or lawn, as the beneficial insects will be drawn to your space and will take care of most of the pests. In general, putting down chemicals should be a last resort instead of being done automatically.
Spotting a “good” bug
There are times when figuring out which insects are helpful and which are harmful is fairly easy. For example, lady beetles are simple to identify because they all have spots on them. Other times, though, it can be very confusing because so many bugs look alike. If you aren’t sure, take a picture of the bug in question and do a little research. While that may seem like a lot of work, it will help ensure that you don’t make a mistake and get rid of a beneficial insect.
It is possible to live in harmony with insects. If, however, you feel like the “bad” bugs are getting out of control, don’t hesitate to call a local pest control company and see what your options are. More and more companies are taking an integrated pest management approach, and they will work with you to see how best to solve your problem.
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Kara enjoys working for one of the largest school districts in the country, and she hones her writing skills by accepting freelance jobs online. When she has a pest problem, she typically turns to an El Paso pest control company for help.