As you gather around the table for Thanksgiving, you’re probably thankful for having a pest-free home to enjoy with family and friends. It’s a thought that also gives us exterminators a feeling of warm thanks.
But we also have to give thanks for the beneficial bugs that help us keep yards healthy. In fact, we should all be thankful for the helpful insects that keep our ecosystems in balance. Here are a few bugs we’re toasting this Thanksgiving.
If you’re building a compost pile earthworms are your best friend. All those Thanksgiving leftovers that end up in the pile can be broken down by hungry earthworms. They help to recycle the organic material by eating it and excreting the remains as compost.
Aphids are tiny, but they are big trouble in the garden. They’ll get together in bunches to devour leaves. The aphid midge is a natural predator of 60 aphid species. Make sure to put pollen plants around the yard to attract aphid midges where you need them.
Most beneficial bugs work during the day, but ground beetles get to work after dark. These nocturnal insects hunt at night for slugs, cutworms and snails. A single ground beetle larva can eat dozens of these slimy pests. Not surprisingly, ground beetles gravitate towards evening primrose. They also like to hide in clover and amaranthus.
Few people realize that ladybird beetles (better known as ladybugs) are predatory insects. They are feared by garden pests like mites, aphids, whiteflies and mealybugs that are afraid of becoming the next meal. It’s tempting to pick ladybugs up when we see them, but it’s best to leave them alone so they don’t get scared off.
Despite the frilly name, lacewings are insect killers. And they’re double trouble. Both adult lacewings and larvae feed on aphids, scales, thrips, mealy bugs and other pests that plague the fall garden. You can attract them by planting flowers like coriander and golden Marguerite.
Spiders are another predatory insect that can help control garden pests. They are possibly the best known of the predatory garden bugs. The nicest thing you can do is leave garden spiders alone when you see them out in the garden. As long as they aren’t a brown recluse or sporting a red hourglass they pose no threat to the family.
This is no damsel in distress. Damsel bugs feast on other garden pests like leafhoppers and aphids. They can be found in alfalfa fields, but damsel bugs also like fragrant herbs like spearmint and fennel.
At Vulcan Termite and Pest Control Inc. we take care to target destructive pests while leaving beneficial bugs alone whenever possible. Call today to ask about yard pest treatments that are suitable for fall.