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Distinguishing Pests from Beneficial Bugs

Matt Thompson Nov 20, 2019
You might notice that your landscape seems to have lots of insects and bugs despite your careful preventive plant care. Although it can be a bit worrisome, you don’t have to stress too much about it because not all bugs and insects are a problem.
The bugs you see are only pests when they harm the plants, pets, or family members. Otherwise, they can be advantageous to the garden’s ecosystem. Some bugs can even help you lower the pest population.

What Are Beneficial Bugs and What Do They Do?

There are many bugs beneficial to plants which add to preventive plant care.

Green Lacewings – The green lacewings serve as natural pest control because they eliminate aphids, whiteflies, leafhoppers, and mealybugs. Their larvae are referred to as “aphid lions” by scientists, which proves how effective they are.


They don’t just add beauty and color to the landscape, but they serve another purpose too. Ladybugs eat a lot of aphids as well as mites and worms. Dill and fennel will attract them, so it’s a good idea to plant those.

Minute Pirate Bugs

These bugs are what they call “small, but terrible.” They prey on mites and aphids. They can be difficult to spot due to their size, but they do the job very well.

Damsel bugs

These bugs rid the garden of cabbage worms, mites, aphids, and caterpillars. You can agree that they’re certainly a big help! By planting fennel and spearmint, you have high chances of attracting them.
Beneficial bugs keep the pests in check, so plant what attracts them to the garden. There are more beneficial bugs like braconid wasps and ground beetles, which prey on caterpillars. Even the praying mantis, which isn’t technically a bug, eats many destructive bugs, such as crickets, moths, caterpillars, and beetles.

Common Garden Pests and How they Affect Plants

On the other hand, various pests ruin the plants. You need to learn about them to know how to get rid of them.

Aphids – Aphids are one of the most common and most destructive garden pests out there. They are small, sap-sucking insects that reproduce quickly, which makes them difficult to control.
  • Whiteflies– They suck sap from plants, which damages them and spoils their growth.
  • Tomato moth – Although it is called as such, they don’t just ruin tomatoes exclusively. They damage any fruits in the garden.
  • Thrips – They’re known as “thunder flies.” They suck plant sap and causes lots of white patches on leaves and petals.
Having identified the various bugs that you may find among plants, you’ll realize that not all the bugs are harmful. Some help the garden’s ecosystem and serve as additional preventative plant care, while some ruin plants. What’s important is learning to differentiate them so you can eliminate the pests; otherwise, they will continue causing harm.

4 Cost-Effective Ways to Deal with Pests

There are several ways to deal with pests, and they aren’t mutually exclusive to each other. Deal with them before they arise again.

1. Keep the garden healthy

Prevention is always better than cure. It’s better to avoid having pests in the first place. Make sure to keep the plants healthy by providing everything they need: plenty of nutrients, water, and sunlight. Keep the area tidy too. If the garden is healthy and you exercise preventative plant care, there are fewer chances of having pest outbreaks.

2. Introduce beneficial bugs and insects

Be patient as the results will take some time to take effect. This eco-friendly solution serves as a natural pest control. You aren’t introducing harmful chemicals into the garden, which protects the plants. The difference that the bugs will make might not be immediate, but they are better in the long-run.

3. Implement proper waste management

Remove the dead leaves and fallen fruits because these encourage pests to multiply. Simply picking off infected leaves already control the spread of pests. Remember to throw away infested plants, too. Adding them to a compost pile will only make the problem worse eventually.

4. Research about natural insecticides

There is organic pest control that can help fight off pests and keep the plants safe. Such recipes make sure of natural ingredients. Don’t immediately get into the use of chemical pesticides unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Distinguishing pests from beneficial bugs is essential because it is a big part of preventative plant care. Simply put, you need to know what makes the garden unhealthy
Knowing what to address will help you keep the plants nourished and well-taken care of. Your first instinct may have been to destroy any bugs you see, but now that you know the difference between helpful and damaging bugs, your landscape will be better and more beautiful than ever.