They might not look very pretty and they might be eating the leaves of some of your flowers and crops, but before you grab that pesticide, please double check if they are actually beneficial insects that can help in your yard.
Some beneficial insects are lucky because they already look quite cute, like in the case of butterflies and ladybugs. So even when people don’t know how good they are in their gardens, they are less prone to kill them. Others like the Assassin Bug, damsel bugs, and minute pirate bugs are pretty much out of luck since their appearance usually scares anyone, they are not as well known as the mantis and the bees, and they also look like the insect that spreads the Chagas disease.
I always connect the word “nematode” with “human parasite,” but something I’ve learned recently is that there are beneficial nematodes too. They live in your garden soil and eat the larva of some of the insects that are considered the worst pests. So, next time I dig in my yard, I will make sure I don’t kill those either.
How do you know what is good and what is not?? Well, Austin Public Library can help you with that. We have some titles that can guide you through like:
- Gardening with good bugs
- Texas bug book : the good, the bad & the ugly
- Insects and gardens : in pursuit of a garden ecology
- Good bugs for your garden
- Learning about & living with insects of the Southwest : how to identify helpful, harmful, and venomous insects