Most homeowners would love to have a backyard completely free of bugs, but what many people don’t realize is that many of the insects crawling and flying around your lawn and garden are actually beneficial in many ways.

Not to be confused with the usual suspects haunting your yard, beneficial insects play critical roles in pest control, pollination, and soil enrichment.

The best way to enhance your lawn and gardens good bug population is to learn which bugs are favorable and how they can contribute to the health of your yard and plants. We asked our friends at American Turf and Tree Care to share some information about some of the bugs around your home that actually help your landscape thrive!

Pollinators You Should Know

    • Sweat Bees are agile pollinators, with their tiny size allowing them to effectively reach small and complicated flowers. They usually have bright, green, or metallic coloring, are nonaggressive, and especially adept at pollinating flowers found in the daisy family.
    • Hoverflies are fantastic friends for your garden, visiting flowers like verbena, sweet alyssum, coreopsis, and anise hyssop. Hoverfly larvae even feed on aphids and other harmful insects. While they mimic the appearance of bees in order to evade predators, they are actually a cousin to the common house fly and lack any ability to sting.
    • Mud Dauber Wasps are the unsung heroes of your yard. Not only do they effectively pollinate, as an added bonus – they even help control spider populations by feeding them to their young. These wasps are especially attracted to plants native to your Northern Colorado landscape, such as showy goldeneye, tansy aster, and black-eyed Susans.
    • Butterflies are always a welcome spectacle in any garden, and many plants rely on them for reproduction. These beauties are drawn to brightly colored and fragrant flowers in their search for nectar. As they flutter around your yard, butterflies effectively pollinate each plant they land on – making them an important addition for the long term vitality of your flowers.

Your Natural Allies Against Pests

  • Ladybugs aren’t just a charming accent for your garden. They are perhaps some of the best bugs for protecting your landscape from destructive plant-killers. These voracious eaters consume harmful insects such as aphids, mealybugs, scales, and spider mites. A great way to naturally attract ladybugs to your yard is by planting bright flowers like golden marguerite, calendula, feverfew, and yarrow.
  • Assassin Bugs certainly live up to their name given their intimidating appearance and stealthy hunting abilities. This insect provides your yard with killer defense against bad bugs, lying in wait under grass and shrubs until the right victim comes along. Provide them with cover, and they’ll help you say goodbye to pesky mosquitoes, thrips, flies, and caterpillars.
  • Ground Beetles are called so because of their inability to climb, which makes them helpful allies against pests lurking through the soil. Add some flair to your landscape with attractive stones or nicely mulched perennials and you will provide them the perfect home. Their voracious diet includes slug eggs, caterpillars, snails, and weed seeds.
  • Beneficial Nematodes are a crucial first line of defense for the health your soil. These microscopic, worm-like parasites actively hunt and destroy over 230 insects plaguing your plants. They do not prey on any other beneficial insects, and are harmless to plants, pets, and humans. Keep your soil generally moist to help facilitate their movement, and relax as they do all the dirty work for you.

By following the tips from our guide and maintaining an inviting habitat for these beneficial bugs, you will be amazed at how quickly they go to work to protect your plants – leaving you with more time to sit back and enjoy your backyard.

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