Good bugs, bad bugs; does a split occur in the insect world? When it comes to bugs, they are almost always stuck with a bad reputation. Is there actually such a thing as a good bug?

Yes, in fact, there is! Insects aren’t necessarily the most pleasant things to look at, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t an integral part of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s ecosystem. There are thousands of bugs that live among us, and while some can cause some major issues, there are others that can be greatly beneficial. Unfortunately, pesticides don’t discriminate.

So, what are good bugs and what can they do?

Honeybees and bumblebees travel from plant to plant, promoting growth and plant diversityGood Bugs: Making the World Go Round

Good insects can provide plenty of positives to your garden and the ecosystem in general. Basically, they take on the role of protector and gardener. These insects can work as parasites for bad bugs, parasitoids, or just straight up feast on them! They are your garden’s personal exterminators. Of course, that’s not all they do. 

Other good bugs work to pollinate your plants and flowers. They can also help fertilize the soil by breaking down dead material. This is just a short list of what these amazing creatures can do. In fact, here are five examples of good bugs and how they can help your yard.

1. Honeybees and Bumblebees

When bees come up in conversation, the name may inspire a little fear. Yes, bees are capable of stinging humans, and it can be quite nasty if you are allergic, but these little insects can do so much more. They typically don’t become aggressive unless provoked and are way more interested in pollinating plants. Both flying insects travel from plant to plant, promoting growth and plant diversity. And, of course, honeybees can make honey! 

Sadly, these crucially important insects have seen a decline in population due to global warming, pesticides, and mono-crop agriculture. Hopefully, with a little more attention, we can protect these little gardeners and keep our plants growing.

2. Ladybugs

Don’t let their sweet name fool you; ladybugs are excellent little exterminators. These tiny little beetles may not seem like the killing type, but they can eat up to 5,000 insects in a lifetime. Bright and colorful, ladybugs will eat mites, mealybugs, and aphids — all the nasty insects that like to attack your garden! 

3.  Spiders

Spiders may not be everyone’s favorite arachnid, but they are very adept hunters. In fact, they can kill a lot of different pests. While some spiders may be dangerous for humans, the more common spiders you encounter daily would rather stay out of sight. While too many can be a nuisance, having a few spiders around can help keep some nasty bugs away.

4. Earthworm

Earthworms like to stay underground most of the time, and that can be great for the soil. These slimy creatures help mix organic matter into the soil, improving its structure and water infiltration. While too many worms can be a bad thing, having soil diversity can help your garden grow.

5. Praying Mantis

Much like spiders, a praying mantis can be great for your garden. They often hunt pests that damage flowers and crops. Have a grasshopper problem? No problem; praying mantises eat a wide variety of crickets, grasshoppers, and more. They can even snatch up frogs, lizards, and small birds. Tiny, yet terrifying, these creatures can provide your garden with ultimate protection.

praying mantis can be great for your garden

Bad Bugs: Bad News Bugs

Unlike helpful insects, bad bugs can cause a lot of grief for your home and your garden. Whether they are eating your flowers and plants or feasting of you and your pests, some insects can be downright dangerous. Here are five bugs you should be looking out for.

1. Mosquitos

These tiny flying insects are some of the most dangerous creatures in the world. They need bloodmeals to live and fertilize their eggs, and we are often the unfortunate targets. While a small itchy mosquito bite may not seem like much to worry about, these bugs can transmit deadly diseases like West Nile Virus, yellow fever, and malaria. Plus, they only need a little bit of stagnant water and a blood meal to lay their eggs. 

2. Japanese Beetles (or June bugs)

While not as dangerous as mosquitoes, Japanese beetles can be devastating to your vegetation. They feed off leaves, flowers, fruit, more than 300 plant species. Not only that, but they can also kill the grass. These irritating bugs are an invasive species and cause massive amounts of damage.

3. Grasshoppers

Grasshoppers are an extremely common insect; but while they may not be damaging to humans directly, they can wreak havoc on crops. These jumping insects can be devastating if they swarm in farmlands or in your backyard. 

Grasshoppers may not be damaging to humans directly, they can wreak havoc on crops.

4. Ladybirds (Asian Lady Beetles)

While ladybugs may be helpful, don’t confuse them with Asian lady beetles. Unlike ladybugs, this invasive species is an annoying, overwinter pest that can sneak inside your home and leave yellow, foul-smelling streaks everywhere. Though rare, they can also give a nasty bite.

5. Cockroaches

These roaches can give anyone the shivers. Cockroaches go where the food is and they bring with them some nasty diseases. While they can be found outside, their goal is to make it indoors and find a comfortable place to settle down. They don’t provide anything to your yard and home other than a bad reputation and contaminated food. 

So, How Do I Get Rid of The Bad Bugs?

If you want to get rid of the bad bugs while encouraging the good kind, there are a few things you can do. Plant flowers and fruits that may encourage predators like bats, bees, birds, frogs, and dragonflies. Encourage a broader environment that will take care of the pests through natural means. Try planting repellent plants, like lavender, peppermint, and marigolds. Finally, reach out to a pest control expert for advice on safe pesticides or other protection methods for your home and yard.



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