All insects are not created equal when it comes to dangers presented to your home or business. Indeed, there are many 'pests' that are not pests at all and can be helpful in aiding in the prevention of more invasive pests. One such area for many homeowners in the Carolinas is in your garden. In addition to worrying about deer and rabbits eating the hard-earned fruits of your labor, insects can easily destroy a garden before it has a chance to get started. Fortunately for those who prefer to take a more organic approach to pest control in your garden, nature does provide some reinforcements!
SEND IN THE REINFORCEMENTS - LADYBUGS
Of all the insects known to frequent your garden, the common Ladybug is likely the most well-known and best adapted to help keep away more destructive pests. Ladybugs prey on aphids, whiteflies, and potato beetles, all of which can make quick work of your plants. Believe it or not, ladybugs can even be ordered online in boxes, ready to release into your garden. They are quite prevalent this time of year and can sometimes make their way into your home (where they are largely harmless, but may need to be controlled due to easy reproduction). If kept confined to an outdoor garden area, a ladybug is a true friend to the gardener.
ladybugs earn their reputation as a friend of the gardener
SEND IN THE REINFORCEMENTS - GROUND BEETLES
Ground beetles shouldn't be confused with the more recognizable Japanese Beetle or June Bug that are also common during the summer months in the Carolinas. The ground beetle is a small all-black beetle that feasts on slugs, caterpillars, potato beetles, and cutworms. They are attracted to clover which is a very common ground cover in our region. They are rarely found inside a home and if they make their way to your garden area they will fight to protect your produce as if it were their own.
ground beetles will take care of slugs, caterpillars, potato beetles, and cutworms
SEND IN THE REINFORCEMENTS - PIRATE BUGS
The Minute Pirate Bug is less common in our region, but can still be found in areas where their main prey resides, and there are a lot of them in your garden area. Such pests include spider mites, aphids, thrips, and caterpillars. Pirate bugs are attracted by alfafa among other things. While this isn't so common in your yard, it is quite common to our general region, so it isn't unusual to find this helpful insect doing its part in helping your garden to thrive.
though less common, the pirate bug can provide great protection
SEND IN THE REINFORCEMENTS - PRAYING MANTIS
Without question one of the most unique-looking insects around, the praying mantis has a well-earned reputation of being a savage killer of other insects. Their prey can be wide-ranging, but certainly includes caterpillars, moths, beetles, gnats, and crickets. They are commonly found in tall grasses. It is a general misconception that they are an endangered species, but this is not the case. However, a state or local ordinance may make the killing of mantises and walking sticks illegal in your area due to their benefits. Also, they can turn their heads up to 180 degrees!
the praying mantis may be the most versatile helper for your garden
SEND IN THE REINFORCEMENTS - SPIDERS
There are too many beneficial spiders to list here that can help keep your garden area under control - there are indeed many of them. Spiders can prey on nearly any insect in the garden including aphids, roaches, grasshoppers, locusts, mosquitoes, and fruit flies. Garden spiders are commonly found in both tall grasses and mulch beds, and most complete their life cycle in a single year.
though menacing looking, the common garden spider provides great natural pest control
SEND IN THE REINFORCEMENTS - DAMSEL BEETLES Damsel Beetles have an appearance that defies their name - they look more like a combination beetle and moth. They are a flying beetle that is light brown in appearance and can be commonly found near garden and high-growth areas. Damsel beetles can prey on caterpillars, mites, aphids, potato beetles, and cabbage worms. Damsel beetle populations can thrive if they are provided places to hide (damsel beetles themselves can be prey to the mantis and spider populations). In cooperation with other populations listed here, they can help keep your garden growing well.
damsel beetles are a lesser-known ally in your garden fight
SEND IN THE REINFORCEMENTS - EARTHWORMS
Though not technically insects, earthworms are the only ones listed here who are not an active threat to other pests. The earthworm provides their biggest benefit underneath the soil, where they work as extremely efficient composters. They thrive in compost-rich soil that can stay moist (perfect garden soil!). Earthworms work hard to produce a well-aerated, humus-rich soil that many gardeners in the Carolinas call "black gold."
earthworms offer greatly improved soil quality when they thrive
CAN NELON-COLE HELP?
Not all of these helpful insects can be easily identified by all residents, so how do you know what is helpful and what is harmful? Nelon-Cole spends quite a bit of resources on training our technicians in the identification of species native to the Carolinas, so we can not only help to find them but also determine the best course of action as to whether preventative controls are necessary. The good news is that we are always a FREE call for a consultation. Send us a photo, tell us what you see - there is a good chance we identify an insect based just on this information and make a recommendation right over the phone. If more immediate control or preventative measures are necessary, we can make recommendations for that as well - all in an effort to keep your property protected!
Call us today - we look forward to helping you have a safe and happy summer! 888-7-TheWeb.