All creatures in this world serve an ecological purpose. Researchers from the University of Exeter detail that even the minuscule ant plays a vital role in ensuring the survival of their local environment. This is why we’ve put together a list of five insects, some of which are considered pests that contribute to the overall wellbeing of your plants. Read on to know more about these insects and what they can do for your garden!
SpidersSpiders are one of the most maligned and misunderstood creatures in the world today. And while many people are deathly afraid of spiders, this fear is mostly unfounded. In the UK there are no spiders that can be potentially harmful to humans. Quartz details that spiders are more interested in pests, which is why you shouldn’t kill them.
They are in fact great for your garden as spiders prey on insects such as aphids, caterpillars, and grasshoppers. These insects can potentially harm the plants growing in your garden and the misunderstood spider acts as a natural deterrent.
WaspsIt’s easy to see why wasps are considered pests. They set-up nests and invade people’s homes and come with a pretty nasty stinger to boot that makes them quite the nuisance to homeowners all over the world – especially if you are having a summer barbecue.
However, it’s important to remember that all creatures serve a purpose, even the most annoying ones. A guide by HomeServe on how to deal with wasps outlines how they are fond of sweet substances, making them perfect pollinators. In fact, a world without wasps would be catastrophic for the ecosystem. The Independent highlights how crucial wasps are as pollinators, often serving the same purpose as bees, but without any of the credit.
Ground BeetleThe ground beetle may be one of the most efficient insects when it comes to helping your garden. Pests, as repeatedly mentioned in this article, damage your plants and prevent your garden from flourishing. This is why the ground beetles ability to eat its body weight in food is a huge help.
Ground beetles prey on caterpillars, fly maggots, and slugs. To add to this, they live relatively long with a lifespan of four years. This coupled with their penchant for eating pests means a sustainable means of reducing the number of overall pests in your garden.
EarthwormsEarthworms get a bad rap purely because of their looks and the parasitic worms that sometimes plague humans. However, earthworms aren’t only harmless but are also a great addition to your garden. BBC’s guide on gardening highlights how earthworms eat organic waste and excrete a substance that enriches the soil. This not only makes earthworms useful in the garden but perfect for making compost, which helps your plants grow.
Not to mention that making your own compost means less waste gets dumped into landfills. And considering that organic material makes up a significant chunk of landfill waste, this will go a long way in reducing your overall impact on the environment.
LadybirdsIf you haven’t seen pictures of a ladybird invasion, then you may want to look that up now. Ladybirds can invade your homes. However, you shouldn’t start killing them. The Guardian details that despite the minor inconvenience a ladybirds invasion may cause, they’re not something to be concerned about.
Similar to the spider, ladybirds prey on many garden pests. Despite their size, one ladybug can consume up to fifty to sixty aphids per day. They are also known to eat mealworms and mites that can cause major problems if left unattended. Think of these tiny insects as a natural (and more aesthetically pleasing) form of pest control.
If you found this article useful and are looking for more ways to improve your garden, check out our article on 25 Inspiring Urban Gardening Ideas!
Michael has been involved with gardening and plants since he was just five years old. He is a self-professed Plant Geek, and was listed in the Sunday Times top 20 most influential people in the gardening world, thanks to his plant hunter role at Thompson & Morgan.
Michael was responsible for new plant introductions such as the Egg and Chips plant and the FuchsiaBerry and keeps busy travelling the world in search of new plants as well as lecturing worldwide, including stints in Japan. He is very active on social media – so why not give him a follow at @mr_plantgeek or Facebook. You can also listen to The Plant Based Podcast with Michael and co-host Ellen-Mary on iTunes, Spotify and Google.