Some Pests Are Saints in the Garden

April 17, 2017

With the warmer weather, many of us are spending more time outside, especially in our gardens. The local nurseries are full of new plants and customers happy to buy them, and even the greenest of thumbs can face challenges when it comes to pests in the garden. Fortunately, most insects found in the garden are very helpful and many can even eliminate the harmful ones. Here are a few favorites:

Hover Flies: This is one of the few insect species, which can fly backward, and hover almost motionless in midair. They're cleverly disguised as bees with striking black and yellow markings. However, they will have the very noticeable head of a common housefly with two large compound eyes. These flies are excellent pollinators and their larval stage loves to eat aphids. If you notice tiny green worms on the underside of leaves but with no noticeable plant damage, its best to leave them alone to do their job and help take care of your plants.

Ladybugs: Nearly every gardener welcomes the sight of Ladybugs to their patch. These tiny predators eat many of the harmful pests we want to keep out of our gardens including white flies, mites, aphids, and thrips. While adult Ladybugs are quickly identified, few people recognize the larva, which are also vital. These look like tiny red and black caterpillars, very spiky, and kind of resemble tiny alligators.

Parasitic Wasps: Most of the time you won't notice these wasps in your garden, but you will eventually see their impact. Certain species of parasitic wasps are wonderful in the garden because they target grubs, caterpillars, and aphids, which can quickly destroy your plants. If you've ever seen a Tomato Hornworm covered in cottony white bubbles, these are the pupae stage of a wasp, which was laid as an egg under the skin weeks earlier. These wasps will overtake and kill the caterpillar, keeping your garden safe from these ravenous eaters.

Lucky for you Mother Nature is on your side when it comes to keeping your plants healthy. There are really only a few pests, which can destroy your ornamental plants, veggies, and fruit trees. To control damaging pests without harming helpful ones, contact Safari Termite & Pest Control. We know Jacksonville, the Beaches, Orange Park, St. Johns and St. Augustine and have been State Certified by Florida's Department of Environmental Protection.