5 ‘Good’ Bugs To Know and Love

By Bailey Schmid, Marketing & Communications Intern

Although we’re only a week from Christmas and there are only eight days left for this year’s WPS Garden of Lights, avid gardeners, including our own Horticulture team, are already thinking ahead to spring and are planning out their gardens for next year, including how to handle some unwanted pests.

Even though insects can annoy us (mosquitoes come to mind after that terrible hatch this September), there are plenty of ‘good bugs’ who help keep our gardens healthy during the growing season. Pay close attention when you’re walking through WPS Garden of Lights and you’ll see some of them as light displays, including bees, spiders and yes, even a praying mantis!

Many types of bugs, insects and spiders can be natural pest controllers or pollinators and help maintain the beauty and fruitfulness of your garden.

Here are just a few of the commonly found bugs who may call your garden home.

Praying mantis (Mantis religiosa)

Although they are large, slow-moving and solitary insects, praying mantises are predacious pest controllers for soft-bodied insects like aphids, mosquitos and caterpillars.

praying mantis

Black and yellow garden spider (Argiope aurantia)

Garden spiders are perfect pest controllers and eat flies, mosquitos, moths and wasps.

black and yellow spider in web

Green lacewing (Chrysoperla carnea)

Another insect perfect for handling nasty pests is the lacewing. They are commonly referred to as ‘aphid lions’ because of their voracious appetite for aphids.

greem lacewing

Yellow-banded bumble bee (Bombus terricola)

Using a technique called “Buzz Pollination,” these bees grab a flower and vibrate their wings to shake pollen loose that is otherwise inaccessible.

yellow-banded bumble bee on

European honey bee (Apis mellifera)

This honey maker plays an essential role in agriculture by pollinating a vast number of food crops. It’s also Wisconsin’s state insect!

european honey bee

For more information on beneficial bugs, check out “Good Bug, Bad Bug” by Jessica Walliser or visit the UW-Extension Horticulture website.