You’re probably thinking, what on earth are The Beneficials? Well, we’re talking about beneficial insects and spiders. You may be surprised at just how many insects feed on or parasitize other insects. You have Hemipterans (True Bugs), Dipterans (Flies), Coleopterans (Beetles), and even Hymenopterans (Ants, Bees & Wasps). In this article, we are going to focus on beneficial Hemipterans, the True Bugs.
The best way to recognize these bugs is by the wings. When seen from above, the wings look as though they’re divided into triangles. These predatory True Bugs feed on an insect by piercing its body and sucking out the juices…What a way to die! This sharp hypodermic needle-type apparatus is actually a complex structure that forms two channels, one for spitting saliva into the prey and the other for sucking out the juices. That’s just wonderful, don’t you think? By the way, they are equal opportunity assassins. True Bug predators will feed on any insect they can overpower, from caterpillars to bees. They may even feed on each other at times.
So, why are these predators so beneficial? Research tells us only about 5% of the insects found in our gardens are actually pests. While it’s true that harmful pests, (such as aphids and scale insects) get all the attention, the vast majority of insects are pollinating, recycling organic matter, or feeding on other critters.
That should open some eyes. Speaking about opening eyes, the next time you’re admiring your vegetable garden or ornamental shrubs, look closely. You may see one of the insects in these photos hanging around. Look at them and say…Thank you.