Minute pirate bug for backyard landscaping services Salt Lake City

6 Beneficial Insects for Your Landscape Design: Part 2

Posted : September 1, 2019

As we discussed last month in part 1 of our blog series 6 Beneficial Insects for Your Landscape Design, bugs get a bad rap, and many bugs are even good for your gardens, flowers and other elements of landscape design. Last month we talked about:

  • Ladybugs
  • Dustywings
  • Red Velvet Mites

4. Minute Pirate Bug (AKA Flower Bug)

The Minute Pirate Bug is beneficial for all sorts of plants commonly used in landscape designs including ornamental plants and fruit and vegetable plants. They do this by mainly preying upon thrips, but also eat a large number of aphids, insect eggs and spider mites. An adult Flower Bug can consume up to 30 small insects per day.

Adult Minute Pirate Bugs are (as you would expect by the word “minute” in the name) tiny, about 1.5mm long, and have a distinctive pattern on their bodies (see image below). They emerge in the middle of spring and reproduce very quickly (about once every 15 days).

Minute pirate bug for backyard landscaping services Salt Lake City

Even though Flower Bugs are tiny, they can often be found on plants in the sunflower and carrot families, as well as on corn, buckwheat, alfalfa, goldenrod, and daisies just to name a few. Some pest- lookalikes for the Minute Pirate Bug include the black grass bug, false chinch bug, and the lygus bug.

The best way to attract Flower Bugs is to have areas in your yard that includes tall grasses and provides some woody plant matter for shelter.  Flowers and crops that provide pollen and nectar also can attract Flower Bugs since most of them depend on these things for survival.

5. Tachnid Fly

Tachnid flies are often mistaken for house flies and small bees, but they are far better for your garden and ornamental plants than these. They eat adults and nymphs of many pests including the larvae of beetles, moths, and sawflies and grasshoppers.  But HOW they do this is very interesting: they typically will deposit eggs either on the prey itself, or its food. The larvae then hatch and burrow inside of the prey’s body, feeds and then kills the host by chewing its way out of it. They are excellent at controlling populations of caterpillars and beetle larvae.

Tachnid fly for landscape design services Salt Lake City

Tachnid flies appear as very hairy flies, covered with thick bristles and can often be seen near plants in the Carrot family (Queen Anne’s lace, dill, and parsley for example), clover, goldenrod, sweet alyssum, buckwheat, amaranth, aster and many others. You can attract tachnid flies by making sure you have a lot of these plants around your home and garden.

6. Ground Beetle

The Ground Beetle is actually a large family of beetles that has over 40,000 species worldwide with about 2000 species found in North America. They have many different body shapes and coloring, but most are a shiny black color or look sort of metallic. They also can range in size from 1mm up to about 2.5 inches. Some can even fly, but most are ground dwellers.

Ground beetle good for landscaping around the house services Salt Lake City

They are fantastic additions to the plants around your home and garden because they eat their body weight in destructive insects such as aphids, caterpillars, harmful beetles and grasshoppers, each day even as larvae, which often kill many more insects than they can eat. Most ground beetle species are very long lived (for insects) with the larvae living in the soil for up to 2 years and the adults living another year.

Most ground beetles are fearsome looking, with long legs, hooked jaws, antennae and the larvae often have pincher-like mandibles, but they are rarely seen since they mainly feed at night.

To attract ground beetles is quite easy, use a lot of mulch in your garden and flowerbeds to give them shelter during the day. Also using compost or manure instead of fertilizer and your garden will become a haven for ground beetles.

So, as you can see, not all bugs are bad, and attracting the beneficial bugs to your garden and flowerbeds is one of the best, environmentally friendly methods for controlling pests.

Looking for Help with Landscaping Around the House and Garden?

At Aeroscape, we have professional landscape contractors ready to help you whip your garden into shape. Call Aeroscape at (801) 567-2383 or click on our Contact an Expert green arrow on any page of our website to get in touch with us today.