There are many animals that we consider to be pests. However, many of them actually perform critical tasks and help to control the populations of much more devastating species. The following beneficial insects and creatures are ones you’ll want to keep around.

Ladybugs

These are easily one of the most recognizable of all the backyard creatures on this list. Typically they are red or even yellow with black spots. Most people don’t realize that ladybugs are actually predators.

They prefer to eat aphids which can cause serious damage to gardens, trees, and crops. In fact a single ladybug can eat thousands of aphids during their two to three year lifespan. They also prey on other harmful garden insects such as red spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects.

While they can often be found naturally many people actually purchase and release them. By adding these beneficial garden bugs to your yard or garden you can help to control the population harmful insects without the use of chemical sprays.

 

Bees

The fact that bees can sting automatically makes most people think of them as backyard pests. Their reputation has also been tainted by the infamous Africanized bee. However, as long as you give them the proper respect, bees will rarely sting other than in self-defense of themselves or their hive.

Bumblebees and honeybees are two species that are not typically aggressive and are also fabulous pollinators. They can help a huge number of plants and flowers to reproduce. Honeybees also produce honey and beeswax that can be collected if you have the right beekeeping setup.

 An interesting and helpful trait of bumblebees is that they will actually stay active and keep pollinating in weather which would keep honeybees in their hive. So be sure to think twice about grabbing a can of bug spray when you see these garden friendly insects buzzing around.

 

Hoverfly Larvae

Adult hoverflies eat both pollen and nectar. They get their name from the fact that they can hover while doing so. Their larvae on the other hand eat aphids. And a single one will usually eat hundreds before it moves into the next stage of its development.

Lacewing Larvae

Lacewings are known for their intricate wings that look similar in appearance to lace. Similar to hoverflies, lacewings are beneficial garden insects that feed on pollen and nectar. And they also produce larvae that will help to rid your garden of aphids and other tiny insects.

Centipedes

Undoubtedly centipedes are one of the backyard critters that most people despise for their creepy looks. They have long segmented bodies and many legs.

However, by allowing centipedes to inhabit your garden or yard these predators will help to get rid of a wide range of pests. Silverfish, roaches, bedbugs, moths, spiders, and more are all on their menu.

 

Flowerbugs

These are common garden insects UK residents will surely recognize as will those in many European countries. Flowerbugs eat small insects including red spider mites, aphids, and suckers. They are helpful insects in the garden but also for controlling pests on fruit trees.

Toads And Frogs

Both toads and frogs consume a large variety of insects. They also eat slugs along with a range of other smaller sized pests. If you have a backyard pond it may attract them. While frogs need to stay in the water toads do not. But they both will use it to breed.

Shrews

These are one type of rodent that you may have in yard and not even know it. That’s because they’re usually nocturnal. Shrews are not nearly as invasive as mice or rats and you’re much less likely to have a problem with them trying to get into your home.

You can tell them apart by their pointy snouts. Despite their small size shrews are voracious eaters. In fact they need to keep eating to survive. If they don’t they may starve to death in a matter of hours. This can help to a dent in the local slug, insect and spider population.

As you’ve just learned not all animals which are normally considered to be pests actually are. So the next time you encounter these beneficial garden insects and creatures be sure to leave them be. By doing so you’ll be helping your yard in the long run.

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