If you’re the squeamish type, you might not enjoy contact with insects and worms while working in your yard. But before you start squashing every bug you see, it’s important to know that many creepy crawlies can be beneficial to your landscape.
Some bugs serve a noble purpose
Ladybugs and lacewings prey upon damaging aphids and whiteflies. Ground beetles eat caterpillars and Colorado potato beetles, so they may serve an important function in your garden. By establishing your landscape, you’ve created an ecosystem, and many of those insects serve a purpose. If pests are damaging your plants, you can consult a landscape professional or a garden center to bring in more of those beneficial insects.
Request-a-Bug for weed control
If you find exotic plant species like bindweed, knapweed, or Canada thistle wreaking havoc on your landscape, you can even call in the Department of Agriculture for insect assistance. Their Request-a-Bug service operates an insectary that provides biological pest controls—aka, bugs that prey upon those invasive plants. Colorado residents may request the biocontrols for a fee, and if supplies are sufficient the Department of Ag will ship them, along with instructions for releasing them in your landscape, to your home.
Fees currently run $30-50 depending on the request and are due upon delivery. Supplies are limited and vary year to year. Consequently, the Insectary may not be able to provide mites for every request per season.
Beneficial insects can keep your landscape in balance
The advantages of biological controls include lessening or eliminating the use of pesticides and establishing useful populations of predatory insects. As with other treatments, more than one control might be required.