You always hear about pest control for the home and garden, but did you know there are some beneficial critters in your yard?

Don’t get rid of these three garden helpers.


Garden spider spinning a backyard web
Non-poisonous spiders feed on insects that sting you and invade your garden. (DepositPhotos)

1. Spiders

Spiders can cause quite a scare, especially poisonous ones like tarantulas, brown recluses and the brown and black widows.

But non-poisonous arachnids provide natural pest control and you’ll want them around. They feed on insects that sting you, invade your soil and carry fungal and bacterial diseases from plant to plant.

Golden Silk spiders trap flying insects in their webs. Jumping and Green Lynx spiders don’t spin webs, but pounce on victims or anchor themselves in silk to capture prey, such as caterpillars.


Lady Beetle sitting on a leaf
Lady Beetles eat pests that feed on plant sap and rob a landscape of its beauty. (DepositPhotos)

2. Lady Beetles

Lady Beetles are oval- or dome-shaped with orange or red bodies and black markings. You’ve seen them; you know them.

But did you know these insects perform pest control in your garden?

They eat aphids, soft-bodied insects that feed on plant sap. Aphid infestations lead to wilted and yellowing leaves. While aphids may not kill healthy trees and shrubs, they can certainly rob them of their beauty.

Fortunately, lady beetles feed on these pests, consuming as many as 5,000 in their lifetime, according to the University of Kentucky.


Praying mantis stalking prey in a garden
Praying mantes lie in ambush, waiting for crickets to munch on flowers. (DepositPhotos)

3. Praying Mantes

The praying mantis’ front legs are bent at an angle resembling a position of prayer, but this insect is anything but graceful toward its prey.  

Its elongated thorax, functioning like a neck, lets it turn its head almost 360 degrees — the better to spot prey!

Praying mantes lie in ambush or stalk pests such as flower-munching crickets, and caterpillars that wreak havoc on leaves.

Remember, the next time you see creepy crawlies, they may actually serve as natural pest control and be beneficial to your garden!

Further Reading

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