Some people know that there are bugs in their lawn and that makes them want to spend more time indoors. While there are many varieties of bugs that are not only terrible for the lawn itself but also the surrounding landscaping, there are other bugs that are actually beneficial. You can kill off the bad bugs with chemicals, but you are running the risk of harming the environment, making your pets sick and even bringing those toxins in to your home to make your children sick as well. It is better to cultivate strong healthy lawns that can fight back as well as helping things out by letting Mother Nature’s little assassins out to take care of things, bug vs. bug in a head to head competition.
Some of the Bad Bugs in Your Lawn
- Fleas: There are fleas in your lawn just waiting to hitch a ride inside with Fido and Fluffy. Even if you do not have a pet, they may hitch a ride indoors on your own pants legs. Once inside a home without pets most fleas will die off quickly, but a few have been known to make a pretty decent meal of humans before moving on or dying off.
- Japanese Beetles: These typically like to munch down on your prized roses, but their babies (larvae) are destroying your lawn. Lawn grubs, which are the larval stage of the Japanese beetle, eat the grass at the roots.
- Chinch Bugs: Tiny but vicious, these bugs love sunnier areas of your lawn where they can suck the nutrients from a blade of grass leaving behind a toxin that will weaken the entire root system.
- Mole Crickets: Found in the Southeast, these bugs make burrows through the dirt and live on bugs and grass roots as they go.
- European Crane Fly: This one is found in the Southwest. Its larvae, which are called leatherjackets, hatch during the fall months and then spend the winter time eating the root system of your lawn.
And the Good Bugs
These are called good bugs because they eat the bad ones and rarely damage the roots or other parts of the grass. In fact, most of these will eat primarily the other bugs.
- Lady Bird Beetle: It is often called lady bug, and the larvae will eat aphids by the millions.
- Lacewings: The larvae will also eat more than their fair share of aphids.
- Mini-Wasps: Several varieties of mini-wasps are harmless to humans but are vicious monsters if you are a caterpillar. These wasps will lay their eggs directly on or sometimes in a caterpillar. When the larvae hatches he eats his host from the inside out.
One that Could Go Either Way
The praying mantis is often called one of the good ones because he eats the bad bugs, but he is an opportunistic hunter and prolific eater and will generally munch whatever bug he can get his mitts on whether it is a good bug or a bad one. One or two praying mantises might be okay- but if you have more it might be a problem.