Bugs in the Garden

Bugs in the Garden—a new Disney movie? Nope; we're referring to tiny (and sometimes not so tiny) little insects and arachnids that run freely among our plants. No yard is free of bugs – some are welcome and many are not.

Most gardeners will agree there are basically six common insects or species of insects that inhabit our gardens: ants; spiders; beetles; flies; bees; and butterflies and moths. Of course, dozens of other bugs are hanging out among our plants, many specific to certain areas of the country. For example, scorpions are frequently found among the succulents in an Arizona desert garden, while dragonflies enhance ornamental gardens in Upstate New York.

Although garden bugs are plentiful, many are not harmful to the plants. In fact, insects such as ladybugs are often purchased and introduced into a garden to control other insects such as aphids. Spiders, while frightening to some, actually serve a useful purpose. They easily catch files and mosquitoes in their intricate webs.

If, however, a bug proves harmful to garden vegetation, then it's time for them to go! One of the best solutions is to bring birds into your yard. Many of these hungry flyers are always looking for a tasty meal and aren't very particular; although hard-shelled beetles may present a challenge. Screens that have a very tight weave can be used to keep many bugs away from your plants, and newly developed "natural" pesticides can keep garden pests at bay without harming other critters that may visit your yard.

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