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Little Miss Muffet was frightened away by a spider, but your greenery isn’t. In fact, spiders can be helpful critters in the gardening world.

Quite simply, insect pests eat the plants in your garden, while insect predators eat the pests. How can you tell friend from foe? Look for these garden bugs and rest easy that you have a tiny helper in your yard.

  • Parasitic Wasps don’t sting, and they can be useful allies against all kinds of garden pests. Parasitic wasps lay their eggs on other insects, which are consumed as the wasp larvae mature. Certain wasps attack certain hosts, so gardeners can target the problem species. They are even available by mail order!
  • Minute pirate bugs have a distinctive black-and-white pattern on their back to go along with that great name! Once they eat all the whiteflies, insect eggs, aphids, small caterpillars and other garden pests, they’ll stick around your garden to feed on plant sap and pollen.
  • Fireflies are present up and down the Front Range, but most species here don’t light at night. As larvae they do, however, attack snails, slugs, and possibly earthworms.
  • Praying Mantis can be found in Fort Collins, Colorado and Wyoming. They rely on camouflage to hunt and they’ll eat anything they can catch. It’s a marvel to watch them eat prey with their two large front pincers and tiny mouth.
  • Lacewings look a lot like something you’d tie on for fly-fishing, and a trout would probably think they are pretty good. But they are predators too, able to consume up to 100 aphids a day. Lacewings consume all kinds of garden pests before they reach adult stage, when they eat nectar and pollen.
  • Ladybugs are well-known for their aphid-eating prowess. These round red beetles can consume 40 in one hour, putting the lacewing to shame.
  • Spiders are certainly garden bugs, but they aren’t insects; they are arachnids. They eat all kinds of beetles, aphids, worms, mites, caterpillars and unfortunately, some beneficial bugs. You don’t have to leave, but don’t get too close to that spider, it can bite!

Whether it’s for spring garden maintenance or your best outdoor living idea, contact Detailed Landscape and we’ll help you get started.