Nature often provides the best pest protection by way of helpful bugs. These bugs canvass perennial beds and vegetable patches, chasing and chomping problem bugs. Here are some good guys you're likely to see in the garden. Assassin bugs. Eating a variety of pests, assassin bugs are light brown-green, ? to 1 inch long and have elongated heads and long antennae/ Dragonflies. Overlooked heroes of the garden, fast-flying dragonflies munch on mosquitos and gnats.
Dragonflies appear in a variety of colors anad can be up to 6 inches long. Ground beetles. Prowling the ground for soil-dwelling pests such as slugs and snails, ground beetles are about 1 inch long and iridescent black or brown. Lacewings. Also known as aphid lions, young lacewings prey on aphids and other insects. Adult lacewings are slender delicate, ?-inch-long insects with large eyes. They eat pollen. Ladybugs, or lady beetles. Perhaps the most recognizable beneficial insect, ladybugs (there are several species) devour aphids by the dozen. Learn to recognize ladybug larvae.
The yellow-and-black larvae, which to me resemble a tiny alligator, chomp down aphids. Pirate bugs. Spider mites, caterpillars, and thrips are some of the favorite entrees of the ?-inch-long black-and-silver pirate bug. Praying mantis. These 3-4-inch-long, winged brownish insects dine at night on a buffet of moths, flies, and mosquitos. Soldier bugs. Perennial beds and vegetable gardens are the favorite habitat of ?-inch-long, flat-bodied soldier beetles. Cucumber beetles, aphids, and caterpillars are common prey.