In the insect world, there are many beneficial bugs that help the environment, even if you would prefer that they stay out of your home. In honor of Valentine’s Day, here’s a look at some bugs to love.
Mantis: Also called a mantid, this insect is not worth calling the pest exterminator to get rid of. They spend their time in the grass or on plants where other bugs live because they are predators of harmful insects. The diet of a mantis includes moths, crickets, flies, grasshoppers and other mantids. Their predatory habits make them beneficial bugs to have in the garden.
Lovebug: This insect is black with a red thorax. They are most commonly seen flying in male and female pairs joined together, which is where their name comes from. Unlike their closest relatives—biting midges, mosquitoes, fungus gnats and sand flies—lovebugs are quite harmless. They don’t bite, string or pose a threat to your garden, but they might make a mess of your car. In fact, lovebug larvae are important for decomposing plant material to make rich soil.
Ladybug: You are probably already fond of the sweet little ladybug, with its bright red color and lovable black spots. Gardeners prize them for another reason, though: ladybugs eat aphids and other plant-destroying insects. In the 3- to 6-week life of a ladybug, it might devour 5,000 aphids. This harmless insect just got a little more lovable!
Bee: While this insect scares many people because of its stinger, there would be a whole lot less vegetation and flowers if bees weren’t around. Thousands of vegetable and flower varieties rely on bees for pollination. Plus, if you’ve ever enjoyed honey on your toast, beeswax in your cosmetics, or royal jelly in your dietary supplements, you have the bees to thank.
Kissing Bug: This grenade-shaped insect with an elongated head and reddish-orange spots along its sides has a sweet name, but it isn’t as sweet as other beneficial bugs. The insect gets its name from a habit it has of biting humans around the mouth. While this is an unpleasant characteristic of the kissing bug, they also prey on other harmful insects, such as bedbugs, making them more worth loving than other species belonging to the insect world.
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