Maryland's Wild Acres
Greening your Landscape - Beneficial Bugs
Did you know that over 95% of the insects aren’t pests? Some bugs help pollinate fruits and vegetables while others take care of common garden pests. By limiting pesticide use in your yard and by providing the right type of plants, you can encourage beneficial bugs to inhabit your backyard habitat which will reduce your need for pesticides.
Steps to Encouraging Beneficial Bugs
- Design your garden or backyard to have blooming plants throughout the spring, summer and fall to provide nectar and pollen.
- Provide a water source.
- Provide shelter such as leaf litter on the ground or groundcovers.
- Have patience and tolerate a few pests until beneficial insects establish.
- Identify pest problems before treating and choose treatments according to the pest.
- If not enough beneficial insects establish in your backyard, then purchase them from a local nursery or commercial insectary.
- Resist the urge to spray when you first see damage, and if spraying is necessary, consider using safer pesticides.
Least Toxic Pest Products
|Caterpillars||Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki|
|Fungal Problems||Copper octonate
Extract of Neem oil
Potassium bicarbonate (85%)
|General Insect Pests||Capsaicin and related capsaicinoids
Extract of Neem oil
Fatty Acid Soap
Potassium salts of fatty acids
(Grubs and Fleas)
|Cedar oil (2%)
Steinernema carpocapsae (Nematodes)
|Mosquito Larvae||Bacillus thuringiensis var. iseaeliensis (10%)|
|Snails and Slugs||Iron phosphate (1%)|
|Note: While products like pyrethrum and rotenone are naturally-derived, they are broad spectrum insecticides which can kill both pests and beneficial insects. Therefore, it is best to use narrow spectrum insecticides when possible.|
Common Beneficial Bugs
||Beetles, caterpillars, other bugs||Sunflowers|
||Caterpillar eggs, fleahoppers, leafhoppers and spider mites||Clover|
|Damselflies & Dragonflies||Mosquitoes, gnats and flying insects||Open water, small ponds,
||Snails, slugs and root-feeding insects||Stone pathways, clover & compost piles|
|Honey Bees||Pollen and flower nectar||Flowers such as asters &
|Lacewings||Aphids, small caterpillars, whiteflies and thrips||Nectar plants including geraniums|
|Lady Bugs||Aphids, scales, mites and soft-bodied pests||Nectar plants including geraniums|
|Praying Mantis||Other insects||Flower & vegetable gardens|
|Predatory Flies||Caterpillars, beetle larvae and sawflies||Nectar plants|
|Predatory Wasps||Other insects||Pollen producing plants like fennel|
|Spiders||Other insects||Flower & vegetable gardens|
|Syrphid Flies||Aphids, beetles, caterpillars and thrips||Composites like dill, fennel and coreopsis|
|Wheel Bugs||Caterpillars, moths, squash bugs, cucumber beetles||Shrubs and trees|
For Additional Information, Contact:
Wildlife and Heritage Service
580 Taylor Ave, E-1
Annapolis, MD 21401
All photos by Kerry Wixted
We want to hear from you!
Letters, e-mail, photos, drawings. Let us know how successful you are as you create wildlife habitat on your property. Complete the online Habichat Reader's Survey.
Write to Me!
Natural Resources Biologist II
Maryland Wildlife and Heritage Service
MD Dept of Natural Resources
580 Taylor Ave., E-1
Annapolis MD 21401