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Beneficial Pests In South Florida

September 15, 2016

assassin bug crawling on house plant

Beneficial Insects. They seem like two words that should never be put together. How many of us actually look at an insect as beneficial; well, besides bees which we all know produce honey and help to pollinate crops which are both pretty beneficial attributes for bees to possess. Oh, and maybe spiders, although you hate to admit that they can be beneficial; but with the increased attention on mosquito-borne illness with the appearance of Zika virus, it is plain to see that spiders have a new importance in their role of devouring mosquitoes. Ok, so you’re convinced that we have two beneficial insects here in South Florida – bees and spiders. (I bet you never thought you would agree to that!)

But did you realize that there are at least 24 different beneficial insects that call South Florida home? It’s true! According to the University of Florida IFAS Extension website, there are “More than 100,000 (insect species) found in the United States alone. However, less than 1 percent of these actually feed on plants in a harmful way.” Let’s take a look at a five of the most interesting:

  • The Assassin Bug – Now here is a bug with a sinister name that implies trouble, but this bug is actually quite harmless except for the painful bite it can inflict when it is threatened. This strange bug is beneficial because it uses its curved beak to inject venom into flies, mosquitoes, earthworms, aphids, and other soft-bodied prey. The assassin bug is actually quite handy to have around.

  • The Big-Eyed Bug – This little guy looks very similar to the chinch bug except it has large eyes, and you may not want to confuse the two since these helpful little bugs like to eat chinch bugs. Any bug that will eat a chinch bug is good in my book!

  • The Lacewing – Now this is a pretty sounding name for a harmless little creature that loves to eat aphids and other small insects; and since no aphid is a good aphid, lacewings are pretty awesome little bugs.

  • The Syrphid Fly – Here is another insect that feeds on aphids making it beneficial in most people’s minds.

  • The Earwig – I bet you never thought this one would make the beneficial list, but it’s true. Earwigs feed on chinch bugs, small mole crickets, and sod webworms making them one of the good guys. According to the University of Florida, a single earwig can eat as many as 50 chinch bugs a day! That’s pretty beneficial!

The list goes on and on and contains several species of spider, bee, wasp, fly, and beetle. So you see, insects are not all bad. Of course, that is not to assume that you want large numbers of any insect invading your home, good or bad!

Insects, beneficial or not, can become a big problem for home and business owners here in South Florida, but they are never a problem for the pest control specialists here at Nozzle Nolen. We have been controlling pest populations here in South Florida for over 60 years and have the training and products in place to safely deal with any pest that you can throw at us. When pests become a problem in South Florida, help is only a call away.


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