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MAY 02 2022 /
We’re going over the good, bad, and ugly insects in Charlotte NC! Here’s how we rank these insects — good insects are beneficial to your environment, so we recommend attracting them to your yard. Bad insects should be removed because they can be a nuisance or even dangerous. And while ugly insects are the ones who get a bad rap, they are fine to have around your home and yard. Let’s dive right into our list of good, bad, and ugly insects!
Bees are not only good for your garden, they are excellent for the environment! These pollinators are undoubtedly important for our ecosystem, so encourage them to visit your yard as much as possible by adding bee-friendly plants to your outdoor spaces. Purple, violet, and blue flowers are especially attractive to most bee types. Avoid planting hybrid flower species, as even organic varieties have added chemicals as a defense against pest infestations. Plant a large variety of these bee-friendly flowers and herbs:
Like bees, butterflies are also pollinators that are attracted to nectar. Their wing colors and patterns make them a delight to have floating about in the garden. However, butterflies are a little more particular than bees when it comes to which flowers they like to collect pollen from. Butterfly-approved flowers usually require full sun and should have a flat top for ease of collecting pollen. Flowers with layers of petals, like roses, make it difficult for them to reach areas where the nectar is located. Here are the top plants for attracting butterflies:
The dragonfly has a very positive impact on the environment. As carnivores, they eat a lot of the menacing pests us humans can’t stand, like mosquitoes. Their larvae live underwater and feed on the mosquito larvae also found in water. As they grow and get their wings, they continue to eat mosquitoes through adulthood. If you’re ever lost in the woods (which we hope never happens) look for dragonflies as a sign that there’s fresh water nearby!
Lacewings look like a smaller, less ornate, version of a dragonfly. Their bright neon green bodies and long wings help them blend in with plant leaves. Gardeners will want to encourage lacewings to visit because their main source of food are aphids and flower pollen. As nocturnal insects, you may not see them as often as the other insects on this list. Make sure they fly to your garden by adding plants of the Asteraceae and Apiaceae family, which include coreopsis, sunflowers, and cosmos.
Who doesn’t love ladybugs? They’re a symbol for spring and summer and are thought to be good luck. What’s more, they eat a lot of destructive pests that damage indoor and outdoor plants like aphids and mealybugs. You can actually purchase live ladybugs you can release into your yard as a headstart on attracting them! Or, plant the following to make sure they come into your garden:
Lightning bugs, also known as fireflies, are one of the most beloved bugs on this list! Their light show is spectacular to see, and they are especially common here in the Carolinas and other parts of the South. These small flying insects feed on nectar and mainly live in grass and shrubbery. Because they don’t bite, sting, or attack, they are indeed beneficial to humans! To attract fireflies, mow your lawn at a higher length and plant native pine trees.
Praying mantis’ are one of the best insects found in Charlotte NC. They are skilled hunters that eat cockroaches, moths, mosquitoes, flies, and aphids. Do keep in mind that they may eat beneficial insects as well. Be aware that these insects should never be bought, as there are many invasive species that can do more harm than good. The native Carolina mantis is brown-green with a freckled body, non-native species tend to be more flashy in looks. Attract local mantis’ by keeping various shrubs of the rose and raspberry variety in your yard.
Soldier bugs, or stink bugs, are extremely common in Charlotte NC and can be found literally everywhere! Most people assume these bizarre looking beetles are harmful because of their smell, but they are actually very beneficial. These predators eat pollen and up to 50 different types of insects — significantly reducing the number of pests in your garden. Unlike some insects, they don’t transmit any diseases to your plants, so don’t be afraid to attract a little stink bug! In particular, soldier bugs love flowers from the daisy family, as well as culinary herbs in bloom. To keep them around, be sure to not disturb the soil in your yard during the winter months where the pupae overwinter.
Aphids are a pain to have in your garden. They suck the sap of your plants with their specialized mouthparts and act as vectors for plant viruses. In just a short amount of time, these pests can ruin your plants and destroy your fruit and vegetable gardens. Deter aphids by attracting the beneficial insects that love to feed on aphids — ladybugs, praying mantis, lacewings, and soldier bugs. You can also spray insecticidal soap on non-edible plants to get rid of growing populations.
Cankerworms are the reason trees must be banded every fall. As inchworms, these pests climb up large trees and eat the leaves at a rapid rate. This behavior causes damage and stress to otherwise healthy trees. Large outbreaks of cankerworms can destroy beautiful trees that have been growing for years. Eventually, these inchworms transform into geometer moths. While these moths are usually considered to be good pollinators, the damage caused by their larvae outweighs any benefits. To stop cankerworms, band your trees in the late fall after all of the leaves have fallen. Wrap the trunks of the trees to catch any inchworms attempting to climb upwards.
Cockroaches are one of the worst pests on this list and are, unfortunately, a common insect in Charlotte NC. In a nutshell, these pests contaminate food and water supplies and spread bacteria and diseases to humans. They are not an insect you should tolerate, so do whatever you can to get them out of the yard and away from your home. As the most resilient creature on the planet, DIY methods fall short when trying to eliminate cockroaches. Professional pest control can effectively manage cockroach populations so that you don’t have to worry about them.
If you have never seen a grub, consider yourself lucky. These atrocious looking pests will send a shiver down your spine once you see how they move. Grubs are the larvae of several types of beetles, including the Japanese beetle. Their appearance is similar to a worm, but they are shorter and much more girthy. They tend to burrow in the soil and can sabotage your lawn by feeding on your grass’ roots. When left to their own devices, grubs will turn your once lush and green lawn into a carpet of brown, dead grass. While attracting birds to your home or owning chickens may help control grubs, treating your soil with insecticides is one of the best methods to get rid of them.
The mosquito is undoubtedly one of the most annoying pests on this list. A lot of our clients call us for mosquito control because they are such a problematic insect in Charlotte NC. They spread tons of diseases to humans and our pets, so don’t hesitate to eradicate them. Some plants may deter mosquitoes, but treating your yard for them is much more practical. We can get rid of mosquitoes by spraying the areas in your yard where they tend to hide. A residual spray is strategically applied to target them and not harm beneficial insects.
Termites are a bad and plentiful insect here in Charlotte NC. They’re destructive to homes and structures and can go years without being noticed. For homeowners, this means colonies with hundreds (or thousands) of termites may be slowly eating away at your home without you even knowing it. Because of this, prevention is crucial and always recommended — even if you don’t think you have any reason to be worried about termites. Most species travel underground, so you may never see them ––– and it’s better to be safe than sorry. Fortunately, we have a terrific method for preventing and terminating termites.
Weevils are a small type of beetle with long snouts used for eating grains and other pantry items. Adult females place their eggs inside of individual grains by chewing a hole and resealing it. After hatching, the young weevil eats its way out of the food and goes on to continue reproducing. Always keep your food items and ingredients in air-tight containers to keep these pests out. If you do find weevils in your pantry, throw out all food items not kept in sealed glass jars or unopened cans. Weevils can, and will, eat their way through closed boxes, paper, and plastic.
We don’t blame you if you’re not a fan of spiders. Most people can’t stand to see the sight of one, especially in their home. Spiders are beneficial insects found in Charlotte NC because they keep a lot of pest populations in check. If spiders in the yard don’t bother you, then no harm no foul! But if you want them gone, we offer pest control services that can prevent spiders from taking over your home.
Centipedes are the definition of a creepy crawly. With 30 legs, centipedes actually help your garden in many ways. They eat decomposing matter, along with several pests like soil mites, larvae, flies, cockroaches, silverfish, and slugs. Environments with high humidity are where they prefer to live. Keep them out of your home by sealing any cracks or crevices that lead to the outside. Keep your home's humidity levels in check by repairing leaks and keeping fans on as much as possible.
Most of the above information regarding centipedes goes for earwigs, too. Earwigs are creepy to look at but are actually helpful in removing unwanted pests. However, their appearance makes them an unwanted pest to most people. If you don’t want earwigs in your home, keep your house dry and seal any openings where they may crawl through inside.
Although moths may not be as pretty as butterflies, they serve the exact same purpose. Hair on their bodies allows them to pick up pollen from every plant they land on. As excellent pollinators, moths are also used by scientists as environmental indicators to clue us in on the health of our environment. Moths are highly sensitive to their environments in terms of commercial forestry, urbanization, and pollution. Think of them as the equivalent to a canary in a coal mine.
Most people are terrified of wasps in fear of being stung. These aggressive insects will attack in groups and sting repeatedly. Avoiding an encounter with them is best, but if you live on a large property and stumble upon a wasp nest, don’t be so quick to get rid of them. Consider leaving the wasp nest if it is far from your home or areas where you spend time. Wasps are valuable in terms of pest control and kill grubs, caterpillars, and weevils. However, if they have built a nest near or inside your home, it should be removed by a professional. Trust us, you don’t want to be the one messing with their nest!
If you’re dealing with any bad pests that you want gone, we can do it for you! We want to help protect your garden and home from nuisance insects. To schedule a pest control service, click the button below!