Insects and Landscaping

Insects and landscaping often go hand in hand, but this isn't always as bad as one might assume. Wherever there are dirt and open spaces, there will likely be insects to some degree. Some of these insects may be large and unavoidable, while others may be too small to easily see with the naked eye. For homeowners who are landscaping their yard, the ability to differentiate between beneficial and destructive insects is crucial. Understanding the impact of different bugs on one's yard can help ensure that it remains a thriving and attractive environment that adds to the house's overall appeal.

The Effects of Insects

Destructive insects are pests that landscapers and homeowners will want to safely eliminate. These bugs may eat roots, leaves, or petals, spread disease, and even cause the death of one's plants or lawn. Some common problematic insects include slugs, aphids, grubs, cabbage worms, cutworms, leaf miners, and spider mites. Other bugs can interfere with one's enjoyment of their landscaping by presenting another sort of problem. Insects such as ants, wasps, hornets, mosquitoes, and fleas can bite and may even pose a serious health risk for some.

While people are often concerned about problem bugs, homeowners may not give enough credit to beneficial bugs. These bugs can help by feeding on certain destructive pests and aiding in their control, or they may be a crucial part of the pollination process. Beneficial insects include honeybees, ladybugs, praying mantises, and dragonflies. Depending on the specific spider, they may be beneficial or their bite may be harmful and poisonous.

Landscaping and Composting

Gardens are frequently a part of the plans when it comes to landscaping. To enrich the soil for one's vegetable or flower garden, a homeowner may want to start composting. Compost is a rich substance that comes from the decomposition of organic materials such as wood, lawn clippings, and food scraps that include vegetables or eggshells. This substance is used to enrich the soil for healthy plant growth.

During the process of creating compost, certain types of insects aid the decomposition and aeration of materials in the compost pile. Some insects in the pile are known as primary consumers, as they consume the decomposing or decaying organic materials that make up the pile. These insects include snails, earthworms, sow bugs, and slugs. Earthworms, for example, feed on dead plant material, which is broken down within its body and passed as rich waste that is good for the soil. Other insects, which are called secondary consumers, include soil flatworms and springtails, and these not only eat decomposing materials but also feed on nematodes and primary consumers in the compost pile. Insects that are labeled tertiary consumers are generally at the top of the composting pile and includes insects such as centipedes, carabid beetles, and predatory mites. These bugs feed on the carcasses of secondary consumers while also consuming decaying material. Insects that can become a nuisance include vinegar or fruit flies, C-shaped grubs, and houseflies.

  • Composting Toolkits and Resources for Green Home Improvement: The Composting Council understands the importance of having the right tools and information, whether one is composting for themselves or setting up a commercial organics collection program.
  • Landscaping at Home: Improvement Ideas: Caring for one's lawn can be expensive and time-consuming. Get tips on changes that can reduce maintenance costs and even improve energy-efficiency in the home.
  • Resources on Plants and Soil: Public gardens are often a source of pride for a community and those who contribute to it. Whether interested in public gardening or gardening in general, individuals will find useful resources on plants and soil by visiting this page.

Planning Home and Landscape Improvements

When planning renovations to one's home, whether they are to the inside of one's home or to the landscape, a homeowner will want to consider the cost and determine whether it is a DIY job or one that is best left for professionals. When choosing a contractor or landscape professional, hire one who is properly licensed and experienced enough to successfully complete the job. If doing the work oneself, taking a course on landscaping or renovating may prove helpful. For example, a landscaping course may help one better understand and identify insects that are helpful and those that are not. It can also teach people how to not only make one's landscape inviting for humans but for beneficial insects as well.