Despite what you may think, not all bugs should be banned from your garden. While there are some creepy crawlers that can wreak havoc on your petite roses, not every insect is out to turn your summer flowers into lunch. Certain bugs can not only pollinate your blossoms, but prevent the bad insects from taking over. Here are a few of the harmful bugs, as well as beneficial insects and how to attract them.

Bad Bugs

 A ladybug, (Coccinella sp., probably C. septempunctata) with aphids on a weed. by Greyson OrlandoPhoto by Greyson Orlando

1. Aphids. According to the National Gardening Association, these little critters feed on a variety of plants, sucking out the leaf juices and shriveling your foliage. They also secrete a sugary liquid called honeydew that can attract ants and cause fungus to grow on your flowers.

2. Spider mites. The source reports that these bugs usually cause silvering or stippling on the leaves of your plants and can form huge colonies on the undersides of foliage.

3. Mealybugs. These insects live in large colonies and can carry fungi and diseases to your plants, according to GardenGuides.com. They also feed on your flora, causing leaf drop, stunted growth and pale foliage.

Good Bugs

Female leopard lacewing - taken at Krohn Conservatory by Greg Hume Photo by Greg Hume

1. Ladybugs. These red and black insects are some of the most popular beneficial bugs that gardeners use, points out GardenInsects.com. They can eat about 50 to 60 aphids each day and also feed on other types of soft-bodied insects and larvae. The adults and larvae are both predators.

2. Lacewings. According to Fine Gardening Magazine, these pollen and nectar eaters are fierce predators in their larval stage, consuming all kinds of bad insects. They’re some of the most effective beneficial bugs you can introduce to your garden.

3. Beneficial Nematodes. These bugs naturally occur in soil and are wonderful at keeping tabs on soil-living insects and those that lay their eggs in the ground – all without harming your plants. They plant bacteria into their hosts, which kills them in a matter of days.

Making Your Garden Attractive

To encourage beneficial insects to make their homes in your yard, you need to provide plenty of food, water and shelter. Fine Gardening recommends keeping the soil covered with mulch to trap moisture and prevent dust, and to use overhead watering methods that will create small puddles. Plant different types of flora that will last year-round, and be sure not to use insecticides, which will kill the good bugs along with the bad.