by Sandy Swegel
I met a new bug this week. And really a bug…an insect scientists call a “true bug” but whose common name is “Assassin Bug”! Someone on an email list caught a picture of the assassin bug eating a bee to which my first response was “Poor bee.”
But the is the way of the insect world. All the creatures we call “beneficial insects” are beneficial because they eat bugs we don’t like. Ladybugs eat all those aphids for us, and we cheer them on. We love the predators that eat thrips and whiteflies or all the beetle eggs on squash. We’re so happy to see the insects we like eating the babies of the insects we don’t like. But sometimes the top predators aren’t too picky and they eat bees and ladybugs and butterfly caterpillars too. Fortunately, they assassinate many more bad bugs than good bugs.
The bugs at the top of the food pyramid have some great names like assassin bugs or pirate bugs They are still beneficials in our book because they are eating lots of the bad guys. Of course, they happily eat cute ladybugs and even their own siblings when they are ravenous after hatching. Keep an eye out in your garden for some of these more interesting creatures.
Beneficial Insects with Great Names:
Predatory Stink Bugs
Big Eyed Bugs
See this link for more on these predators. http://insects.about.com/od/insectpests/tp/top10beneficialinsects.htm