Good Bug and Bad Bug: How Can You Tell the Difference?

Lady bug

No one enjoys finding bugs crawling anywhere – not in the house, on your clean floors, nor in the dirt and plants of your backyard, where they naturally roam. Bugs just aren’t a pleasant sight, as they crawl, creep, and scatter along wherever they’ve been spotted. In the spur of the moment, watching an insect flit past us, our instincts tend to be to immediately squish, squash or step. After all, you don’t want to find yourself cuddling that same bug later on while you’re asleep. Yet not all bugs are bad or dangerous. In fact, some can be downright helpful for your garden, protecting against other insects, or even keeping your home surroundings under control. You just need to know which bugs are good – and which need to go.

The Bad Bugs

Earwigs: You’ve probably found an earwig or two crawling around in your yard – or worse, your home – marked with their trademark pincers attached to their abdomens. Earwigs are most certainly a “bad bug” as they’re an insect known for demolishing precious plants. If you have a garden full of plants you love, you’ll want to sweep it clean of earwigs. These reddish-brown or black bugs feed on plants of all kinds, from lettuce and fruits like strawberries to roses, dahlias, and other beautiful flowers. Though they aren’t poisonous, earwigs will “bite” humans with their sharp and stinging pincers.

Mexican Bean Beetles: The Mexican Bean Beetle is a well-known pest, one that’s notorious for killing off plant after plant in any garden. Though a close relative of the lady bug, the Mexican Bean Beetle causes considerable damage – their favorite crops to destroy are any in the legume family, such as green beans, lima beans, and wax beans. You can spot these damaging bugs thanks to their copper coloring and eight black wing spots.

The Good Bugs

Lady Bugs: A bug known by many names, from lady bug to lady bird, to lady beetle, this insect is harmless and friendly with really nice looking skin. You probably have fond memories of catching a few during your childhood days – and lady bugs are just as sweet as you remember. In fact, they aren’t even considered a true bug, though more than 450 species of the lady bug are native to North America. They cause no harm at all, and are drawn only to other insects rather than humans. If your garden features aphids, scale, or other soft-bodied bugs, you’ll find lady bugs around.

Spined Soldier Bugs: Any bug with a sharp, spiney appearance and disgusting smell may seem dangerous, but this isn’t the case with the Spined Soldier Bug. Although it’s the most common type of stink bug in North America, its spines cause no harm to humans. The Spined Soldier Bug loves feasting on potato, tomato, corn, apple, and even onion plants, but they aren’t there to destroy your crops; they just want to prey on the other insects trying to ruin your plants such as the Mexican Bean Beetle and grubs. This beetle harpoons only its insect enemies, not humans.