While pollinators are lauded as the most beneficial insect to have in your garden, there are other insects that you also want around. Iowa State University Extension Entomologist Donald Lewis explains the various roles insects play in our landscape.
Lewis explains that the insects which we might perceive as a danger or a nuisance, such as wasps or bald-faced hornets, actually provide a needed service.
“They are beneficial in that they are catching caterpillars and other insects out of the garden and using that to raise their offspring to increase their numbers.”
He also notes the gruesome, yet helpful aspects of scavengers and recyclers of the insect world.
“Insects have always been chewing up dead plants, they’ve been chewing up dead animals. When road kill happens alongside the highway immediately flesh flies and blowflies will find that and that becomes a food resource for the offspring of the fly, and that begins the breakdown, the decomposition, of what otherwise could accumulate on the landscape. So this breakdown of organic matter, this recycling of nutrients is a valuable service that insects are doing for us and they’re doing it for free.”
During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Lewis and ISU extension horticulturist, Richard Jauron.