To a survivalist, insects are a boon.
Truly a part of the food chain, insects have their own hierarchy within their domain of what eats what. Most preppers already understand that ladybugs and praying mantises eat typical garden pests.
Moreover, without insects, flowers don’t pollinate and decaying matter doesn’t decompose. The lowliest mosquito, cockroach, and silverfish sustain the lives of other animals in our ecosystem, so think twice before squashing one.
Unless you’re planning on frying them up in a pan, there really is no reason for killing any bugs on your property.
Related: Bugs You Can Eat in a Food Crisis
1. Stink Bugs: Stink bugs are beneficial outside the house in that they eat other insects that are known for destroying crops.
If for some reason these invade your home, squashing them or vacuuming them up can cause pheromones to release. Consequently, more stink bugs will appear.
There are differences between good and bad stink bugs, and some look a lot alike. Figure out how to tell the difference between good stink bugs and bad stink bugs before reaching for your coffee grounds or essential oil sprays.
2. Antlions and Doodlebugs (antlion larvae): Antlions feed on ants, but their four-and-a-half-inch wingspan is intimidating. Larval antlions dig holes in the ground and wait for ants to fall in before snatching them up with their huge jaws.
Due to the fact that ants are their main food source, antlions and doodlebugs are most definitely good to have around.
3. House Centipedes: Multi-legged, feathery, freaky fast, and extremely undesirable in bathtubs, where they are commonly found.
These guys serve the underbelly of your home, and eat a lot of other insects, including cockroaches and moths.
Relocating these speedy bugs is next to impossible, so steer them towards any cracks leading from your home’s interior.
They eat nocturnal bugs, which is a good thing to keep in mind.
4. Mealybug Destroyer: Oftentimes mistaken for the invasive mealybug this insect feeds upon, the destroyer has curly tentacles or appendages from its dark body.
Mealybugs are almost all white and have a long tail. As a matter of fact, mealybug destroyers consume mealybugs in every stage of the mealybug life cycle.
Most insects prefer their prey either in the larval stage or adult stage. The destroyer will take them all. Mealybug destroyers also control aphid populations, which is a gardener’s delight.
5. Spiders: Never a fun find inside the home, yet they are super helpful outdoors. Spiders make great predators of pesky bugs that destroy gardens and foliage. They also go after mosquitoes and moths.
Jumping spiders eat their prey alive, so jump out of their way when you see them outside. Long-legged cellar spiders eat black widows and other spiders.
6. Parasitic wasps: Wasps like braconid wasps go after hornworm caterpillars, which destroy tomato plants. Trichogamma wasps lay their eggs inside the eggs of over 200 varieties of insect pests.
They are actually really small, so they are easy to differentiate from more threatening wasps.
7. Ground beetles: Not only is this broad category of insects helpful in eradicating insect pests and slugs, but they also feed on unwanted weeds.
Without these weed seed predators, weeds can propagate 30% more on a farm. Due to their omnivorous nature, they are helpful in eradicating either pesky insects or unwanted weeds.
When one type of food isn’t abundant, they go after the other. Unfortunately, some good beetles eat other beneficial bugs/beetles, which can become destructive in a large garden or farm.
8. Green lacewings: Often intentionally released into gardens to naturally assist in pest control, green lacewings voraciously eat everything you want them to and nothing you don’t. With their lacy wings and golden orb eyes, these good guys are fun to observe.
9. Bees and other stinging insects: Bees, wasps, and hornets have a special position in the insect kingdom. They are all important pollinators and are typically benign.
Bumblebees and honeybees are the most beneficial and least aggressive.
Yellow jackets or “meat bees” are perhaps the most annoying perpetrators at your barbeque, but they still have their place in the ecosystem. Without them, we’d have a heck of a lot more pests around.
There are plenty of ways to keep bees away from your summer picnic without killing them.
10. Assassin Bugs: Assassin bugs inject venom into their prey, and make for fantastic natural pest control. They get rid of unwanted flies, mosquitoes, and aphids.
Their bite is harmful to humans, and typically occurs when handled. Moral of the story? Don’t touch them when you see them on your property!
Flies, moths, butterflies, and beetles are equally if not more important than bees when it comes to pollinating crops.
Ants and wasps also make great pollinators.
All of these insects visit various parts of flowers, picking up pollen along the way. Because of this, the quality and quantity of pollination services naturally increase.
Non bee pollinators are a perfect supplement to bees, but not a substitute for bees. The ideal pollination of crops occurs with a diverse group of insect visits.
Related: How to Start a Beehive
Worms, flies, millipedes, and sow bugs are essential for breaking down dead or dying plant matter. Dung beetles are an excellent example of a beneficial insect performing the job nobody else wants!
They disperse seeds from clumps of feces in the process of collecting dung to feed their larvae.
Bugs You Can Eat
Survivalists are very good at recognizing lifesaving behavior. Eating insects could most very well nourish your family when other choices aren’t available.
Crickets, cicadas, ants, beetles, grubs, and grasshoppers are most commonly eaten anywhere outside the U.S. and Europe. You should cook your insects to make the experience more safe and enjoyable.
Never eat caterpillars, snails, or slugs, unless you know what they’ve been noshing on. Cooking them doesn’t always eradicate toxins, so your best bet is to stick with the safe list of known beneficial bugs.
Seeing opportunity and embracing unpopular behavior is just something preppers step to with grace. A good relationship and knowledge of insects on your property will automatically make you a better prepper.
Insects are naturals at pest control, pollination, seed dispersal and decomposition. Watching them at work is an inspiration and can be very entertaining.
When you can observe all the unique types of life on your land, respect for them naturally follows.
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