Collage with several species of lady beetles
© 2006 Beatriz Moisset
Frank E. Lutz, an entomologist and gardener, wrote “A Lot of Insects” in which he tells us about all the six-legged fauna of his large suburban yard. He noticed that native plants were good at attracting what he called guests and residents of this realm. His property was located near the center of a small town not far from New York City. In the course of a few years, Dr. Lutz collected and identified every kind of insect that he found in his property, a grand total of 1,402 different species. Before you shrink in horror at that staggering number of buggy creatures, let me tell you that Dr. Lutz was a fine gardener and, while he was sorting out and studying the little creatures in his garden, he was winning numerous gardening awards. And he had the insects to thank for such a healthy garden.
The fact is that many, probably most, insects are invaluable components of the ecosystem. It is wise to learn to recognize and appreciate these gardener friends. A good dose of curiosity may allow you to enjoy their intriguing, sometimes perplexing, comings and goings if you manage to overcome your bias against insects.