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Good vs. Bad Bugs in Your Garden

I love gardening and have years of experience dealing with pests and helping my plants thrive.

the-good-the-bad-and-the-bugly

The Good, the Bad, and the Bugly (or How to Hire an Assassin)

To help give our plants the best chance to survive and thrive, it is essential to initiate some form of pest control in our gardens. The best way to do this is not by resorting to deadly sprays and poisons which will destroy Mother Nature's carefully designed ecosystem, but by simply learning who eats whom.

To do this, we divide our garden predators into two simple categories—good bugs and bad bugs. Bad bugs include all those creatures who like to munch on our prized fruit and vegetables and favourite flowering plants. Most of these bugs have, at various stages of their development, other natural predators. These are the ones we call the good bugs. (I will use the term 'bugs' here more widely than to just refer to insects. I will also include spiders, lizards, frogs, bats, birds, and fish.)

We might wonder: "If the bad bugs' main purpose is to eat all our fruit and vegetables and destroy our crops, why did God create them?" Well, everything does have a purpose. It's just that the purpose may be at odds with our priorities. For instance, in spring, when birds are busy feeding their newly hatched chicks, nature supplies them with a smorgasbord of emerging grubs and caterpillars. It isn't God or Nature's fault that those bugs' preferred food source is found in our vegetable garden.

That being said, it's not wrong for us to help nature take its course and encourage and attract the good bugs to our garden to feast on their natural prey. In this article, you may have to turn your concept of good and bad upside down because the creatures we employ to exterminate others are the ones we call the good bugs, and their victims are the bad bugs.

Backyard vegetable garden.

Backyard vegetable garden.

Ants farming aphids for milking on a 'cancer' plant at the front of my house.

Ants farming aphids for milking on a 'cancer' plant at the front of my house.

Bad Bugs

Here is a list of many of the bad bugs that you may find in your garden. (Please note that I am based in Australia so the list of bugs I include here may or may not correspond with what is found in gardens in other parts of the world.) I am sure, though, that insect species are probably more widespread than other animal species which often tend to be exclusive to certain countries or regions. (The book Good Bug, Bad Bug by Jessica Waliser discusses bugs more specific to North America, along with great photos, and I recommend it to my Northern Hemisphere friends.) I will provide additional details with some of these, others I will just provide the name.

  • Ants can be both bad and good bugs. Their farming of aphids can leave the plant covered in unsightly black bubbles or spots and can eventually shorten the life of the plant. I also found that ants seemed to infest and spoil the calixes of rosella plants I was growing, but whether this was also the result of aphid infestation I'm not sure.
  • Aphids gather in pale green clusters at the tips of new growth. They suck the soft green stems, leaves, and buds of plants such as citrus, roses, hibiscus, gardenia and hydrangea. Ants farm them for milk, and a trail of black ants on a plant usually leads to aphids.
  • Apple Worm
  • Bean Beetle
  • Borers or Termites attack wattle and older trees. A tell-tale sign is a split in the bark surrounded by white sawdust.
  • Cabbage Moth/Butterfly is a small yellowish coloured butterfly which lay its eggs on cabbages, broccoli or cauliflower, on which the larvae then feeds.
  • Cane Toads are a pest even though they eat huge quantities of insects. They have an insatiable appetite and also prey on native frogs, lizards, good bugs, your dog and cat's food, and poison many native wildlife and water supplies.
  • Carrot Fly
  • Click Beetles and Wire Worms. Wire worms are the destructive root eating larval stage of the click beetles that children love to play with.
  • Cockroaches breed like crazy in bark and wood chip mulch, so never use those. It is much better to use high-grade lucern or hay mulch instead. Trying to poison them will kill good bugs too. chickens and guinea fowl can help keep them under control.
  • Codling Moth and Fruit Fly lay their eggs in your eagerly awaited fruit just before they are ripe enough to pick.
  • Cucumber Beetle
  • Cut Worms live just under the soil surface, ready to munch on seedlings as soon as you plant them.
  • Earwigs sleep in a high dry place during the day, then dine at night, so they are hard to find. They especially love eating dahlias and hollyhocks.
Cane toads are a pest even though they eat huge quantities of insects.

Cane toads are a pest even though they eat huge quantities of insects.

  • Grasshoppers can decimate your garden if left unchecked, though adults hate water so a good hosing will get them moving. If you attract birds to your garden they will have a feast on them.
  • Harlequin Bug
  • Hornworm Caterpillars "What's big, fat, and green, with bright markings and a spiked tail?" "A hornworm caterpillar, that's what!" These are voracious eaters and hard to see among the leaves.
  • Ladybirds (Ladybugs) with 26 and 28 spots only. These are hungry plant eaters so are classified as bad bugs, whereas all the other varieties are insectivorous and therefore good bugs.
  • Lawn Grubs cause the brown patches in the lawn from winter to mid-summer. They thrive in long dry spells and emerge as the African Black Beetle. they dislike wet soil so a constantly watered lawn will leave them to rot and die.
  • Leaf Miners are too small to see but evidence of their activity is a lacy white pattern on the leaves of plants. They eat the flesh between the upper and lower skin of the leaf.
  • Mealy Bugs look like fluffy white dust on the stems of plants. They are partial to the lower stems of canes, palms and house plants.
  • Mosquitoes will seek out any water receptacles or ponds in which to lay their larvae, so turn all buckets, wheelbarrows, etc. upside down so they can't gather water when it rains.
  • Nematodes
  • Slaters are flat and grey and look a little like tiny armadillos. They will also quickly demolish your seedlings.
  • Slugs and Snails are night feeders that, because they move on slime, prefer a damp, shady environment. They often congregate under the shady lip of a plant pot, in empty pots or on the side of bricks.
Good Bugs for Your Garden

Good Bugs for Your Garden

Beneficial Insects (Bennies)

One of the "in" words among today's pest management specialists, "bennie," short for beneficial—those good bug predators and parasitoids that help your garden thrive.

Employing Deadly Assassins in Your Garden

There are literally thousands of willing workers that will freely assist with pest management and many other jobs in your garden if you just supply their needs. Natural pest management is not about substituting organic pesticides for chemical ones. Organic sprays can chase away or kill beneficial insects as well as the pests and should be used as a last resort.

We need to utilise a range of smart strategies to ensure a balanced ecosystem is created so that for every bug that wants to eat your plants, there are six or seven others that want to eat it or its larvae.

Let's take a look at some of the highly efficient assassins available for hire to bump off the enemies of your garden.

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Good Bugs and Other Hired Assassins

  • Ants can be both good or bad bugs. They are the self-appointed garbage collectors or funeral directors of your garden, clearing away the dead bodies and shells of other unfortunate creatures. However, their liking for harvesting aphids and their invasiveness can make them a pest.
  • Assassin Bugs are efficient killers that use their large proboscis to stab, paralyze and kill their prey such as caterpillars, grasshoppers, and green vegetable bugs. They then inject a powerful enzyme which liquefies their prey's internal organs so they can drink them.
  • Bats: small insectivorous bats fly around at night, sometimes devouring over 500 insects an hour.
  • Bees: even though they aren't predators, both the honey bee and small native bee are essential to every garden, feeding in pollen and nectar and helping to pollinate our precious plants and flowers.
  • Beetles: although some are pests, many others such as ground beetles and bombardier beetles are great assets in our garden. They prey as larvae and adults on such things as caterpillars, cutworms, march flies, nematodes, fruit fly larvae, slugs, snails, thrips, aphids, ant, termites and grasshopper eggs.
  • Birds: small birds like fantails, flycatchers, robins, wrens, and willy wagtails are welcome visitors to the garden as they eat a wide variety of pests. it is good to plant some native shrubs with small spiky leaves to provide them with nesting sites safe from larger birds.
  • Butterflies, though their caterpillar larvae are partial to making a meal of some of our plants, the adult butterflies make up for it by helping to pollinate and beautify our garden by their presence.
  • Centipedes, which are not often warmly welcomed in the garden due to their potentially nasty sting, nevertheless are good assassins who love to dine on slugs.
  • Dobson Fly: although the adult flies are vegetarians, the larvae are aquatic and large amounts of mosquito larvae.
  • Dragonflies and Damselflies, as adults, deftly catch flies, mosquitoes, and other flying insects in the air, while their larvae live in the water and hungrily devour mosquito wrigglers. A small garden pond is a good investment to encourage these effective workers to move in.
Some birds, like this Willy Wagtail, help control insect populations.

Some birds, like this Willy Wagtail, help control insect populations.

  • Frogs can also be lured by a pond and are efficient assassins of many pests including moths, cockroaches, flies, and grasshoppers.
  • Hoverflies are one of the most valuable of the good bugs to have in your garden. These clever flies imitate bees and wasps to avoid being attacked as they hover over plants waiting for prey like aphids, beetles, and caterpillars. They lay their eggs in aphids so their offspring have a plentiful food supply when they hatch. Hoverflies also need nectar and pollen, so like bees, help to pollinate the plants in your garden.
  • Lacewings: the beautiful iridescent adults fly around at night feeding on pollen and honeydew, while their hungry larvae feed on aphids, mealy bugs, mites, scale, thrip eggs, and white fly. They are so helpful as aphid controllers that they are produced commercially and sold to greenhouses and to the agricultural industry.
  • Ladybirds (ladybugs) are one of our most important allies at keeping aphids under control. They come in many colours and spots, but make sure you identify the bad 26 and 28 spot varieties as they are notorious plant munchers.
  • Lizards are valuable to the garden as they eat a wide range of insect pests. The most common type found in suburban gardens are usually skinks and geckos which appreciate shelter such as rocks and logs as protection from birds and cats.
  • Praying Mantises: both the adults and larvae eat a wide range of smaller insects including the cabbage moth. In fact the often lay in wait to pounce on the predators of the lower pests when they move in for the kill. their presence is a good indicator of a balanced ecosystem.
  • Robber Flies: these relatively large flies catch pests on the wing and, like the assassin bug, inject their prey with an enzyme so that they can drink the insides.
  • Snakes. Now I know snakes are not welcome in many gardens, but they are often a valuable asset in larger market gardens and farms, especially where things like sugar cane, corn, or bananas are gown as they control the mice and rat population. Generally, if you treat them with respect and give them a wide berth, they can work for you in return. Most snakes will die if they eat a cane toad, except for the harmless keelback snake which seems to be able to eat young toads with no ill effect.
  • Spiders are very highly evolved creatures and probably the most important predators and assassins of all. The problem is that most humans are afraid of them so they don't get much good publicity. If it wasn't for them we may not even be here because the Earth may be run by insects.
  • Wasps and Mini-Wasps are almost all useful predators or parasitoids, attacking a wide range of pests. Some wasp larvae live either in or on the bodies of their hosts such as caterpillar larvae. Many adult wasps feed on open flowers and nectar and pollen.
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Bad Bug Repelling Plants

InsectRepellent Plant

Ant

tansy, spearmint, pennyroyal

Aphid

nasturtiums, chives, tobacco

Aphid (woolly)

chives, clover

Bean beetle

marigolds, onions, potatoes, turnips, white geraniums

Borer

lavender, tansy

Cabbage moth/butterfly

peppermint/tomato

Carrot fly

parsley

Codling moth

common oleander

Cucumber beetle

radish, tansy

Grasshopper

larkspur, horehound

Harlequin bug

onion, radish, turnips

Japanese beetle

garlic, larkspur, rue

Leaf hopper

geraniums

Mosquito

balm of gilead, fleabane, lavender, santolina

Moth

rosemary (dried), santolina

Nematode

French lavender, marigolds, mustard

Stink bug

Jerusalem artichoke, radish

Thrip

marigolds, nasturtiums, tobacco

White fly

marigolds, nasturtiums, rhubarb

companion-planting-in-the-garden-good-and-bad-neighbours

Good Bug Attracting Plants

Plantinsect Attracted

Amaranth

ground and bombadier beetles

Anise, Celery (in flower), Dandelion, Marguerite daisy

wasps

Chamomile, Chervil, Hyssop, Marigold, Mint

hoverflies, wasps

Poinsettia flowers

hoverflies

Clover

ground beetles, woolly apple aphid parasites

Hawthorn

diamondback moth larvae

Ivy

houseflies, wasps

Mustard

wide variety of parasites

Ragweed

oriental fruit moth larvae, strawberry leaf bugs

Stinging nettle

many beneficial insects

Strawberry

oriental fruit moth larvae

Sunflower

lacewings, wasps

Tansy

ladybirds

Yarrow

ladybirds, wasps

Companion planting to disguise the shape and smell of your veggies and attract and distract various bugs also helps, as does creating healthy soil by mulching, composting, and crop rotation. The healthier your plants are, the more resistant they will be to attack by pests and disease.

For more detailed information on companion planting see my other article, "Companion Planting (Good and Bad Neighbours)".

Front yard vegetables in pots

Front yard vegetables in pots

References

The Permaculture Home Gardener by Linda Woodrow

Intimate Secrets of a Flamboyant Gardener by Babs Corbett

Companion Gardening in Australia by Judith Collins

Paradise in Your Garden by Jenny Allen

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2014 John Hansen

Comments

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on May 12, 2020:

There ar out of different types of wood bugs, ca you decide them? They may be sowbugs or pillbugs. Unless they are harming a desirable tree I wouldn’t worry about them. Some just live in dead wood and won’t cause any harm.

Roxy on May 12, 2020:

I have wood bugs in my flower garden is this ok?

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on March 25, 2020:

Thank you Joseph. I hope this was helpful.

Joseph Kojo Nyame on March 24, 2020:

Very nice lesson on gardening and farming.

Thanks for given such an insight,

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 24, 2014:

Thank you Glenn, you too.

Glenn Stok from Long Island, NY on December 22, 2014:

Steel frame homes definitely solve that problem. Some buildings are constructed like that here too, but usually not homes. You and your family have a wonderful holiday too.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 21, 2014:

Yes Glenn, the termites certainly attack homes around here as well. In fact where I live you can't have a wooden fram home. Most are steel frame and colorbond metal siding or brick/besser brick. Thanks for reading another of my hubs, and have a great festive season.

Glenn Stok from Long Island, NY on December 21, 2014:

It looks like we share many of the same insects here in the US as you have in Australia. You have termites that you said bore into trees. I'm not sure if you also have the problem that we have, and that is that they attack our homes. Many people need to carefully monitor the situation and catch them before they do major damage. Some people have had structural damage that require major reconstruction due to termites.

I found your hub very complete and informative. Lots of useful and interesting information.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on August 13, 2014:

I wish I knew what was going on with Hub Pages at the moment. This hub was ranked in the 80s and suddenly dropped to a score of 60. I even added a video and it dropped even further to 58. Crazy.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on August 11, 2014:

Yes Midget, the butterfly is amazing.

Midget38 on August 11, 2014:

John, my favorite assassin is the butterfly!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on June 11, 2014:

Thanks for reading Peg and for you,interesting comment as well. Those floating spider webs may be a bit hard to live with..lol. I particularly don't like grasshoppers but I am learning to control them. Glad this hub was helpful.

Peg Cole from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on June 11, 2014:

Your incredible run down on these garden visitors is amazing. I've seen most of these specimens over the years and a few that may not be in your neck of the woods. We've noticed that different species show up at different times. Sometimes we have the invasion of the grasshoppers, or the horde of dragonflies or the rampant floating spider webs that creep me out.

The photos of your garden are beautiful and I learned quite a lot from your well researched hub.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on May 04, 2014:

Thanks for reading teaches, and for the kind comment. Yes ants can be a problem here too. I don't mind them doing their work outside, but wish they'd stay there and not try to come inside. Anyway, hope this hub proves helpful.

Dianna Mendez on May 04, 2014:

This should be a seminar or a TV show segment on good gardening. I know ants are hard workers, but I do not care for them at all. In Florida, they seem to be the one pest that presents problems for everyone. However, your advice on both good and bad is right on.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on May 04, 2014:

haha mythbuster. I admit some of these bugs used to give me the heebie jeebies too, but i've gotten better since I moved to the country...not much choice. I do hope you can pluck up the courage to read the rest of the hub before the end of Winter though. The cold snap has started here too.

mythbuster from Utopia, Oz, You Decide on May 04, 2014:

Wow, I think I have bug-o-phobia or something. Admittedly, I did not read the entire hub (but I will come back and do so!)... I got thinking graphically about the bugs you were describing and got the heebie jeebies lol I can deal with ANTS and APHIDS today... will deal with the rest another day (luckily, it's May and it's SNOWING still where I live, so I'm not ready for gardening yet).

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on May 04, 2014:

Thank you Marie. :)

Marie Flint from Jacksonville, FL USA on May 04, 2014:

I love you title on this one.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on May 04, 2014:

Availiasvision, what an interesting name! Glad this title got you in. I was hoping it wasn't too cheesy...lol. Thanks for reading and commenting.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on May 04, 2014:

Hello Heidi, thank you for reading, voting up and sharng. You are right employing an army of beneficial nematodes was a good move, also watering the lawn regularly forces the grubs out of the lawn or drowns them and makes them rot as well.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on May 04, 2014:

Thank you for reading this Stephanie and printing it out for your husbands reference. It is always preferable to employ the good bugs in preference to using pesticide.

Jennifer Arnett from California on May 03, 2014:

I clicked on this Hub, because your title is one of the funniest I have ever seen. Very catchy!

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on May 03, 2014:

Excellent review of beneficial "assassins" in our gardens! Several years ago, my just planted front lawn got completely destroyed by grubs. Because I have dogs, I did not want to use poisonous chemicals to rid the lawn of these pests. So I "employed" some beneficial nematodes/microorganisms (sold as Grub Guard Beneficial Nematodes) which feed on grubs. My lawn recovered and I send in an army of microorganism reinforcements once or twice a year (just did that yesterday). Voted up, useful, interesting and sharing!

Stephanie Henkel from USA on May 03, 2014:

I love the idea of using companion planting and attracting "good" bugs to my gardens rather than using pesticides because I'm always concerned about the birds. Your article has so much information! I'm going to print it out for my husband's gardening references. Great job!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on May 01, 2014:

Thanks again parrster. I am grateful for you reading so many of my hubs. It was a pleasant surprise reading my emails today. Much appreciated. Good luck with the lawn grubs.

Richard Parr from Australia on May 01, 2014:

Thanks for this Jodah, very helpful. I have an ongoing problem with lawn grubs, especially with all the dry spells over the past few seasons. I never knew the solution was as simple as regular watering. Voted up and useful

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 26, 2014:

Word55, thank you for such a kind comment. I do enjoy living where I do. It is appreciative and supportive readers like yourself that make writing here a pleasure.

Al Wordlaw from Chicago on April 26, 2014:

Very informative Jodah, I bet you have a beautiful spread there. Thanks for writing this article. You're an asset to hub pages.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 26, 2014:

Thank you again Kim. I am glad you enjoyed this article and hope you find it helpful. Vote up and share much appreciated.

ocfireflies from North Carolina on April 26, 2014:

Awesome in so many ways and a "green" hub for sure.

V+/Share because such an informative piece so many can use and so many of us can learn from--

Blessings,

Kim

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 25, 2014:

My pleasure Alicia. It takes a bit of effort for me to write a hub like this because there is so much information to try to pack in. It's probably why my gardening/Permaculture etc. articles are few and far between and I write mainly poetry. But it is good and necessary to share my knowledge occasionally..haha.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on April 25, 2014:

This is a very useful hub that is full of great information, Jodah. Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge and experience.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 25, 2014:

Thanks for reading, your kind comment and sharing this with others Nellieanna. Using what nature provides to do the work for you is the way to go. There are too many chemical being used in every facet of life, we need to get away from that.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 25, 2014:

Wow Eric, your water sounds scary, if it can kill aphids. I can't imagine having to buy ladybugs, they are everywhere here. Thanks for your kind comment.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 25, 2014:

Thanks for reading and commenting Frank. Glad you found it an interesting read.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 25, 2014:

Hey Ruby, yes ladybugs are cute, but deadly assassins...lol..and some are better than others. Just try not to think of them freezing outside. Glad you have flowers in your garden. It sounds like you have plenty of good bugs there. Thanks for your comment.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 25, 2014:

Thanks for reading Jamie.

Nellieanna Hay from TEXAS on April 25, 2014:

This article almost inspires me to get busy gardening again. I just love the premise of using natural predators to deal with natural garden enemies and I love using plants to fight back against enemy bad bugs. I am going to recommend this article to a couple of people who will appreciate it! Thank you for your excellent organization of this valuable information, John!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 25, 2014:

Hey dragonfly, thanks for reading. Glad the soldier bug was ready to battle those bad bugs.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on April 25, 2014:

Very cool article. We sometimes have to buy Ladybugs. But our water here is so filled with chemies that you can kill aphids by just watering the plants.

Thank you much for this important hub.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 25, 2014:

Thanks for reading and commenting Shauna, much appreciated. It is hard to cope with snakes in the garden. I try discourage them and move them on, unless they are harmless like a green tree snake. Brown snakes are our biggest worry because they are deadly. Luckily we don't see them often. Glad to know we have most of the same bugs.

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on April 25, 2014:

Jodah this was educational, and fun to read.. interesting and worth it

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on April 25, 2014:

I like ladybugs, they are so cute.This is an interesting article and very helpful. I plant flowers and a garden every year. I was mowing my yard last week and saw a snake. It was brown with stripes. I almost stopped mowing, i'm so afraid of them. I had some ladybugs in my house this winter. I picked them up and put them outside, couldn't stand to hurt them but i guess they froze. yuck..

Jamie Lee Hamann from Reno NV on April 25, 2014:

Well researched and well written hub. Jamie

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on April 25, 2014:

Beautiful photos here and so many creepy crawlies I have seen many bugs lately and have decided to let them free.

dragonflycolor on April 25, 2014:

I saw a soldier bug inside my house a couple days ago. He looked ready for battle!

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on April 25, 2014:

Jodah, we have most of the bugs you mention here in Florida. This hub is very useful for that reason. I see black snakes in my yard quite frequently. They're sometimes called garden snakes. As long as they don't get close to me, I just let them do their thing.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 25, 2014:

Hi MeKenzie, i really appreciate your visit and comment. Glad you found this hub interesting and learnt about some new bugs. Thanks also for sharing this on your FB writers page I will check that out and your profile.

Susan Ream from Michigan on April 25, 2014:

Jodah, I just learned about the existence of bugs I never knew existed and not sure I wanted to either. ;)

Actually, this was a very informative article and one that any gardener will be happy to keep bookmarked - I know I will and I might meet some new critters this year as I'll surely be inspecting my plants much closer as a result of this hub.

Thanks for taking the time to put together an extremely useful and illustrative hub!

I will be featuring this on my FB writers page. If you want to see it featured go to my profile.

Mekenzie

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 25, 2014:

Thanks Theresa. I really hope you find the info in this hub useful with your gardening. thanks for sharing too.

Theresa Ast from Atlanta, Georgia on April 25, 2014:

Jodah - What a wonderful colorful interesting and informative Hub. I don't grow much, tomatoes, peppers, Iris, and an assortment of bushes, but I will be back to peruse this from time to time. Great Hub! Sharing. Theresa

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 25, 2014:

Hi Bill, thanks for reading and your kind comment. Sounds like you need a few centipedes in you garden to handle those slugs. Chickens are good, but ducks and guinea fowl are even better best controllers, though ducks are too messy.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 25, 2014:

Thanks Jackie. have been working on this one for a few days. That's why I haven't published any poetry recently. I am glad it was worth it and glad it's helpful.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on April 25, 2014:

Such a clever title and hub, John. Here it is aphids and slugs we have to battle with constantly. The chickens do a good job on aphids....slugs are always a problem. Thanks for the information and entertainment.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on April 25, 2014:

You have really socked it to us on this one John; a very thorough article. I appreciate it too, just getting my garden plants started in my raised garden. I know I have a black snake somewhere around but I hope he does most of his work on the night shift! ^

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 25, 2014:

Hi Lady Fiddler, thanks for reading and your generous comment. I used to have trouble with certain bugs but I'm getting better.

Joanna Chandler from On Planet Earth on April 25, 2014:

Good morning Jodah, very informative hub and well written. Bugs and worms freaks me out. Thanks much for taking the time to write such an in-dept hub for us.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 25, 2014:

Thanks for your kind comment Msdora. I am glad you found this hub interesting. All the best for you too.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 25, 2014:

Thank you very much for your kind comment Faith. I'm glad I could teach you something new. As for 'hub of the day'...I have never had one before, and I doubt I ever will, even with this one which I have been working on for three days. I will have a good weekend thanks, you too.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 25, 2014:

Hi Flourish, that must have been a scary experience for your mother. Fancy picking a snake. I have heard of snake beans...haha. I don't really like them in the garden either as some are not easy to identify.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on April 25, 2014:

Great article, Jodah. Thanks for the descriptions, explanations and suggestions for garden improvement. I like your observation that, "the purpose may be at odds with our priorities." Good for gardening and all of life.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on April 25, 2014:

Fascinating hub here, Jodah! This should get HOTD no doubt about it. I learned a lot here. When I was younger, I did not know about there being "good" bugs and "bad" bugs, but did realize later, there are both for good reason!

I am terrified of snakes, but I can see how they would be useful in the scenarios you have discussed here.

I really enjoyed reading this comprehensive hub here and you covered the topic so well. Excellent hub and I enjoyed reading about all of your experience in this field as well, very interesting.

Up and more, tweeting, pinning and sharing

I hope you and your family have a lovely weekend ahead.

Blessings

FlourishAnyway from USA on April 25, 2014:

If I ever found a snake in my garden I may never go outside again! My mother was picking string beans once and picked a garden snake that was hanging from the vine. Gives me the willies to even think of it.