It’s hard not to be grossed out by pests. They’re creepy, crawly, and gross. They’re also very important. Pests fulfill essential ecological roles. Without them, we wouldn’t have most foods, flowers, rainforests, gardens, or most animals! Much as we hate to admit it, we need bugs! Unfortunately, that means we’re stuck with them.
We know what you’re thinking: “If you think bugs are so great, why are you pest controllers?!” We DO think bugs are great, but, too much of a good thing stops being a good thing. Pests are important, but when they get out of control, they throw off the world’s balance. Usually, nature would regulate them, but when us pesky humans came around, we started changing things. Well, pests changed too. Now, nature can’t quite keep up, so it needs our help. Pest management professionals pick up where nature left off, preserving the balance. It’s kind of our responsibility, really. We’re cleaning up our mess.
When you think about it, pest controllers aren’t just helping humans, we’re helping pests too! That’s why we’re doing a little PR for them. Here are four of the faithful companions we just couldn’t do without--even if we could do without them in our houses.
Bees are the world’s #1 plant pollinator. Plants like flowers, fruit, and crops need bees to reproduce. Bees feed on nectar and pollen in flowers. While they eat, some pollen sticks to them. Then, when the bee flies to the next flower, the pollen on the bee rubs onto the new flower, and voila! This process enables plant fertilization, which is how seeds develop.
If bees weren’t around, plants would die out alarmingly quickly. Almost a third of global farm output depends on bee pollination. You may have even heard the (probably fake) Einstein quote: “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the Earth, man would only have four years of life left.”
This probably comes as cold comfort if you have a nest near your house. If that’s the case, give us a call. We’ll identify if the nest is for bees, or if it belongs to one of their nastier cousins. Wasps and hornets don’t perform pollination, and they can be dangerous, so getting rid of their nests should be a priority. If the nest turns out to be a genuine bee nest, however, don’t despair! We have beekeepers on speed dial that can help safely remove it from your property without harming its inhabitants.
It’s hard not to love the ladybug. They’re just so darn cute! Well, we’ve got good news for any fans out there: they’re also one of the most helpful “pests” to have around. Ladybugs are predatory and subsist on aphids. Aphids are also known as plant lice, because the soft-bodied sap-suckers are among the most plant-destructive pests in the world. Not only do they take sap from plants, making them weak and slowing growth, they also transmit deadly plant diseases from plant-to-plant.
Ladybugs are particularly helpful to have around home gardens, because they’re great at hunting and chowing down on these plant-munching monsters. Fewer aphids in your garden will mean your plants are free to flourish, and you won’t have to worry about providing a meal for some mean green bugger.
Ladybugs make such an effective pest control partner that many gardeners purposefully attract them to their gardens in the spring. Some experts even think it’s worth harboring ladybugs in your home over the winter. That way they can help with aphids attacking your house plants, and they’ll be around come spring. We’d consider hiring them, but they’re kinda shy.
Ok… we warmed you up with the easy ones. Bumblebees and ladybugs? Who doesn’t like them? Here comes the hard sell. Contrary to popular belief, cockroaches don’t only live under dumpsters and in crummy motels. In fact, cockroaches can be found wherever there’s life, and in many parts of the world they serve very important functions.
Forest roaches, for instance, eat and break down leaf litter and other plant materials that mammals can’t eat. Without these roaches, it would be far more difficult for forest critters to get at food. Many species of cockroach are plant pollinators, particularly in tropical climates. It doesn’t sound particularly appetizing to us, but cockroaches are also an extremely important food source for a lot of animals, including lizards and birds.
We probably haven’t convinced you to put aside your roach vendetta. That’s ok. Unlike bees and ladybugs, the cockroaches that infest homes aren’t crucial to their ecosystems. In other words, we can unleash our pest control Kung Fu without fear of nature-based reprisal. If you have roaches in your house, let us know right away. We might sound soft-hearted towards the little brown beasties, but that won’t stop us from taking care of yours, trust us.
Now we have to be messing with you, right? This is the Midwest! You probably have a Captain Ahab vs. Moby Dick thing going on with mosquitoes. Well, this might help make you feel better: they’re mostly good for being eaten. Animals of all varieties and positions on the food chain rely on mosquitoes for sustenance. Fish, frogs, spiders, and other animals like them often feed on mosquito larvae as their primary food source.
If mosquitoes disappeared, these animals would have to find something new to eat or face extinction. Then, animals that feed on them would have to find something new, and so on. It’s the butterfly effect--or, in this case, the mosquito effect. Mosquitoes can also be incidental pollinators, though they’re not as important in this regard as bees or cockroaches.
If don’t mind getting abstract, also consider the effect mosquitoes have had on human civilization through history. Mosquitoes are perhaps the most effective vector for deadly diseases on the planet. Human beings stayed out of jungles and rainforests largely because of fear of mosquito-borne illness. As bad as environmental destruction is now, it could be far worse without the helpful (?) mosquito.
Alright, we’ll level with you: we don’t totally buy the mosquito thing either. It must be the Midwest in us. Mosquitoes are one pest you should never feel bad about crusading against. As for the rest, we’d humbly ask that you consider doing a little research before you bring the (literal and figurative) boot down.
Maybe check out our pest control guides or blog, or if you have an infestation, give us a call. As nasty as pests can be, they're helpful too, so it’s important that we work together to consider how we can preserve them and the environments we love. Together, we can preserve the balance of nature and save the world! (Did that sound cool? We’re working on it.)