When you first see a bug in your home, your first instinct is probably to smash it with the closest object. That, of course, is a reasonable response, but that doesn’t mean you need to kill every single bug you see. While all insects are very important to the environment, some are especially beneficial to you. These helpful insects pollinate plants; eat other more harmful insects; and more. If you’re not sure which ones to keep an eye out for, here are five insects – or other crawling critters – you’ll want to release rather than squash.

Pill bugs

You may know these critters from your childhood roly-polys. While pill bugs are crustaceans – not insects – they are still very useful to have around. They aid in the composting process due to their love on nibbling on rotting vegetables and plant matter. This makes them the perfect ‘pets’ to keep in your garden or compost pile. Even better, they’re completely harmless. Pill bugs are very docile – to the point that if you startle them, they’ll curl up into a ball. They also don’t spread any diseases or have the ability to contaminant food.


Mantis bring more than just luck into your household. This speedy killer, identified by its unusual yet regal appearance, is one of the best insects to have around your garden. They are completely harmless to humans – other than staring at you uncomfortably long – and they are natural predators. They eat nearly all of your common garden pests such as grubs, aphids, grasshoppers, and flies.


Bees are easily one of the most important insects in the world. They suffer from a lot of issues already, however, so it’s important you help them rather than harm them. Bees are responsible for most of the pollination that occurs, and they help the fruits and vegetables we eat get produced. Most species of bees are harmless – some you can even pet! – but some do have defensive mechanisms that include stinging. They are not aggressive, however, and will happily buzz on past you without any incidents so long as you don’t harm or threaten them.


Ladybugs have a lot of names, but their iconic red with black polka dot look is impossible to miss. These tiny insects are ravenous, and they will keep your garden pest free and healthy. Ladybugs feed on a wide variety of harmful insects, but their main diets include aphids, whiteflies, and lice.


Lacewigs are one of the weirder insects on this list. They’re small green insects with large white wings that look like they are composed of ‘lace’. These critters are natural garden defenders at both their larval and adult stage; in fact, they’re known as the number one predator to aphids and whiteflies. To help maintain a healthy lacewig population, other than releasing these insects back into the wild when you find them in your home, consider hiring an exterminator to control the ant population around your home as ants eat lacewing eggs.


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