Garden Bugs at Chicago Garden

Praying Mantis at Chicago Garden.png
Right off the bat I want it to be known that I'm not an entomologist but I've managed to identify these few bugs in my garden in Chicago based on Google searches and looking at books. If you find something wrong with an ID of mine, please feel free to speak up and correct me. I present these bugs in an effort to help you understand or identify bugs you find in your garden in Chicago and want to know what they do.

The bug above is a mantis or more commonly known as a praying mantis. When I was a kid they were commonly found around here but with the development of several vacant lots they are rare.

Some of these are good, some are bad and some are ugly.

Aphids with Ladybug larva.png
The orange and black insect you see is the larva of the ladybug, the brown bugs are aphids. They ladybug you want in your garden the aphids you don't.

Blue metallic wasp.png

A metallic blue wasp. While scary looking they are beneficial in the garden.

Earwig on flower at Chicago garden.png

An earwig which is a garden pest. It will feed on fruits, vegetables, flowers and leaves.

Pill bug at Chicago garden.png

A pill bug which is better known as a rollie pollie, roly poly or doodle bug. They're usually found in damp and dark areas in the garden and feed on decaying matter. These are the bugs that roll up into a ball when disturbed.

Red-banded leafhopper bug at Chicago garden.png
The red-banded leafhopper, also known as the candy-striped leafhopper, is a garden pest. They puncture the underside of a leaf to feed. They are vectors of bacterium Xylella fastidiosa, commonly known as bacterial leaf scorch.
Lacecwing at Chicago garden.png

Green lacewings is another beneficial bug in the garden, especially when they are in the larvae stage because they are voracious predators and eat many aphids. You can attract lacewings into your garden by letting the dandelions grow, planting sunflowers, coreopsis and cosmos plants.

Webworm moth orange black and white bug at Chicago garden.png

Ailanthus webworm moth is considered an invasive insect though I haven't read much about damage it cases in the garden.

Other bugs found in my garden not pictured here that you can see in older posts include; the Japanese beetle, spotted cucumber beetle, brown garden slug, iris borer and lightning bug. I have several other photos that I don't have IDs for but as I indentify them I'll add them to this post. If you're an entomologist and you'd like to help, feel free to contact me.


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  • Didn't know that about cosmos and lacewings-- thanks. Pictures of the various damages these bugs cause would also be very helpful. btw, beautiful photographs!

  • In reply to naxn:

    Hi Xan,

    I'm going to do one about a disease one of these bugs transmits.

    Hi GardenFaerie,

    Thanks for the lead. I saw we're airing a documentary about bees that I'm going to watch.

  • Wow, some of those have gorgeous colors! In Detroit (not sure about Chicago) PBS is airing two half-hour shows starting at Backyard Butterflies and Garden Insects. Should be interesting!

  • In reply to gardenfaerie:

    Forgot to reply here because I replied on Twitter. Thanks for the heads up about the bug documentary.

  • Thanks Joe.

  • I'm going to do one about a disease one of these bugs transmits. Pest Control

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