Beneficial organism

In agriculture and gardening, a beneficial organism is any organism that benefits the growing process, including insects, arachnids, other animals, plants, bacteria, fungi, viruses, and nematodes. Benefits include pest control, pollination, and maintenance of soil health. The opposite of beneficial organisms are pests, which are organisms deemed detrimental to the growing process.

Beneficial or pest

The distinction between beneficial and pest is arbitrary, subjectively determined by examining the effect of a particular organism in a specific growing situation.

Insects

Beneficial insects can include predators (such as ladybugs) of pest insects, and pollinators (such as bees, which are an integral part of the growth cycle of many crops). Increasingly certain species of insects are managed and used to intervene where natural pollination or biological control is insufficient, usually due to human disturbance of the balance of nature.

Nematodes

Certain microscopic nematodes (worms) are beneficial in destroying and controlling populations of larvae that are damaging or deadly to crops and other plants. They are commonly used in organic gardening for their ability to kill various kinds of harmful larvae (fungus gnats, flea larvae, spidermites, weevils, grubs, rootworms, cutworms, etc.)

Animals

Birds and other animals may, by their actions, improve conditions in various growing situations, and in such cases are also beneficials. Birds assist in the spread of seeds by ingesting the fruits and berries of plants, then depositing the seeds in their droppings. Other animals, such as raccoons, bears, etc. provide similar benefits.

Plants

Plants that perform positive functions can also be considered beneficials (companion planting is one technique based on principle of beneficial plants).

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