Big assassin bug munching on a nasty leaf hopper in some bean plants.
Nasty hornworm caterpillars can defoliate a tomato plant quite rapidly
One misunderstood beneficial insect is the wasp. I am personally allergic to wasp stings, so forgive me if my photos are a bit out of focus due to a bit of distance between me and my friendly neighborhood nesting wasp. We all know that bees are the big pollinators, and have been in trouble lately due to the use of pesticides and the introduction of alien bees. But along with bees come their flying cousins, the wasps. They can sting repeatedly, and are excellent predators not just of your ankles, but of some very nasty garden pests.
Paper wasps prey on insects such as caterpillars, flies and beetle larvae which they feed to larvae. They actively forage during the day and all colony members rest on the nest at night. - Texas A&MI have seen it in my very own garden: a big ole' hornworm, all deflated and dead and eaten from, hanging by its weird little filament off a tomato branch it was in the process of defoliating. This particular wasp nesting in a little pipe coming out of my house is a paper wasp. The adults feed off nectar, pollinating as they go, but they feed their larval young bits and pieces of common garden pests, thus ridding my tomato and pepper plants from unwanted foes. I caught these pictures a day after i'd have liked - on the day prior i saw inside the paper nests little wriggling larva babies! It was pretty cool, to say the least. On this day mama wasp has covered the tips of the nest to keep her babies protected. Once she's incubated and hatched these baby wasps, they will leave the nest and never return - paper wasps only use their nests once.
So, please think twice before zapping the wasps with some nasty canned wasp killing spray. If you stay away from them, they'll most likely keep their stingers to themselves, and give you a big helping hand in the garden.