Beneficial Garden Insects: When a Bug is Not a Pest


Eeww! Our gardens have been completely overrun by insects. Bugs are not only disgusting but also harmful to the health of our gardens since they feed on the plants that we maintain to improve the appearance of our yards or to supply us with food. But before you grab the bug spray, take into account the fact that certain insects may really be quite helpful to our plants. If you want to plant organically or without using pesticides, bugs are going to be your best friends. They do a variety of tasks in our garden, such as pollinating the plants, helping us cultivate the soil, and protecting the plants from pests that may be detrimental.

The Pollinators

Our garden plants would not be able to generate offspring in the form of seeds if it were not for the pollinators. Most people are familiar with pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and hoverflies. A good number of the predatory insects that will be discussed later in this text are also important pollinators.

The Cultivators

The most well-known cultivators of our soil are earthworms because of their role in decomposing organic materials and aerating the ground. Slugs and slaters, in addition to earthworms, are important contributors to the decomposition of organic matter. Slugs and slaters have the potential to be beneficial cultivators in a garden; but, they may also become a nuisance by feeding on green foliage and fruits.

The Predators

In the same way that there are a wide range of insects that find our gardens to be a delightful feast, there are also a wide variety of insects that find these troublesome insects to be a mouthwatering treat and don’t have an adverse effect on your garden. In spite of the fact that many kinds of beetles are regarded as undesirable in gardens, ladybugs are often regarded as one of the most effective predators that a garden might have.

Ladybugs, in both their adult and their larval stages, have a ravenous hunger for a wide variety of plant pests. Your garden will benefit from the presence of lacewings, damsel bugs, aphid midges, and other insects of a similar kind. Another useful kind of beetle, the nocturnal ground beetle, feeds on a variety of pests, including slugs, snails, cutworms, and cabbage maggots, among others.

Even though it may seem to be dangerous, the praying mantis is really one of the most helpful insects that you might have in your garden.

Yellow jackets consume caterpillars, flies, and other insects that are similar to them, despite the fact that they may sting. Wasps that are parasitic do not always have venomous stingers. They may be found in a wide variety of forms and sizes, and the larvae of certain species feed on the larvae of beetles, moths, flies, and aphids. Allow them to remain in the area so they may pick off the savory vermin that are devouring your vegetables.

Nematodes that are beneficial are another kind of predator that is particularly efficient against pests such as ants, fleas, termites, grubs, beetles, flies, and cockroaches. Nematodes feed on the larvae of other insects. Nematodes accomplish their mission by invading their target, killing it with bacteria, and afterwards using the host as a source of food and an incubator.

Both spiders and praying mantises are examples of generalist predators since they consume a wide variety of different kinds of insects. Spiders and praying mantises are two examples of predatory insects that, in the absence of sufficient numbers of other kinds of pests to keep them occupied, have the potential to have a negative influence on the population of beneficial insects.

How to Attract Beneficial Bugs

It is easier to entice and keep beneficial insects in your garden if the surrounding environment is diversified. Beneficial insect populations thrive in environments that provide a rich diversity of plant species, enough cover, and a constant supply of water.

Creating a habitat for beneficial insects in and around your garden by planting native wildflowers such as purple aster, coneflower, and bee balm is a lovely idea. This particular bee will soon stop by your vegetables.

Beneficial insects will be drawn to your garden by plants that produce a lot of pollen or nectar, and these plants will also offer a splash of color. They supply food supplies not just for the carnivores, but also for the pollinators, which helps keep the population balanced. Nectar plants with little blooms are more likely to attract helpful insects due to the fact that many of these insects are often on the smaller side. These kinds of plants include a wide variety of herbs, such as parsley, dill, wild carrot, yarrow, and many more. White clover, alfalfa, daisies, goldenrod, angelica, coreopsis, cosmos, and sweet alyssum are some of the other kinds of plants that are known to attract beneficial insects. Your garden will attract a more robust population of pollinators if you use a diverse color palette. For instance, bees are particularly drawn to flowers with a blue or purple hue, while butterflies have a preference for blooms with a red, yellow, or orange hue, and nocturnal pollinators like moths choose flowers with a white hue.

Shelter is necessary for beneficial bugs because it protects them from their own predators as well as the weather. These insects need a place to hide during the day, and trees, shrubs, hedgerows, and other perennial plants provide it to them. This will let you keep the insects even if they get rid of your pest issue too early in the season.

The beneficial insects also need a supply of water in order to survive. Oftentimes, the puddles that form on the ground or in the leaves of a plant after a thunderstorm or after watering a garden are adequate. In addition to protecting the health of your beneficial insects, you may protect the health of the ground by keeping it damp, at least in certain areas. In addition to keeping the soil wet with water, applying a layer of high-quality organic mulch will also be beneficial.

Finally, remember to store the insecticide in the garden shed. When you use pesticides to eradicate dangerous insects, you run the risk of inadvertently killing the beneficial insects you have worked so hard to attract.

You may occasionally purchase insects and place them in the habitat that you have created for them if you do not have the patience to wait for the beneficial bugs to come on their own. This is an option if you do not want to wait.

There are a lot of bugs that are good for the health of our gardens, despite the fact that they are slimy and crawly and might be unpleasant to look at. Some of them assist in pollinating our plants, some work to improve the soil, while yet others work to protect our crops from hazardous insects and animals. Keep your garden damp, grow a variety of plants that provide them food and shelter, and don’t use any kind of pesticide. This will create an atmosphere that is inviting for the beneficial insects that you want to attract.

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