For many homeowners who keep a garden, insects are either a minor annoyance or a full on blight. Beetles, flies, caterpillars and other insects can quickly devour the leaves of your plants, leaving them stunted and unable to produce fruits and vegetables at the end of the season.
In our haste to be rid of these bugs, many people turn to pesticides. However, most pesticides aren’t discriminate in the insects they deter from your garden. As a result, they can also often discourage insects that are beneficial to your garden.
In this article, we’re going to list six insects that are beneficial for your garden and give you some tips on how to encourage them to feel at home in your garden.
1. Damsel Bugs
Damsel bugs look like a cross between a mantis and a grasshopper. They prey on many insects that can harm your garden, including caterpillars and aphids.
Ladybug, lady bird, lady beetle… These polka dotted insects have many names. They also have many uses for your garden. They ward off aphids and whiteflies, and let’s face it, they’re fun to look at as well. To attract ladybugs to your garden, plant some dill; these insects are attracted to the herb.
3. Soldier beetles
Named for their color which resembled the red coats of the early British army, soldier beetles are very beneficial to have in your garden. They eat the eggs and larvae of other insects, including beetles and moths, that can easily take over the leaves in your garden.
To find out if your plants have eggs or larvae on them, look on the underside of the leaves. Insects often lay their eggs on large leaves like those of squash and cucumber plants.
4. Braconid wasps
We know what you’re thinking, “Why would I ever want wasps in my garden?” Well, these particular wasps happen to be parasites that lay their eggs on other insects that feast on your garden.
You also don’t have to worry about being stung, since these wasps aren’t stingers. Plus, all of the eggs they lay on the insects that eat your garden will come in handy for keeping your garden pest-free later on.
There are about 25,000 known species of bees worldwide. Many of them are among the best pollinators for your flower or vegetable garden.
To attract beneficial bees to your garden, incorporate native plants and avoid pesticides. Bees have a good sense of color, so the wider variety of colorful flowers you have, the more likely you are to attract these pollinators.
Technically speaking, worms aren’t considered insects. However, they’re on this list because of the benefit they provide to your garden. This includes recycling organic waste in your garden, and improving soil composition. They loosen them soil to allow oxygen and useful bacteria to enter the plant roots.