All insects are not bad for gardens; some of them are beneficial as they greatly help as biological control agents against various diseases and pests. They offer a sustainable solution on a long-term basis by preying on bugs that cause significant damage to plants and gardens. Beneficial insects are living organisms for controlling various pests. In this article, we will discuss beneficial insects for gardens, different kinds of beneficial insects, and different ways of attracting them to your garden.
- Importance of Using Beneficial Insects for Gardens
- Regulations Before Introducing Beneficial Insects
- Types of Beneficial Insects and How to Attract Them
- More Ways to Attract Insects
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Importance of Using Beneficial Insects for Gardens
The most crucial benefit of using beneficial insects is the reduced use of chemical pesticides. This approach eliminates the entry of toxic chemicals in organic gardens. With this, there are no worries about consuming any chemicals along with food. The use of chemical pesticides is not efficient for killing all kinds of bad bugs and pests. Applying chemicals to your garden will also kill beneficial insects that would be helping your garden stay healthy.
If you keep adding chemicals to deal with insects, the insects can become resilient to chemicals. Chemicals will become useless. According to a statement of pesticide action network, more than 1000 weed species and insects have developed resistance against the registered pesticides. So even the effectiveness of pesticides is not guaranteed in this situation. By using beneficial bugs, the cost of expensive chemicals can be greatly reduced. You attract beneficial insects to your garden easily, reducing the need to spend money on chemicals.
Regulations Before Introducing Beneficial Insects
All insects have different mechanisms of interaction in different environments and seasons. So, before introducing beneficial insects, it is necessary to consider some crucial points. It is must to follow the permits and regulations. It will be courteous to inform your neighbors if you are going to add beneficial insects to the garden. In addition to the introduction of beneficial species, it is essential to ask neighbors to minimize the use of chemical sprays; otherwise, it will indirectly affect your garden as well. It may happen that the neighbors also become willing to share the cost of purchasing and introducing beneficial insects.
Just like other living organisms, beneficial insects also need an optimum environment, such as vegetation and climate. It is entirely dependent on the gardeners to provide a suitable habitat for the beneficial insects. It is also essential that the population of pests in the garden should not be more than what the insects can handle. If you have a massive infestation of pests, then chemicals may be necessary. If there is no population of pests in the gardens, then the introduction of beneficial insects is not useful as they may leave your garden in search of a more reliable source of food.
Types of Beneficial Insects and How to Attract Them
Let us learn about some insects, what they can do for your garden and how you can attract them. Attracting insects to your garden can be hard, depending on climate and other conditions. But if you do manage to attract some, do not shoo them away. Even if you do not have pests, some beneficial insects will help pollinate your garden.
You can buy some live insects from amazon (cause amazon sells almost everything). I include some links below.
· Predatory Mites
Predatory mites are well known for preying the spider mites. A greenhouse environment will attract predatory mites as humidity is more in these conditions. When prey is not available, these predatory mites do not cause any damage to the plant structure as they feed on the pollen and not on the plant. You can buy them on Amazon.
· Mealy Bug Destroyer
These insects feed on some species of mealybug. Mealy Bug Destroyer is a species of ladybug. You can attract mealybug destroyers by adding golden rose, sunflower, angelica, dill, and fennel to a garden. One mealybug destroyer is capable of eating around 250 larvae of mealybug.
Hoverflies prey on caterpillars, scale insects, and aphids. Statice, basket of gold, dill, common yarrow, and fern leaf yarrow will attract Hoverflies. The larvae of hoverflies are specialized for feeding on pests, whereas the adult flies only feed on the pollen.
· Tachinid Flies
These flies prey on squash bugs, cutworms, Japanese beetles, and gypsy moths. Growing buckwheat, coriander, dill, cilantro, and carrots will attract Tachinid Flies. Besides, they also help pollinate flowers, and they can reach higher elevations where bees cannot.
· Soldier Beetles
These beetles prey the insects, which have soft bodies, eggs of grasshoppers, and aphids. Linden trees, marigold, zinnia, and goldenrod will attract soldier beetles. They do not cause any harm to humans and plants. Soldier Beetles are certainly a great addition to a garden.
· Minute Pirate Bugs
These bugs prey on thrips, aphids, caterpillars, eggs of insects, and spider mites. Peter pan goldenrod, spearmint, alfalfa, fennel, and caraway attracts minute pirate bugs. Both the adults and immature stages of minute pirate bugs can easily prey on various kinds of smaller insects. You can buy these on Amazon too.
· Green Lacewings
Green lacewings prey on moths of caterpillars, mealybugs, leafhopper, whitefly, and aphids. Dandelion, coriander, golden marguerite, angelica, and dill attracts green lacewings. The larvae of green lacewing are more effective for controlling soft body insects. These sell on Amazon too.
· Damsel Bugs
These bugs prey on cabbage worms, potato beetles, aphids, mites, and caterpillars. Fennel, spearmint, alfalfa, caraway, and peter pan goldenrod will attract damsel Bugs. The population of damsel bugs can easily survive if they can find any alternative places for hiding themselves in the harsh environmental conditions.
· Braconid Wasps
These wasps prey aphids, caterpillars, tomato hornworms, and tobacco hornworms. Parsley, lemon balm, dill, common yarrow, and fern leaf yarrow attracts braconid wasps. They kill their pests by laying eggs on their host.
· Aphid Midges
Aphid midges are known to prey on the aphid population. Water sources, plants that are having plenty of nectar and pollen, and dills will attract Aphid Midges. Aphid midges are extremely beneficial as they can attack and kill more than 60 species of aphids.
· Ground Beetles
Ground beetles’ prey on cutworms, ants, caterpillars, and sludges. Clover, Amaranthus, and evening primrose will attract ground beetles. These beetles are nocturnal as they only become active at night time.
Spiders are well known for attacking fruit flies, mosquitoes, grasshoppers, aphids, and bed bugs. The life cycle of most of the spiders is a year.
More Ways to Attract Insects
- Besides planting flowers, you can attract beneficial insects for gardens by burying half a log into the ground. Lots of beneficial insects will make a home of the log and have dead wood for lunch.
- Composting is also a great way to attract useful insects. Most importantly composting will also help to give the riches nutrients to your plants. You can make compost at home with stuff you would throw away. Learn more about the magic of compost in my article on how to make compost at home.
- Building a pond or any water source is a great way to attract useful insects. Most noteworthy asset of a water source is that it will complete your garden environment . Even birds and larger animals might come to the pond and play.
- Finally another great way to attract insects and keep them around is with a bug hotel. This one is my favourite A bug hotel is a home designed especially for bugs and insects. They won’t be living rent free; they pay by getting rid of pests and keeping your garden healthy. Keep in mind insects wont immediately start living in bug hotels. It takes time for insects to accept a new appliance in the garden.