Beneficial bugs are nature’s response to the pests that can plague your garden. These insect-friends include lady beetles (formerly ladybugs), green lacewings, assassin bugs, praying mantis, minute pirate bugs, ground beetles, syrphid flies, and predatory stinkbugs. These helpful insects feed on the pests that can harm your plants. Supporting their growth is a nice earth-friendly alternative to using chemical pesticides.
To get beneficial bugs in your garden, plant the flowers they love. Beneficial bugs tend to be attracted to plants that have abundant and accessible nectar and pollen. These plants include alyssum, coriander, dill, yarrow, buckwheat, fennel, dill, and caraway. Incorporating these plants into your garden can be fun because many of them are not only beautiful but are also useful in the kitchen. Imagine growing fresh fennel for summer salads or dill for your favorite seafood dishes, all while keeping pest populations in check!
If you reserve a small portion of you garden for these types of plants, you can support a thriving community of beneficial bugs. To do this, make sure you have about one-tenth of your yard populated with beneficial bug-friendly plants. These plants do not need to be in a bunch; they can be evenly integrated throughout your garden. To sustain communities of beneficial bugs over long periods of time, make sure these plants are flowering consistently throughout the year. If you want to keep good insects in your yard, you need to keep their supply of nectar and pollen flowing. To achieve this, make sure you plant insect-friendly plants several times per season so that they flower year-round.
If planting beneficial bug-friendly plants does not attract the bugs you want quickly enough, you can always purchase them and place them in your garden. Also, if you want to target a specific problem – an aphid infestation, for example – you can go out and purchase a specific predator for the job. In this case, the lady beetle is the perfect beneficial bug. They love aphids and are pleasing to the eye. While purchasing bugs can be a nice quick fix, planting bug-friendly plants is still advised because they will help keep the store-bought beneficial bugs in your yard.
Another great thing about beneficial bugs and the plants they love is that your neighbors will also receive some of their protection. So you’re using a planet-friendly solution to help your own garden, and you end up contributing to your local gardening community.