Garden insects are often synonymous with garden pests, but not all insects are pests! In fact, there are certain types of garden insects that we as gardeners actually want in our gardens because of the benefits they provide. Some insects we want to keep around to eat the harmful garden pests, while some act as pollinators and others can control plant diseases.
Attracting the “good bugs” can act as organic pesticides and serve as a better method of pest management in your garden. Gardeners can attract beneficial garden pests with herbs such as dill, thyme and mint, as well as wildflowers like sunflowers. Below are garden insects gardeners should encourage in their garden, along with tips on how to entice them.
Ladybugs will act as an organic pesticide by eating garden pests like aphids and other harmful insects with soft bodies such as spider mites, flies and even pest eggs. To attract ladybugs, lure them in with herbs like dill, fennel and cilantro, or flowers like marigolds and asters.
Ground beetles are another type of garden insect that gardeners love to have around. Beetles are nocturnal and will get rid of garden pests that live on the ground, like slugs, snails, caterpillars and cutworms. Attract ground beetles with perennials or ground covers like white clover.
Butterflies are beneficial to all gardens because they’re pollinators; acting as an essential aspect of plant and flower reproduction as well as a thriving ecosystem. Pollinators like butterflies are attracted to fragrant smells and bright colors.
Praying Mantis is another great example of a beneficial garden insect that gardeners actually want around. They will get rid of a variety of bad bugs in the garden that eat your plants, such as beetles and caterpillars. Attract these predatory insects with tall grass, water and flowers like marigolds and cosmos.
Gardeners love to keep dragonflies around in the garden because they like to eat flying insects such as flies, mosquitos, gnats and termites. A water feature of any sort will attract dragonflies, so if your garden is located near a pond, you likely already reap the benefits of having dragonflies around.
Aphid midges will wipe out the harmful aphids in your garden. Interestingly enough, aphid midges will appear on their own when a large population of aphids show up in your garden. If they don’t, plant pollen and nectar-rich plants to attract them.
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