If you love your garden, you’ll have to attract or buy some insects to give it everything it needs. Creepy crawlies isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and that’s understandable. What with all the eyes, limbs and flying abilities – they’re rather gross.
But it’s what your garden wants and having some insects flying around won’t be a bad thing in the long run. They get rid of the pesky garden pests for you. So, here’s what you need:
Ladybugs are still alright, aren’t they? Their colour and cuteness make up for the fact that they are still, well, beetles. You want them in your garden because they eat aphids, spider mites and whiteflies. And you don’t want aphids in your garden. They’re responsible for affecting your plant’s growth and fruit development by feeding off the plant’s juices.
Your lovely garden ladybugs can eat around 40 to 50 of these nasty aphids a day. And because they can lay up to a thousand eggs in a season, your garden will stay protected. Not to mention, the larvae can eat around 400 to 500 aphids in a period of two to three weeks, and there are a lot of them.
Ground beetles can help your garden out in the area of slug, caterpillar and cutworms extermination. Slugs feed on the leaves and seedlings, caterpillars destroy your leaves and make it known, and cutworms cut down plant stems.
Neither of these pests should be welcome in a thriving garden and if you want what’s best, then invest in a ground beetle-bank.
Bees and wasps
Not only do bees spread the love and pollinate your beautiful flowers, but they are also beneficial for pest control. They’re especially fruitful when it comes to pollinating your fruit and vegetable crops.
Unfortunately, domestic bee numbers are dwindling because of pesticides and lack of habitat. No one really welcomes bees into the environment for fear of getting stung. And it’s an understandable fear, especially if you are allergic to the bee sting. But they play a necessary and important part in the ecosystem and we should encourage their presence in our gardens at least.
Braconid Wasps will be able to help you out with caterpillars as well as aphids. What these wasps do is lay their eggs into a host insect (such as caterpillars, moths, beetle larvae, and aphid) so that the larvae feed on the insect, which will eventually die when larvae development is complete.
Tachinid Flies attack pests similarly to the Braconid Wasps, by laying their eggs inside the prey insect. Some of these insects include caterpillars and the more daring Tachinid Flies have even been known to attack spiders and centipedes.
Yes, flies are pests inside the house, but instead of killing them find a way to send them outside to clean the garden up.
Why you want them
Those are only a few of the insects your garden needs, but it all comes down to what they do and why you want them there.
- Pesticides: Chemical pesticides are not the best product to be spraying all over your home-grown crops. Not for your plants and definitely not for your personal health. By using nature to combat nature, everything stays organic and healthy.
- Keep the good bugs: When you use chemical pesticides, you need to realise that you’re not only getting rid of the bad bugs. There are poor unfortunate souls out there just wanting to do their part and help your garden out that you’re exterminating.
- Save money: Bugs are free. Unless you struggle to attract them and need to buy them, but generally they’re free. Chemical pesticides? Now they can be rather expensive. And what is the point in spending so much money and still not achieving the desired result?
- Need more than pesticides: So, not having to use pesticides is the main reason why you want to use friendly insects instead. They will always be able to prey on pests but pesticides won’t always prove effective. The Pesticide Action Network has said that a large number of insects have evolved with a resistance to pesticides. So you’re, basically, wasting your money anyway.
How to attract them
Now it’s all good and well that you know which insects your garden needs, but what do you need to plant to get them there?
- Ladybugs: Dill, dandelions and yellow fern-leaf
- Ground beetles: Evening primrose, amaranthus and clover
- Bees and wasps: Parsley, wild carrot, yarrow and yellow fern-leaf
- Tachinid Flies: Dill, parsley, sweet clover and herbs
Other things you can do for your garden to be more attractive?
- Build a pond
- Stay away from chemicals
- Create a compost heap
- Put in a compact table and bench set
Okay, so that last one is just for you to be able to sit outside and enjoy the beauty of your pest-free garden!