Bugs that help
People often consider insects to be pests, something to be “dealt with” or “gotten rid of”. But did you know that there are actually several bugs that are distinctly helpful to gardeners? Several even help get rid of other pests! This article is going to overview some of the most helpful bugs, and what you can do to attract them to your garden.
Brachonids, Chalcids, and Ichneumon Wasps
How do you attract them? If you’re looking to attract any of these types of insects, you should start planting caraway, carrots, celery, or Queen Anne’s lace. These plants are all members of the Umbelliferae species of produce, the specific type that brachonids, chalcids, and ichneumons are attracted to. The key here is the flowers, the flowers are what will bring these helpful creatures to rest in your garden.
What makes them great? These types of bugs are all known for their abilities to help with pest problems in the garden, specifically caterpillars. Caterpillars can be quite destructive to a garden, nibbling away at the fruits of your labour and causing issues with the harvest, but brachonids, chalcids, and ichneumon wasps are all fantastic for getting rid of these irritating pests.
How do you attract them? Hover-flies are also attracted to composite flowers (like Lacewings). Several examples of composite flowers are listed below (under lacewings), and they can be purchased at your local garden centre or online.
What makes them so great? Hover-flies are similar to lacewings, both in terms of what they’re attracted to and in terms of what they do. Like lacewings, hover-flies also destroy aphids.
How do you attract them? Lacewings primarily flock to flowers, specifically composite flowers. Examples of composite flowers include asters, black-eyed susans, goldenrold, and yarrow.
What makes them so great? In terms of what lacewings do for the garden, they help dispel aphids and a few other pests.
How do you attract them? Ladybugs are one of the most sought after garden helpers, and for that reason they can actually be purchased. If you’d like to naturally attract them however, plant some Compositae plants (daisies being the most popular) and see if they don’t come flying right in.
What makes them so great? Ladybugs are another insect known to help with pests. These adorable little helpers actually destroy aphids, mites, scale, and whiteflies themselves, saving your garden a significant amount of wear and tear.
How do you attract them? Nematodes can be purchased at local garden centres and online businesses. The good news is that once they are planted they are planted with about a million seeds at a time.
What makes them so great? Nematodes are particularly effective combatants against the common cutworm pest.
How do you attract them? Praying mantis are a bit unique in that you don’t really attract them, you typically purchase them. You can do this through online shopping or even through mail order. That’s how you keep praying mantis insects in your garden.
What makes them so great? Praying mantis insects are another beneficial insect that tend to eat several other pests that tend to bother the garden.
Other ways to attract insects
In general, attracting insects to your garden is about what you plant in it. The exception to this is obviously bugs that you need to purchase and infuse into your garden yourself, but several can be attracted just by setting aside a plot in your garden for some extra plants. We’ve talked a lot here about what insects can do to other garden pests, and that’s why a lot of people choose to keep them in your garden.