Gardeners can save a lot of time and worry by letting good bugs help them out. There are many beneficial insects that will eat bugs that would otherwise feast on your plants.
While cute and seemingly harmless to people, ladybugs are real mercenaries in the garden. These insects are known to eat aphids, mites, scale insects and other bugs. Ladybugs are some of the first bugs to become active in the spring so be sure to have plants in your garden that attract them.
What plants do ladybugs like?
Ladybugs are known to be attracted to mustard plants and clover. They also use pollen as a food source so any flowering, pollen-producing plants would help.
Praying MantisCredit: Christian Meyn
The only problem with using the praying mantises as a method of pest control is that they will eat any other bug. If you're willing to accept this risk then you can rely on the mantis to eat most bugs it can catch. Surprisingly, the praying mantis is often kept as pets.
How do I get praying mantises in my garden?
Certain plants aren't commonly known (or agreed upon) to attract the mantis. There are a number of different places to purchase mantis eggs from and many gardeners have had success using store bought mantis' as pest control.
Hover FliesCredit: SweetCrisis
Hover flies look like tiny little bees and many mistake them for sweat bees. One easy way to distinguish a hover fly is to ensure it has 2 wings and not 4. The hover fly cannot sting and does a good job of pollenating. The hover fly also gets rid of unwanted garden pests by eating aphids. More importantly, they often lay their eggs near colonies of harmful garden insects so the larvae can feast on those as well.
What plants do hover flies like?
Alyssum is the plant most commonly used to attract the hover fly. Queen Anne's lace and parsley are also used to attract these beneficial insects.
Green Lacewings (Aphid Lions)
The aphid lion is a nickname given to the larvae of the green lacewing. The term 'lion' was used in reference to the big appetite of the larvae and its effectiveness in devouring spider mites, caterpillars, other insects and insect eggs. The adult green lacewings look like small, delicate, slender, flying insects. While the adults do eat some bad bugs, the larvae are more a beneficial insect for your garden. The larvae look like tiny little alligators.
What plants do green lacewings like?
The best plants to attract green lacewings and consequently their larvae are Queen Anne's lace, fennel, sunflowers, dill and even dandelion.
These are just a few of the beneficial insects that you can introduce or lure to your garden as a form of pest control.