We see bugs and our hands go towards our trusted pesticides. But do you know, not all bugs are our garden enemies. In fact, some of them actually help us keep those harmful bugs away. They are like our little soldiers keeping enemies at bay or demolishing them.
So before spraying your plants, know your bugs, good and bad. If you have enough of your good bugs in your garden, you won’t need to get the spray out.
Let’s get to know the good bugs and how to get them to your garden.
1.) Lady bug: The pretty and elegant ladybugs are one of the most famous good bugs and is very beneficial. It is your savior from aphids. A lady bug can eat at least 50 to 60 aphids in a day and around 5000 in their lifetime. They also eat mites and mealy worms.
They save themselves by secreting an odor which is a deterrent to other predators. If you have right plants to attract them, you can see the generations in one season.
What attracts them: Dill, Dandelion, Fennel.
Planting these plants will help you keep these beauties in your garden making it pretty and safe.
2.) Ground beetles: Don’t fret if you see this shiny small critter running around in your garden. There are almost 2000 different species of ground beetle in US and most of them are nocturnal and very beneficial for your garden. Ground beetles keep your pesticides at bay by eating away caterpillars, ants, maggots, slugs, aphids, wireworms. Some of the species even eat the seeds of the weeds like ragweed, thistle, foxtail.
What attracts them: To get these beetles in your garden, you can create a raised bed and plant perennials and add some mulch and rocks for a beetle hideout. Don’t till this patch or use pesticides to help the beetle eggs thrive as they are vulnerable at the initial stages and soon you will enjoy the benefits of ground beetles.
3.) Hoverflies: These flies love to eat aphids, caterpillars and scale insects and are attracted by Dill, Fern leaf Yarrow, common yarrow.
4.) Braconid Wasps: These wasps lay their eggs on the worms and the larvae start eating the worms alive and gradually killing them. So, if you see a worm with some larvae on top of it, don’t bother removing, it is lunch of your garden friends. Also, apart from the larvae, the adult wasps will eat moths, aphids, hornworm, webworms, caterpillars as well.
What attracts them: Dill, Parsley, Lemon Balm
5.) Damsel Bugs: One more useful bug to have in your garden. These little guys clean your garden of caterpillars, aphids, cabbage worms, potato beetles.
What attracts them: Fennel, Spearmint, Alfalfa, caraway
6.) Green Lacewings: These beautiful bugs with pretty wings don’t just look nice in your garden, they eat away your aphids, mealybugs, leafhoppers, whiteflies, caterpillars.
What attracts them: Dill, Angelica, Coriander, Dandelion
Figure out which of these bugs work best for your garden and also remember these are not an immediate solution for any pest infestation. But these friends to your garden will eventually keep your garden healthy and blooming. Be patient as it may take a few weeks to see any result and if you provide a habitat, these friends will stay in garden.