Social Distance gardening has been the theme of this spring. Gardening allows all of us to get out of the house and explore their yard in a way they may never have. While exploring your garden, you may have come across many types of insects…ewww. Yes, bugs are creepy, crawly and sometimes give us the willies, but not all insects should be treated as such. There is actually a handful of beneficial insects that we want to have defending our garden.
Beneficial insects are considered a biological control solution, this refers to methods of controlling pests using other living organisms. Here we’ll go over 5 beneficial insects you’ll want to have in your garden.
They are cute, adorable, friendly looking and ferocious hunters! They pose no harm to us and are actually beneficial to your plants by feasting on a few of your plant’s nemeses such as aphids, mealybugs, leaf hoppers, scales and mites. We carry packs of ladybugs if you are having trouble attracting them to your garden.
Plants they are attracted to: Dill, Dandelion, Fern-leaf Yellow, Basket of Gold, Common Yarrow
As kids we love finding these green giants in our parent’s garden. The peaceful Praying mantis is a most interesting and enjoyable beneficial insect to have around the garden. They are large, solitary, slow moving, and predaceous insects that catch their prey with their front legs. The Praying Mantis has an enormous appetite and love to dine on larger insects, beetles, grasshoppers, crickets, and other pest insects. We carry these in egg form which can contain 200 baby mantises.
Plants they are attracted to: Tall grasses and shrubs, Cosmos, Marigolds, Dill
Beneficial nematodes are soil dwellers that help breakdown organic material, especially in compost piles. These types actually combat a variety of pest species, including weevils, clearwing borers, cutworms, sod webworms, chinch bugs, and white grubs. Nematodes attack and kill these insects by either injecting deadly bacteria or entering the host, parasitizing, and then feeding on it—how cool is that? We carry these nematodes at City Floral.
Plants they are attracted to: Yarrow, Marigolds, Alyssum, Coneflower, Goldenrod
The green lacewing insects has 2 hunting stages, full adult hunter and the larval stage hunter. While the adults are fine hunters and will take care of aphids, whitefly, mealybugs and other insects, it’s the larval stage that are the ferocious feeders! They will consume a wide variety of harmful insects including aphids, whiteflies, thrips, mealybugs, psyllids, mites, small caterpillars, leafhoppers, as well as moth and other insect eggs. They are hungry!
Plants they are attracted to: Dill, Angelica, Golden Marguerite, Coriander, Dandelion
Ok, we get it spiders are scary. Their eyes and those hairy legs can definitely bring a chill up a person’s spine. But spiders can be very beneficial to a garden, minus the ones harmful to humans like the Black Widow. They feed on a wide range of insects including bed bugs, aphids, roaches, grasshoppers, mosquitoes, and fruit flies.
Plants they are attracted to: Tall plants for weaving spiders, mulch for predatory spiders
So, the next time you’re out playing in the garden say “Hi” to these little helpers. This will create an environment that works together with insects and plants.