Bugs are a lot like people. They can be good or bad depending on the circumstances. While it's true that many pests such as ants, beetles and flies can decimate gardens, there are quite a few insects that will help you fight off harmful bugs. Here are a few tips for recruiting good insects to do battle on your behalf.
Insects You Want in Your Garden
Before you can begin investing time and effort into attracting beneficial bugs, it's important to know which ones you want to have around. There are several species of garden-friendly insects, and here's a brief list of the most popular ones:
- Ladybugs – These belong in the beetle family and come in a few colors including yellow and red. They are a garden favorite because they and their larvae devour aphids, thrips, whiteflies and a variety of other insects that feast on plants.
- Syrphid Fly – Also known as Hoverflies, these insects eat the nectar of flowers while their larvae eat decaying plant and animal matter. They look similar to Yellowjackets and, like Ladybugs, they feast on aphids. They are a good substitute for those times when it's too cold for Ladybugs to be out.
- Braconid Wasp – These insects belong to a family of parasitic wasps. Like other insects in this family, the adults feed on pollen but the larvae feed on the babies of other pests such as moths, flies, ants and aphids.
- Lacewing – This bug belongs to the Neuroptera family of insects and is a voracious eater. One larva can consume up to 11,200 spider mites for instance, but they're not picky. They'll also eat aphids, leafhopper nymphs and coccid scale crawlers.
- Soldier Bug – Common in North America, these bugs are the natural predators of gypsy moths, caterpillars, Colorado potato beetles and Mexican bean beetles. However, they will feast on a large assortment of insects including other beneficial bugs.
- Damsel Bugs – Belonging to the Nabidae family, these insects eat any other bug around that they can capture. They'll even eat each other if no other sources of food are available, which can help keep them under control.
- Yellowjackets – Although they cause most people to shudder just thinking about them, wasps actually prey on other pests such as caterpillars and grubs. The adults feed on sweet liquids from fruits and sugary drinks, but the larvae require "meat" which the adults get from several sources including other bugs.
- Ground Beetle – These beetles are pest killers during their larval and adult stages. They prefer snails, gypsy moth larvae, caterpillars, cut worms and root maggots among other things.
There are many other types of bugs who are all too willing to commit pest-on-pest crime to help keep your garden healthy. However, this list is a good place to start if you're new to using bugs for pest control.
Attracting Natural Born Killers
These bugs are naturally attracted to certain plants. You can add the following plants to your garden to both draw these bugs to your property and sustain a colony if you purchase beneficial bugs from a specialty provider:
- Alfalfa – Attracts Damsels, Ladybugs, and wasps
- Carrots – Brings Syrphids, Yellowjackets, and Lacewings to the yard
- Goldenrod – Is also attractive to Damsels as well as Assassin bugs and wasps
- Chamomile, catnip and feverfew – Attracts Braconid Wasps
- Perennial plants, clovers, and amaranth – Great for drawing out Ground Beetles
Getting Soldier Bugs to your garden is a little tricky. The male Soldier Bugs are attracted to the pheromones of the females, who emit these hormones in the spring. You can purchase synthetic pheromones from a specialty source and then build a trap to capture the males when they start hunting around your garden for females.
Using other bugs to kill pests in your garden is a good way to keep harmful bugs from destroying your hard work while minimizing the use of pesticides. For more tips on managing pests in your garden or home, connect with a pest control specialist in your area.
A good go to site, like www.wasatchbugbusters.com, can provide you with more information on pest control.Share