As you work outside in your yard, you will start to see all types of bugs. While some of these are pests, there are others you will want to stay in your yard. They will work even harder than you will keeping garden pests from destroying all of the hard work you are putting in. These are bugs you will not only want to keep, but that you will want to take steps to attract. Knowing the differences between the good, or beneficial bugs, and the bad bugs are the keys to having a great garden.
What Are Beneficial Insects?
Beneficial insects are those that perform some type of positive role for your lawn or in your garden. Not only will they help you with pest control, some types may even help you with the pollination of your plants, which in turn will help yield bigger and better crops.
Pests that beneficial insects can help to control include:
- Spider mites
- Certain species of beetles
- Garden slugs
- Certain types of caterpillars
- Weevils and more
Match Up Your Pest With Their Beneficial Insects
The key to maximizing the potential of beneficial insects is knowing which species of garden pest they will destroy. Although there are many common garden pests, you may be having more problems with one particular type versus another. Here are a few examples of beneficial insects who may be able to help you out.
Ladybugs, lady birds, or lady beetles, can make a meal off of mealy bugs, whiteflies, thrips, aphids, scale insects, mites, and the eggs of several other types of insects. For the most effect insect control, you want to introduce ladybugs to your garden as immature beetles. This is when they have the largest appetite. If you choose to purchase ladybugs for your garden, you do want to stay away from the subspecies Epilachninae, who are actually plant eaters.
Making your ladybugs feel at home by planting some of their favorite plants. These include dill, fennel, cosmos, marigolds, sweet alyssum, and other plants that have flat flowers. Keep them in your garden by providing them with plant cover and water.
Syrphids or Hoverflies - Commonly mistaken for a type of bee due to their black and yellow markings, hover flies do not sting. The differences are hoverflies only have two wings, and they have compound eyes. While the adults will help you with the pollination of your plants, the young maggots are vicious predators. Their preferred diet consist of aphids, mealybugs, thrips, corn borers, corn earworms, leaf maggots, and more. They are naturally attracted to many of the things that you may be already growing in your garden such as many of your flowering annual plants, including sweet alyssum, bachelor buttons, and various types of herbs.
Dragonflies - If you are looking for a beneficial insect who will not only work hard, but look good while they are doing it, look no further than the dragonfly. With more than 3000 species, fossils of dragonflies have been found that are more than 325 million years old.
The beauty of the dragonfly as a beneficial insect is that it is a predatory insect both as a nymph in the water, as well as during the time that it has wings. As a nymph it primarily dines on mosquito larvae, but as an adult they will dine on midges, mosquitoes, as well as small moths. They are attracted to water, as well as shiny object that appear to be water, since this is where they lay their eggs.
This is just a few of the many beneficial insects that you may want to attract to your garden. If you are unsuccessful in attracting specific species you want to work with, you are able to order most of these insects from various websites online. Unfortunately, depending on the pest problem that you have in your garden, beneficial insects may not be able to get it under control. You may need professional pest control services as seen at sites like http://www.heritagepestcontrolma.com/. When you call them, they will be able to suggest other means that may work better or faster.