Beneficial bugs that will keep your garden safe

By Stef Zisovska
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Beneficial bugs that will keep your garden safe

Stef Zisovska
 
 
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Have you ever thought about bugs that are actually useful for your garden and can protect the plants from their mean relatives? If you thought that all insects are enemies of your rose or tomato garden, then you’re very wrong. Instead of spraying your backyard with pesticides that will kill all insects, as well as poison your plants, learn how to attract good bugs and why are they beneficial. It’s maybe hard to believe, but in their microcosmos, there are rules just like in the human world, and the food chain works the same but in smaller proportions. The bad bugs eat the plants and their roots, the good bugs eat the bad bugs. Logical, right?

Ladybugs

Ladybug
Ladybug

Ladybugs like to eat all the bad bugs that attack your plants. They can eat 50 aphids a day and 5000 per lifetime. They also like leafhoppers and mites. Don’t worry about their larvae because they are not harmful to your plants. Another reason to have ladybugs around is their beauty. Predators don’t like them due to their repulsive odor, so don’t worry about losing them. To attract them, you need to plant dill and fennel. These two attract butterflies too, and that means your garden will gain a new look with these small fellows around.

Spined soldier bugs

Spined soldier bugs are a type of stink bug, but they are very useful to have around your plants because they feed on beetle larvae. Can you tell them apart from the bad stink bugs though? Yes, you can! The soldier bugs have spines on their shoulders and their legs, and the other ones don’t. Spined soldier bugs will suck a lot of the water from your plants, but it doesn’t transmit any diseases. Having them in your garden means that you need to water your plants more often, that’s all.

If you can’t find a way to destroy Colorado potato beetle or Mexican bean beetle, the spined soldier bug will help you solve the problem. Perennial flowers attract these little guys, so make sure you plant some around your yard.

Braconid Wasps

Braconid Wasp, Leesylvania State Park, Woodbridge, Virginia – Author: Judy Gallagher – CC BY 2.0
Braconid Wasp, Leesylvania State Park, Woodbridge, Virginia – Author: Judy Gallagher – CC BY 2.0

You have a tomato garden and don’t know how to deal with the tomato hornworm that is destroying your veggies? Well, worry about it no longer because braconid wasps attach their larvae to the hornworm itself. As the larvae are growing, they eat the hornworm, and by the time they have fully grown the hornworm is dead. When they grow up, they eat aphids, codling moths, garden webworms, and caterpillars. Dill, parsley, and wild carrots are the plants that attract them.

Minute Pirate Bug

If what you have in your garden are only bad bugs, then the pirate bug is what you need as a cleaning assistant. They are not picky at all about what they eat, and they like to munch any bad bug that exists. These insect predators are perfect to add to your garden if you don’t have any other cleaning bugs. They love alfalfa, so if you need them near, it’s a good idea to plant some.

Praying Mantis

Praying Mantis
Praying Mantis

The praying mantis is not as typical a bug as the ones already listed, but it’s a killer for sure. The praying mantis eats caterpillars, moths, beetles, and crickets. If you have tall grass around your garden, you’ll probably have them visiting.

Ground Beetle

The ground beetle is a nocturnal insect and operates mostly at night. Everything that crawls around should be aware of it because the ground beetle has no mercy when it comes to slugs, snails, cutworms, cabbage maggots, and caterpillars. And yes, they are over-eaters! One ground beetle larvae can kill 40-50 caterpillars.

Use bugs to get rid of bugs! Sounds absurd, but it works. It will save your garden from all the dangerous chemicals, that can also poison your food. Keep it all natural!

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