While much of what we do as organic gardeners concentrate on keeping an eye out for bad bugs, those pesky ones who eat our fruits and vegetables or spread diseases, it is just as important to understand which ones we ought to invite into our gardens. These helpful bugs pollinate our plants and are much more reliable at keeping parasites under control. There are several useful pests, and the four featured here are very recognizable and are typical in many gardens. If you see them spending time in your soil, you’re doing something right!
If you’re growing plant, you absolutely need them. Plants such as melons, pumpkins and other squashes, apples and various other fruits are pollinated by bees. Without a lot of these helpful pests buzzing around your garden, you would certainly have to hand-pollinate.
How to Attract – Plant a variety of blooming plants for continuous nectar resources all season long. Leave some of your soil un-mulched to attract ground bees. Leave a shallow water source, such as a dish or mud puddle offered for the bees. Leave a dead tree standing, if possible for them to make a hive.
Lacewings are voracious killers. Both the larvae and adults eat aphids, scales, thrips, meal worms, and caterpillars.
How to Attract – If you haven’t seen numerous lacewings around, you can get lacewing larvae either online or from some nurseries. To attract them plant alyssum, coreopsis, throughout your yard.
Your initial response upon seeing a large black ground beetle may be to crush it, but do not do it! They are fantastic partners to have in your yard. Because they’re nocturnal they’re terrific at keeping those night-time parasites under control. Slugs, snails, as well as cutworms are just someof the more than fifty types of pests the ground beetle hunts. You’ll want a lot of these in your yard!
How to Attract – Since they make their homes in decomposing plant matter you’ll wish to mulch your garden well, all year long. Perennials provide a great location for them to overwinter also, but if you don’t have them then just be sure to mulch for the winter months.
Ladybugs are possibly the first thing that comes into many people’s minds when they think of “useful bugs,” and for good reason. While the adults eat a fair share of aphids, mealybugs, as well as termites, it’s their larvae that are the true heroes. They are ferocious eaters and can get an aphid or mite infestation in control in no time.
How to Attract – These types of beetles are attracted to members of the parsley household: think carrots, parsley, dill, fennel, as well as yarrow.
The best way to make sure that you’re drawing in beneficial pests to your yard is to adhere to fundamental organic horticulture techniques: mulching, diversifying your growing and don’t use chemicals. Do these things, and the possibilities are great that you’ll have plenty of good pests calling your garden home.