Last Updated on January 18, 2022
If you want a bountiful harvest of delicious and healthy vegetables, then it’s time to learn how to attract bugs that are good for your garden. Not only will these beneficial bugs help pollinate your plants but they also provide protection from harmful bugs that would otherwise eat them!
New gardeners often worry that any insect they come across will be destructive to their food gardens. However, many insects can protect the plants in your yard from pest invasions and harmful pests by eating these invaders.
To begin, figure out which insects may be useful to your vegetable garden and then devise methods to attract them into your gardening area, which is a far superior strategy than spraying pesticides on your crops.
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What Constitutes a Healthy Garden?
A healthy garden is a productive one. Generally, this means you’ll want to keep your plants watered and fertilized while stopping any pest invasions before they even get a chance to jump off from other areas in the yard.
Insects that are attracted to your vegetable garden should be seen as helpful guests rather than potential root destroyers.
What Attracts Good Insects?
There are several factors that you should consider when trying to attract good insects to your yard, which includes some of the following strategies:
– Providing an inviting habitat for these good insects. Create a little habitat elsewhere in the garden elsewhere where they can use leaves, logs and other pieces of nature to create their homes.
– Keep existing weeds at bay with some selective weed control. Good insects live in weeds, so eliminating the whole yard isn’t a good idea. You simply need to keep any invasive or potentially harmful species away from your garden area.
– Ensure there are enough food sources for these insects by leaving out fruit and vegetable scraps. Don’t go overboard, however, because you can attract pests as well if your insect buffet is too delicious.
– Use organic sprays like neem oil or pyrethrin to eliminate any potential invaders without doing harm to good insects in the process. You can also create your own homemade garden spray that is organic.
Know Which Insects You Should Attract
The pollinators include bees and butterflies, which are typically thought of as pollinators. However, did you know there are several additional insects that may fertilize your garden?
While you may consider flies to be an annoying pest, some hoverflies prefer pollinating flowers and, when they lay eggs, the larvae consume harmful invasive insects who attempt to destroy your garden.
Ladybugs are excellent for a food garden because they consume aphids, which suck the juices from your plant’s stems, fruit, and flower buds.
These amazing insects can consume more than 5,000 aphids in their lifetime. They particularly love to eat spider mites, thrips and corn borers.
If you ever come across a praying mantis in your garden, leave it alone! It will keep any grasshoppers out of your garden since they eat the plants. Praying mantises, on the other hand, have a voracious appetite, so they may also feed on other beneficial insects.
Spiders are beneficial because, as frightening as they appear, they help to keep pests in your garden under control. As a result, you may want to allow them to be if you discover them lurking around looking for bugs to eat.
The Green Lacewing lays her eggs on vegetable plants, which then feed off tiny pests like aphids. This is one reason why pesticides are not recommended since it will kill the green lacewings along with the aphids!
The lacewing larvae can be found in your garden and they do feed on mites, mealybugs, and thrips. Lacewings get rid of over 200 pests during their life cycle!
Ground Beetles are voracious predators of slugs and can cut down on slug damage by up to 90%. They also devour earwigs, cabbage loopers, corn earworms, tomato hornworms, and more!
The ground beetle can help get rid of many insects including caterpillars on your garden plants, slugs and snails! This is why it’s a good bug to have around.
Minute pirate bugs can help your garden by eating leafhoppers, thrips and even spider mites. Minute pirate bugs are extremely tiny, so you may not notice them right away.
Hoverflies are beneficial bugs for the garden! For example, some hover flies like to eat the eggs of ants and ground beetles. Others feed on aphids and scale insects, which can be found on trees. Hover flies can help keep leafhoppers under control, too!
Damsel bugs are very helpful for the garden because they feed on caterpillars, aphids and other insects. They can even help control hornworms in tomatoes, cabbage loopers in cabbage and bagworms in evergreens!
Skimmer Dragonflies are excellent hunters of mosquitoes, gnats and midges. Although considered to be larger insects, their presence won’t be noticeable to you.
Butterflies and moths are good bugs to have in your vegetable garden because they play a role in pollination.
The adults’ only job is to feed on nectar, so they do not eat your crops. Since butterflies and moths are cold-blooded creatures, the temperature of the area has an impact on them
If you can reach a near 80 degrees Fahrenheit, this will encourage more butterflies than when it’s much colder. Additionally, butterflies need a water source so if you have a bird bath or pond in your garden area, they will appreciate it!
Braconid wasps can be found in your garden and they prey on caterpillars, particularly the larvae of moths and butterflies.
Parasitic wasps can lay their eggs inside of other insects! Once they hatch, the wasp larvae slowly eat away at the host’s insides until it dies. Although this may sound grim, these parasitic wasps are really helpful in getting rid of mealybugs, whiteflies, and scale insects.
While parasitic wasps often feed on your garden’s pests, you won’t be able to see them because they are very small.
The larvae typically remain protected inside a plant or tree tissue until they are large enough to emerge as an adult.
Assassin bugs are very beneficial in the garden because they will attack and kill grasshoppers, cabbage loopers, and tomato hornworms in addition to feeding on others. Assassin bugs are sometimes mistaken for kissing bugs, but they don’t carry the Chagas disease.
Know Which Insects You Don’t Want in Your Vegetable Garden
Of course, there are plenty of bad bugs to worry about as well.
For instance, flies can carry disease and aphids will suck out plant juices with their piercing mouthparts.
Ants might also be annoying if they build nests in your garden beds or even worse — invade your home.
Other harmful bugs to keep away from your vegetable garden include earwigs, cockroaches, centipedes, and fire ants.
More Ways to Attract Bugs That are Good for Your Garden
Now that you know which bugs are good and bad, it’s time to set out some bait! But what will attract the best insects? One of my favorite ways is by planting milkweed. You can also plant nectar-rich flowers for butterflies or herbs like spearmint or lemon balm to attract bees and other pollinators.
Think of bright, flowering plants like daisies and anything that blooms such as carrots, goldenrod, and even mint and fennel. There are many herbs and flowers you can plant to attract pollinators and pest controllers.
You can also think about growing some of your own food for them to eat, such as carrots, parsnips, cucumbers, squash blossoms, dill, or fennel seeds. You can also grow fruit, such as raspberries or blackberry bushes.
If you want to attract ladybugs into your garden, consider planting parsley and dill flowers throughout the growing season because they love these herbs. You may also plant sunflowers since the seeds are a valuable source of food for many pollinators and beneficial insects.
Even though you can buy various products to attract good bugs, such as flowers or plants that produce nectar and pollen for them to feed on, it’s easy enough to get started just by using the tips mentioned here at no cost. Set out some buckets of water with a few stones in them near your garden beds because water attracts the good bugs, too!
Once you get your insects in check, they may kill off many pests who would otherwise damage or destroy your vegetables and fruits. You don’t have to spray your garden with chemicals or pull out the weeds by hand if you take this methodical approach. So keep the good bugs close!
Conclusion: Bugs That are Good for Your Garden
By following these tips on how to attract good bugs to your own vegetable garden area, you will be able to work with Mother Nature — not against her.
Remember, you want the good bugs to come eat the bad bugs, not vice versa! By implementing some of these tips into your garden area, your vegetable plants will be happier and healthier in the end.
Once you get your insects in check, they may kill off many pests who would otherwise damage or destroy your vegetables and fruits. You don’t have to spray your garden with chemicals or pull out the weeds by hand if you take this methodical approach. So keep the bugs that are good for your garden close!