Some Insects are your Garden’s Friends. Here are 5 insects which help to maintain pest control in your garden.
- Ground Beetles live beneath mulch in the soil and around perennials. They create vertical tunnels in the ground, which they use to trap their prey. They mostly travel at night so you may not see them very often, but they are there! There are over 2,500 ground beetle species which vary in shape and color. You can help to protect and maintain them by using boards or flat stones to give them a place to rest throughout the day. You can find ground beetles from wood piles or rotting logs and release them into your garden for pest control of the insects listed below.
Eat: Caterpillars, Slugs, Corn earworms and Cutworms / *Plants to attract: Amaranthus, Clover and Evening Primrose
- Ladybugs are also known as ladybirds or ladybird beetles and can be red, black or orange. They may or may not have spots. Beautiful as they are, they are also quite useful! On top of eating a number of insects that are damaging to your garden, they also lay their eggs around aphids and the larvae feed on other insects as well. The larvae resemble tiny alligators with spikes and long dark bodies.
Eat: Whiteflies, Spider mites, Mealybugs and Aphids / *Plants to attract: Dandelion and Dill
- Green Lacewings feed on a number of other garden damaging insects. They can be purchased and released into your garden. They have a thin green body and golden eyes and wings that are lace-like. They are known to fly around at night. When laying eggs, depending on what species they are, they either lay a single egg or clusters of eggs and take about 4 days to hatch. Once they have grown to an adult stage, they are no longer a predator and only feed on pollen, honeydew and nectar. In the larval stage, they are known to be a vicious feeder on the following insects:
Eat: Aphids, Caterpillars, leafhoppers, Mealybugs and Whiteflies / *Plants to attract: Alfalfa, Spearmint and Fennel
- Braconid Wasps are non-stinging. They are found in North America, as well as Europe. They devour their prey by laying their eggs inside or on other insects. Once the eggs hatch, the maggot-like larvae break the host down, weakening them until death. They can usually be found wherever you find moths and butterflies.
Eat: Caterpillars, Cabbage worms, tomato hornworms, Aphids, Beetle larvae and Aphids / *Plants to attract: Lemon balm, Sweet Alyssum, Chamomile, Parsley, and Common Yarrow
- Damsel Bugs, although unattractive and a bit scary looking, don’t let that deter you from keeping these little guys around to help control the plant damaging pests in your garden. They are also known as Nabids and there are over 500 species worldwide. Some fly and some do not.
Eat: Mites, Moth eggs, Leafhoppers, Nymphs, Aphids and Caterpillars / *Plants to attract: Spearmint, Alfalfa, Soybeans, Other legumes and Fennel