Let’s face it, whether we are fond of creepy crawlers or not, some of them are extremely beneficial insects to have in our gardens. Of course, there are a ton of pesky bugs out there that will wreak havoc on your vegetable and flower gardens but I’m here to tell you to put down the chemical pesticides and buy or catch bugs instead .
Beneficial Insects: 5 Good Bugs to Protect Your Garden
If you don’t have a huge garden, you might only have to relocate the insects pestering your plants because killing them isn’t always necessary or beneficial. The insects that can cause harm to our crops can cause good in other aspects of the environment, eco-system, and other plants. If you’re not fond of bugging out your garden, no worries, there are other ways to ward off pests without the use of chemicals such as using traps and barriers, making organic insect sprays, or inviting beneficial insects to protect your precious plants. Before we move on to the good bugs, let’s briefly discuss the bad bugs first.
Beneficial with a drawback. Earwigs can be helpful by eating the dead leaves and debris from the compost piles helping to break it down BUT they can also put a hurtin’ on plants while feasting! They’re especially fond of carrot tops, fennel, and dill.
This little worm’s name says it all! They crawl out at night and destroy whole plants while you sleep. They work through the soil and chew through the stems of seedlings and small plants right below the soil. Your plants will look like they just laid down and gave up. Upon investigation, you will realize it’s no longer attached to the roots.
3. Potato Beetles
Tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants better watch out! The adult potato beetle and the larvae can defoliate a whole crop pretty quickly. This means your plant’s leaves will be gone and the plants can die.
These tiny bugs may seem cute but they will heartily feed on your garden vegetables, fruit trees, and even ornamental plants. In small numbers, they are perfectly harmless but when there’s an abundance, you can end up with stunted plants that may not produce and they can bring different diseases to the crops.
These slick suckers slide through your garden and eat up the root vegetables and fruits but they will take what they can get. They eat so fast that if there’s a lot of slugs in the area, you’ll be left with nothing.
1. Damsel Bugs
This damsel is not in distress, as a matter of fact, this damsel plays a hero! They feed on various invasive insects such as aphids, small caterpillars, leafhoppers/cicadas, and other creepy crawlers you don’t want around. You can attract damsel bugs by planting caraway, cosmos, fennel, spearmint, goldenrod, and marigold in your garden.
The larvae and the adults feast on the unwanted bugs in the garden. Mealybugs, white flies, and caterpillars are among the lacewing’s favorite. You can attract them to your yard by planting cosmos, sweet alyssums, coreopsis, and angelica.
3. Ground Beetles
This nocturnal insect will take the night-watch over the gardens. They eliminate cutworms, slugs, and cabbage maggots. Ground beetles are attracted to perennials and white clover.
4. Praying Mantis
This incredible insect is awesome! Since they’re bigger than the other insects on this list, they can eat bigger bugs and more of them. They will feed on aphids, grasshoppers, crickets, mosquitoes, flies, and roaches to name a few. Attract this beneficial insect by planting cosmos, marigolds, and dill.
5. Lady Bugs
Sometimes referred to as lady beetles, these cute tiny creatures will take care of any aphids and mites that invade the gardens. They’re attracted to dill, yarrow, angelica, and fennel.
Learn how to promote beneficial insects by watching this video:
I hope this list of beneficial insects helps you out in the garden this year. If you are choosing to grow organic and chemical-free, I want to say thank you and for those of you working on making those changes, keep up the good work and thank you too!
If you’re thinking of putting up an outdoor herb garden, check out our beginner’s guide to growing herbs outdoors!
What do you think of these beneficial insects to keep in your garden? Let us know in the comment section below!
Editor’s Note – This post was originally published in March 2017 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.