Beneficial Insects For Your Garden

Beneficial Insects For Your Garden

The idea of having insects of any variation, living within the garden you work so hard to maintain, can manifest a troublesome stream of thought.  In truth, there are several tiny creatures that create a healthy dynamic for your greens.  In understanding how these insects operate, it is possible to work with them to create a natural balance within your own garden.

Here are the most common insects that can be a benefit to most all gardens:

•    Ladybugs – These familiar beetles work overtime to clear your garden of unwelcome guests.  Harmless to humans, ladybugs will feast on aphids.  They also lay their eggs directly onto aphid colonies, feeding on these leaf eaters three weeks before they hatch.  A ladybug not only eats up to sixty aphids a day, but they also have a ravenous appetite for other small mites and leafhoppers.

•    Parasitic Wasps – Fortunately, these are not the stinging wasps most tend find alarming.  These wasps feed on pollens and nectars, quite similarly to the ladybug.  Once they have found a home within your garden, they most commonly will begin to eat most anything in the grub/worm family.  These particular wasps are in need of moisture to survive, thriving on gardens that are well-watered with moist soils.

•    Praying Mantis – One of the larger species, these creatures are just as much interesting to have in a garden as they are helpful.  Praying Mantis can be purchased in egg form, and placed amid shrubbery or large leaf plants.  After they have hatched, they will dine on large beetles, fruit flies, moths and crickets.  They require a certain degree of humidity, and are hard to spot, as they tend to avoid direct sunlight.

•    Green Lacewings – These winged bugs were initially native to Australia.  They are now found worldwide, commonly used in gardens to ward off caterpillars and white flies.  Green lacewings commonly do not eat other insects.  Their main interest is that of insect’s eggs.  Although, if eggs are not in abundance, they will use their paralyzing venom to consume up to 200 aphids per week.

•    Dragonflies – The dragonfly is not only of assistance to your garden, but also the tending gardener.  Dragonflies eat mosquitoes.  They generally gravitate to tall reedy plants, weaving in between them to catch prey.  Importantly, any pesticide used to eliminate mosquitoes will also kill off dragonflies.  So, after spotting dragonflies and understanding their diet, sprays for mosquitoes can be eliminated.

In an effort to minimize the use and cost of pesticides,  allowing beneficial insects to house themselves within a garden is also a benefit to the gardener.  In most cases, the trick is to make sure your beneficial insects outnumber insects that can create damage.  Invite beneficial insects into your garden by providing nectarous flowers and flowering plants.  Also providing a garden with flowers that bloom at alternate times throughout the year will keep your helpful insects from traveling to find a new food base.  While it is possible to purchase these critters, it is sometimes most effective to encourage those that are already living within your garden.  Allowing your garden insects to work for you may provide astonishing results.

About the Author: Pamela Ravenwood is a freelance writer, journalist, and writing coach who lives in the desert. In addition to spending her days writing, she also loves to tend to her organic garden where she grows as much of her own food as possible. In this, she counts on her cord reel to keep her hoses from drying out from the desert heat.

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