10 Ways To Attract Beneficial Insects To Your Garden

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10 Ways To Attract Beneficial Insects To Your Garden

If you’re fighting off pests in your garden, it might seem counter-intuitive to bring more pests into the mix, but bear with us! Believe it or not, you can use Mother Nature to your advantage in your garden by introducing “good bugs” that will eat up all of the “bad bugs” that are wreaking havoc on your plants.

Read on for some great tips on attracting beneficial insects to your garden.

Do Your Research

If you want beneficial insects in your garden, one of your first orders of business should be to recognize which insects are helpful and which ones are hurtful. That way, you can have some sense of the ratio of good-to-bad bugs in your garden. Some of your best garden friends? Lady bugs, ground beetles, praying mantis, and stink bugs!

Be Generous With Hiding Spots

While some “good insects” will patrol your plants all day long to eat up the pesky insects, others like to hang out underground during the day,and only do their patrolling at night. Make sure to give your nocturnal garden helpers some shade to hide from the sun. You can do this by using stepping stones, rocks, or mulch. As long as you give your new friends a place to stay hidden during hot summer days, they should be fine.

Give ‘Em A Sip

Just like us, insects need to drink to stay alive. So make sure that there is adequate water for your helper bugs to drink in your garden. If you already have a sprinkler system in place, the puddles from that should be enough. Otherwise, you might want to leave a small bowl or saucer nearby for your new found friends to drink from. Just make sure not to leave any bowls of water out for an extended period of time without changing the water, or you will attract the wrong kind of insect friends-mosquitoes!

Mix ‘Em In

You can lure beneficial insects into your garden by planting their favorite plants in with your regular plants or veggies. These are called insectary plants, and there are quite a few of them! Some great choices are things like alyssum, sunflowers, lemon balm, and parsley, but there are many more as well. By planting these plants alongside your regular garden plants, your beneficial insect friends will already be there to protect your garden! For a more detailed list of insectary plants, check out this article.

Make A Border

Many experts say that making a border of beneficial insect-friendly plants around the perimeter of your garden is a great way to attract and keep your bug helpers in your garden. There are quite a few plants out there that are perfect for border planting, including cornflowers, borage, cup plant, fennel, and more.

Buy Their Love

If you have lots of trouble attracting beneficial insects to your garden, you might have to cheat a little bit. You can actually buy the insects you need from an online supplier or a local garden shop. For example, you can buy live ladybugs from this page on Amazon. This is a good way to get started if you just can’t seem to draw beneficial insects in on your own.

Don’t Pluck All Your Weeds

If you are an OCD gardener like me, this one might be a little tough for you. Make sure not to always pluck every single weed. Leaving a few weeds undisturbed can attract a greater diversity of plants to your garden, giving you a greater chance of hosting beneficial bugs.

Stop Spraying Pesticides

Even organic pesticides can be damaging to beneficial insects, so in order to keep a healthy balance in your garden, you will have to stop using pesticides altogether. By ditching the pesticides, you can keep the beneficial insects alive, so they can take care of the nuisance insects for you!

Bring In The Bees

Mason bees are a great choice of beneficial insect to introduce to your garden! Mason bees can help improve pollination of your plants, so you definitely want them around. You can drill holes into soft wood and hang the wood around your plants, or you can place a coffee can horizontally and fill it full of drinking straws. For even more ideas on how to build a house for your mason bee friends, check out this article.

Don’t Buzz Them

If you use a bug zapper light on your patio or in your yard near your garden, you might want to rethink that idea. Research shows that even if a bug zapper light is not technically IN the garden, it can harm many of the garden’s insects. Even more interesting? Research also shows that the bugs that are most often killed in bug zapper lights are beneficial insects and not harmful ones.