Beneficial insects for garden

Garden insects and pests are a pain. Spraying them with pesticides is not as satisfying as letting nature do the fighting. Read more to learn about this.

There are numerous insects you can rely upon, to be  faithful protectors of the plants you love, for it its their wont to do so ! We assure you, this is not a joke.

Insects can be beneficial by being predators of insects that feed on plants. Lady bugs, ground beetles, spiders, etc. are all voracious consumers of plant pests

Beneficial insects can be in the form of a parasite, wherein they parasitize the eggs, larva or body of a pest, and the larva when borne, eventually kills it. Tachinid flies and parasitic wasps  follow this modus operandi.

Ladybug

All of us have gone through a ladybug catching phase at some point in our life, admit it! The familiar and pretty ladybug keeps insects such as aphids at bay by simply feeding on them. Adult ladybugs are attracted to flower and pollen since they need pollen in order to reproduce. So, the next time you see a ladybug, control the urge to bottle it. Let it roam in your garden and act as a mean insect eating machine.

beneficial insects

Ladybug

Lacewing

Lacewings are pale green or brown insects and have large distinctive veined wings. They mainly feed on flower nectar. It is the lacewing larvae that eat away any soft bodied bug in their sight including aphids, thrips, caterpillars, moth eggs, scales and mites.

beneficial insects

Lacewing Stages

Hover/ flower/ syrphid flies

They look like small bees, albeit, with striped abdomens. Larvae are greyish or greenish and have pointed heads. Adult flower flies feed on nectar and pollen, whereas the larvae feed on other insects such as aphids. They also pollinate strawberries and raspberries, an added bonus.

beneficial insects

Didea fuscipes, a species of Syrphid fly

Ground beetles

These long legged bugs come in shades of blue and black. They are usually found relaxing under rocks during the day. Ground beetles are not as lethargic as they seem; any sign of danger and they run like there is no tomorrow. They feed on slugs, snails, cutworms, root maggots. Basically, anything that may (or may not) harm your garden. They can be attracted by providing perennial ground covers, stones or rocks, as they like safe and dark places.

beneficial insects

Ground beetle

Hunting and parasitic wasps

No matter how much you loathe the sight of a wasp, trust us when we say that wasps are the best thing that could happen to your garden. Wasps attack the eggs, and not the insects itself, proving greater pest control.

beneficial insects

Parasitic wasp

Spiders

Do not be disgusted. Spiders feed on other insects, preventing pest outbreaks. Do not worry about the spiders getting in your home because the spiders that are found outdoors rarely take shelter indoors (phew!). Perennial planting and mulch would result in a steady growth of the spider population in your garden.

beneficial insects

Garden spider

Tachinid flies

Awfully similar looking to house flies; tachinid flies are not that useless. They are the arch enemies of a host of worms including cutworms, armyworms, tent caterpillars, cabbage loppers, gypsy moths, sawflies, Japanese beetles, squash bugs and saw bugs. Tachinid flies may glue their eggs onto another insect, so that the tachinid fly maggot can consume it. Grow some nectar plants to lure them to your garden.

beneficial insects

Tachinid fly

The next time you see one of these bugs, bow your hat a little in its direction.

Happy Gardening

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