Beneficial Insects for Your Garden

Spring is still a few months away here in Northern Illinois which gives me time to write some more on my blog. Today I want to talk about insects. Not the bad ones but the good ones you want to be hanging around.

Beneficial garden insects are used to control the population of harmful insects. Especially when it comes to organic gardening. This type of gardening does not use any chemical pesticides to curb the activity of the unwanted pests. So to control these the organic gardener uses their natural predators. The trick is to learn which are beneficial garden insects.

What are the Beneficial Insects and Why to Use Them?

Mention the word insect or bug and some people shudder. Or the thought may occur that the bug that will damage plants. Think of the hard earned money you just spent on your plants. You will know what I mean! I have discovered that are many of them that help your garden rather than harm it. They actually devour the harmful ones and helps your plants grow normally and thrive. Check out the list below to see some of the species of beneficial insects. You will find they help with your gardening efforts:

Ladybugs

These should be at the top of your list of insects to have living in your lady-bugs-for Chicago-gardensgarden. They feed on aphids (often called plant lice) for one thing. Even their larvae eat up the aphids in large numbers. One ladybug can consume as many as 5,000 aphids during its lifespan. The adults can have bodies that are from yellow to red with very distinctive spots. Plus there are even some black ones. They give off a foul-smelling fluid when they are bothered. As a result they can scare off predators.

Hover Flies

These are another predator of harmful insects. They are so named because they can hover in mid-flight and then fly off again. They eat thrips, scales, caterpillars, and aphids just to mention some of the insects.

Ground Beetles

They are either shiny brown or blue black in color. They love some type of shelter to live under such are rocks or logs. These beetles will eat cutworms, snails, root maggots and more. If you have the sheltering for them they are easily attracted to your garden.

Lacewings

They are brown or light green. They can be recognized but their good-sized wings with very distinctive veining. The adults and their larvae search over the plants in your garden to feed on insect eggs, aphids and more. They hide under debris to protect themselves.

Spiders

Spiders are very important to the garden for controlling unwanted, harmful insects. Using straw for mulch and growing perennials will help encourage the spiders to live in the vegetable or flower gardens. These should be attracted not looked down upon.The above are just some of the insects that give you beneficial results in a garden. There are many more.

Plants that Attract Insects

Some plants will attract insects more than others. Below is a partial list for some examples:

Anise

Blanket Flower

Broccoli in the flowering stage

Candytuft

Catnip

Dandelion

Goldenrod

Lavender

Mexican Sunflower

Rosemary

Sage

Sunflowers

White Clover

Zinnias
Many other plants will attract insects. These are just some examples for you to see. Grow enough of these types of plants and you will encourage the helpful insects to come live in your garden.

Where to Get the Helpful Insects

Some of the helpful insects can be purchased through plant nurseries or online. Ladybugs are one good example of this. Others just need the right living environment to find their way to your garden. Before attracting or releasing any of these helpful insects, make sure the prey they like to feed on is present. Otherwise they cannot sustain themselves. As an organic gardener you should understand that you cannot and should not get rid of all the insects in your garden. Instead learn which ones are beneficial garden insects that will eat the harmful ones. This way you can have balance in the garden.

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