Gardening is a relaxing and rewarding activity to enjoy in your home. Gardens are often abuzz with bugs, but some bugs will help your garden thrive whilst others will destroy your garden. Know which bugs are beneficial for your garden.
From rolling back yards to pot plants on apartment verandas, gardening is a pleasant activity for anyone in any space. Ensuring your garden is lush and thriving and creating a beautiful space for your home requires work and attention. Water, sunlight, nutritious soil, and adequate irrigation are the ingredients that make a garden you can be proud of.
The last thing you want to come home to is a garden that is wilted and yellow, eaten, and dying. Many garden pests can cause your garden to turn from a sanctuary to a point of concern in your home.
Our gardens are full of living creatures. When we see bugs flying in amongst our Proteas or crawling underneath the leaves of our Aloes, we immediately worry. Certain bugs are beneficial for your garden. Let’s review the topic.
Beneficial Bugs for Your Garden:
When it comes to bugs in your garden, there are the helpful bugs, the bad bugs, and the outright ugly bugs. Know which bugs are beneficial to your garden and how to attract them so that your garden can bloom.
1) Fungus Gnat Predator:
Fungus gnat predators are tiny, tan coloured insects that consume fungal gnats, mites, and springtails. Fungus gnats are often the cause of root damage and root disease in your garden. Fungus gnat predators are beneficial to garden health.
Fungus gnat predators are difficult to attract and usually must be purchased from a specialised dealer. They will usually come in a peat mixture which you can then sprinkle over your soil.
Ladybugs are a symbol of luck, and your garden is in luck when ladybugs arrive. A ladybug is a small, red beetle with characteristic black spots on the shell. Ladybugs can also be yellow, orange, black, and brown.
Ladybugs are beneficial for your garden as their diet consists of pollen and many destructive bugs. Ladybugs consume aphids, mealy worms, mites, whiteflies, scale insects, and leafhoppers. All these bugs can negatively affect the growth of your garden plants. Ladybug larvae also are not harmful to your garden as the larvae will consume the destructive bugs.
You can attract ladybugs to your garden by planting certain herbs such as dill, fennel, mint, and parsley, as well as marigold and geranium.
3) Tachinid Fly:
Cabbage loopers, cutworms, gypsy moths, armyworms, and many more destructive insects are in for an awful death when tachinid flies are around. Tachinid flies lay their eggs in destructive insects. Once the larvae hatch, the larvae will eat their way out of the host insect. Tachinid flies have a high survival rate as even if a bug eats their larvae, the larvae will still manage to find their way out.
While you may be shuddering at the thought, tachinid flies are helpful for your garden as they target a vast number of destructive insects. Luckily, tachinid flies are very small so you will rarely see this fly.
Attract tachinid flies by planting carrots, most herbs, clovers, and anise hyssop.
4) Spined Soldier Bugs:
Spined soldier bugs are a type of stink bug. While we would warn against having a stink bug in your garden as they are destructive for your plants, spined soldier bugs are beneficial. You can tell the difference by the characteristic spines on the spined soldier bug’s body and legs which other stink bugs do not have.
Spined soldier bugs hunt and eat caterpillars and certain beetle larvae. They do suck moisture from your plants, but this process does not cause any damage to your plants.
Spined soldier bugs are attracted to long-lasting colourful flowers. Your garden gets to be beautiful with perennial flowers and no damage from caterpillars or beetles when attracting spined soldier bugs!
5) Aphid Midges:
Aphid midges are tiny flies with long legs and curved antennae. Aphid midge adults help pollinate your garden and aphid midge larvae are beneficial to reducing aphids in your garden. The characteristically bright orange aphid midge larvae will voraciously consume all aphids in sight.
All pollen- and nectar-producing plants will attract aphid midges.
6) Braconid Wasps:
Avid tomato growers, this one’s for you! There is nothing more frustrating than picking your perfectly ripened tomatoes to see big holes in them. Your salad is ruined, your mood is gloomy, but there is a bug here to save the day. Braconid wasps specifically target tomato hornworms, the culprit behind all your damaged tomatoes.
Braconid wasps will lay their larvae on the body of the tomato hornworm. The larvae will stay on the tomato hornworm, feasting on the body, until they are fully grown into wasps and the tomato hornworm is dead.
Plants with small flowers will attract braconid wasps. While they are still a type of wasp and you should avoid aggravating this bug, braconid wasp stings are harmless.
7) Damsel Bugs:
Do not be fooled, this bug does not need a knight in shining armour to swoop into the rescue. Damsel bugs are prey-hunting insects that can fly and run quickly. In appearance, they resemble a cross between a praying mantid and a stink bug.
Damsel bugs can be beneficial as they target aphids and numerous caterpillar species. They also can target other beneficial bugs and other damsel bugs, so it is up to you if you want to attract these bug-sucking creatures. Damsel bugs are often food for birds so they may increase the birdlife in your garden.
Marigold, fennel, and spearmint usually attract damsel bugs.
8) Ground Beetle:
The ground beetle is a large, shiny black beetle. Their dark colouring is suited to their nocturnal hunting patterns. If you dare venture out in the dark, you will see black beetles hard at work protecting your garden from slugs, snails, caterpillars, and cabbage maggots.
Ground beetles have a ferocious appetite for all ground walking pests. Attracting ground beetles will make quick work of removing destructive bugs from your garden. Compost heaps, perennial flowers, and a few vegetables will attract this shiny insect assassin.
Hoverflies are small, black-and-yellow-bodied insects that zoom around your flower garden using their large brown eyes to suss out the pollen in your flowers. They have a similar appearance to a wasp.
Hoverflies get their name as they are often seen hovering above flowers collecting nectar and pollen. The hoverfly larvae are the predators and will feast on aphids, caterpillars, and scale insects.
Hoverflies are attracted to yellow flowering plants such as yarrow or basket-of-gold.
10) Minute Pirate Bug:
Minute pirate bugs are (not surprisingly) exceptionally small, oval-shaped bugs. They are mostly black with a signature gold patch on their body and white-tipped wings. Although small in size, they pack a powerful punch as their bites can be painful to humans.
Minute pirate bugs are not fussy with their diet. They will consume any insects they come across in your garden. They are especially helpful if you have aphids, thrips, or spider mites.
You can attract minute pirate bugs with daisies, alfalfa, or piles of leaves which will lure other bugs as this will be an attractive food source. We suggest avoiding attracting minute pirate bugs if your garden is already buzzing with other beneficial bugs as they will eat these bugs as well.
11) Mealybug Destroyer:
Mealybug destroyers are small black beetles that are similar in appearance to ladybugs. Mealybug destroyer adults and larvae have one target, and you guessed it, mealybugs. Mealybugs are small, fluffy creatures that, despite their cute appearance, are extremely destructive in your garden.
The mealybug destroyer (which sounds like something out of a science-fiction movie) has earned its fearsome title. They will quickly curb the mealybug infestation in your garden. Unfortunately for mealybug destroyer larvae, they look similar to mealybugs. Adult mealybug destroyers will often confuse the two and consume their larvae.
Sunflowers, fennel, and dill will attract mealybug destroyers.
12) Green Lacewings:
Green lacewings will shock you with their brilliant green bodies and unique, lace-designed wings. The adult green lacewings will flit around your garden feeding on nectar and pollen while their larvae munch on many destructive insects.
Green lacewing larvae will consume whiteflies, leafhoppers, mealybugs, and aphids. Green lacewing larvae are also referred to as aphid lions due to the vast number of aphids they consume.
Coriander and dill are known attractors of green lacewings.
Pest Control and Good Bugs:
Pest Managers understand that certain bugs are not pests to your garden. Because we use only targeted eradication, we provide the most effective pest control
has to offer. This process only targets pests that are harmful or destructive without killing the pretty Ladybugs or tenacious Green Lacewings.
Alongside our target-specific eradication process, all pesticides used for pest control are environmentally friendly. Pest Managers use products that are biodegradable to ensure that we are not a pest to the environment.
You can feel confident when you hire Pest Managers to perform pest control in your garden. We offer immediate solutions, no damage to other beneficial bugs, and will not affect the growth and beauty of your garden.
Know the difference between destructive and beneficial bugs in your garden so that you know when you need to contact Pest Managers for pest control.