Beneficial Insects – Some Welcome Guests to Your Garden

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Our gardens are an ideal habitat for a host of animals, both beneficial and detrimental to our plantlife. With a little bit of planning and effort, you can tip the scales in your garden to make sure that nature is on your – and your plants – side. The best way to make your gardening life easier is to attract the helpful bugs into your garden. These insects will keep pests like aphids in check by hunting them as prey. You can woo these would-be exterminators by bringing in some of their preferred plants that they use as a secondary food source and a home. This post will look at the most beneficial insects and the plants that will attract them to your garden.

Lacewings
Lacewings are an elegant insect with beautiful wings when fully matured. The larvae of the lacewing is what you want in your garden, though. These little critters, also known as aphid lions, have a penchant for gobbling up pesky aphids that wreak havoc on your plants. Better yet, the predatory lacewing larvae will feed on mites and insect eggs, ensuring that there is no hope for future outbreaks.

If you are looking to attract lacewings, the following plants will do the job:

Fern leaf yarrow

Dill

Angelica

Purple poppy mallow

Caraway

Coriander

Fennel

Prairie sunflower

Dandelion

Ladybugs
Ladybugs are the quintessential cute bug and are instantly distinguishable with a ruby red colour and black spots. Like the lacewing, the ladybug larvae are predatory towards aphids and other garden pests.

To woo ladybugs to your plants, try to add some of these:

Carpet bugleweed

Basket of gold

Golden marguerite

Butterfly weed

Queen Anne’s lace

Fennel

Tansy

Spike speedwell

Hairy vetch

Hoverflies
Hoverflies, also known as syrphid flies, are a type of predatory fly that looks like a small bee or wasp. Thankfully, these little bugs do not sting, but they do feed on aphids. In order to catch their prey, these flies will rise high up on their back legs and catch the pests before devouring them.

For more hoverflies in your garden, add any of these plants:

Common yarrow

Lavender globe lily

Dwarf alpine aster

Masterwort

Purple poppy mallow

Feverfew

Poached egg plant

Pennyroyal

Spearmint

Parasitic wasps
These wasps employ a particularly dark method of providing a good start for their young. They use their stinger to inject eggs into insect pests. Over time, the hatchlings will emerge from their eggs and begin feeding on the pests – from the inside, out.

If you would like to welcome parasitic wasps into your garden, try the follow plants:

Fern-leaf yarrow

Masterwort

Caraway

Cosmos white sensation

Statice

Butter and eggs

Edging lobelia

Lemon balm

Tansy

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