10 Easy Ways to Improve Your Garden with Beneficial Insects
Pests in your garden can be a frustrating and time consuming issue to deal with. Method after method you use can seem to lead towards unproductive results. The last thought you might possibly have would be adding more pest and insects to the mix. Regardless of how counterproductive this may sound, Mother Nature can sometimes be your greatest asset in your garden. By simply adding what we will refer to as “good bugs” to your garden, they will help in ridding your area of the bad insects responsible for your problems. Here are some ideas that will help you attract insects that can be beneficial to your garden area.
Do Your Homework
Being able to recognize which insects will be productive for your area and which ones create a mess is the first place you need to start. This will help with the ration you need to achieve as far as how many good bugs you want to have around. Praying mantis, stink bugs, ground beetles, and lady bugs can be some of the best gardening tools you have.
Create Helpful Hiding Places
Some of the good bugs you may have do their work at night. They spend the daylight hours hiding from the sun. Mulch, stepping stones, and rocks will create great places for your nocturnal gardening pals to hide throughout the day. This also helps them escape the heat of a hot sun during long summer days.
Make Sure They Have a Drink
Insects and bugs need to drink water and hydrate in order to stay alive. Make sure to have an efficient source of water for them. The puddles created from a sprinkling system will be more than enough. If you do not use a sprinkler on a regular basis, you may want to consider leaving a saucer filled with water or a small bowl for them to drink from. However, take the time to change and freshen up the water regularly. Water that stands still for too long will end up attracting mosquitoes.
Provide What They Like
Insects which are beneficial to your garden can be lured to your area by adding their favorite plants to your garden. There are several of these insectary plants for you to choose from. Sun flowers, parsley, alyssum, and lemon balm are all plants you might want to mix in with your variety. These plants will automatically attract the insects you want to have around.
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Create a Border
Experts believe that by using these beneficial insect plants to create a border around your gardening area, you will both attract and keep these friendly bugs in your garden. Borage, fennel, cornflowers, and cup plant are all perfect choices for creating your border.
Bugs for Sale
If you have been trying to attract these beneficial bugs and are still having a tough time keeping them interested in your garden, there is still another way. Both on-line suppliers and most local nurseries and gardening centers have these insects available for purchase. This is a great way to get a good start if you are having difficulty collecting the bugs on your own.
Leave Some of Your Weeds
If you are a perfectionist, this might be a struggle from time to time. Leave a few weeds alone and let them grow. This creates a higher diversity of plants within your garden, which in turn will attract more beneficial bugs.
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Don’t Use Pesticides
Beneficial bugs and insects can be affected by even organic pesticides. If your goal is to have a healthy and productive variety of bugs in your garden, you will need to avoid using any of these sprays what so ever. This keeps the good bugs alive in order to get rid of the insects, creating the mess and disaster you want to avoid.
Bees Can Bee Beneficial
Mason bees are an excellent choice and should be introduced to your garden. They will improve the pollination of your plants, giving them a productive role to play. By simply drilling holes into soft wood and hanging the pieces throughout your garden, you will be able to provide them with shelter. A coffee can may also be used. Simply lay the can horizontally and fill it with drinking straws.
Avoid Using a Bug Zapper
Using a bug zapper on a porch or patio, or anywhere else near your garden area is not a good idea. Studies have shown that even though your bug zapper light may not technically be in your garden area, it can still create negative results on the insects you are trying to keep around. Results of research have also shown that the bugs which are eliminated the most with these lights are normally the kind of bugs you want to have in your garden.
For a lot more great gardening tips, see our guide on 31 Ways to Make You an Organic Gardening Guru.