Dre Campbell Farm
Tachinid Flies

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15 Useful Insects and Bugs for Your Garden

You should view them as protectors; they help defend and maintain your organic garden. Useful insects protect your plants from pests that have the potential to cause a lot of harm.

Most people try to rid their gardens of helpful bugs, but a lot of these little creatures can benefit your garden in ways you could hardly imagine.

It is important to know which ones are friendly and those that can cause harm so that you don’t eliminate the good guys.

There are numerous beneficial insects that you can attract, but some of the most familiar can be found below.

1. Earthworms

Beneficial Insects - EarthwormMost women hate the sight of these slimy creatures, but they can have some tremendous benefits on your soil.

The way the worms move around the soil helps create air pockets for the plants to breathe. They also create gaps in the soil for roots to grow and help your plants prosper.

Soil is the foundation of your garden, and if it is healthy, you are one step closer to healthy plants.

Earthworms love organic matter like decaying leaves, rotten logs, and manure piles. Mulching dried leaves or pine bark clippings is a great way to encourage their presence.

2. Tachinid Fly

Tachinid Fly - Useful InsectsAttract the Tachinid Fly by planting different herbs such as parsley or dill.

These useful farm insects are small and harmless to your garden, with major potential. The larvae are able to attack bad caterpillars and burrow their way inside, eventually kill them.

Tachinid flies will eliminate numerous negative insects rather quickly. 

3. Bees

useful insects - BeesBees are basically the most useful insects in agriculture. Many people tend to be terrified of them, but their presence is vital for the growth of a garden.

They are obviously great pollinators and the pollination assists in the fertilization of your plants. Many plants require cross-pollination in order to thrive, and bees are able to provide just that.

You usually don’t have to do any special work to get them close, but bright flowers will certainly attract bees.

4. Soldier Beetle

Beneficial Insects - Soldier BeetlePicture via Stu’s Images

They thrive by feeding on aphids, caterpillars, and other insects. This is great if your garden is overrun with pests, but they sometimes eat beneficial bugs too.

If you are wanting to attract these beetles to your garden, you could plant hydrangea, catnip, and/or goldenrod. 

5. Minute Pirate Bugs

Minute Pirate BugsPirates will go after just about every insect that they come into contact with.

They are great at combating harmful insects; however, they sometimes go after the good ones too.

These bugs are extremely attracted to daisies and plants of yellow color. 

6. Ladybirds

Lady BeetleThe adult ladybird beetle (otherwise called Coccinellidae, ladybugs, or lady beetle) feed on mealybugs, aphids, and mites, but their larvae can cause even more damage.

These helpful insects are some of the most visible in the garden. Many farmers try to get rid of them, but they have many uses, making their visible presence worth it.

To attract lady beetles to your garden, plant angelica, fennel, coreopsis, yarrow, and /or dill.

7. Green Lacewing (Chrysopidae)

LacewingMost gardens seem to be overrun by little red mites, but the green lacewing can reduce their presence significantly.

They feed on whiteflies, caterpillars, small aphids, thrips, mealybugs, and mites.

You can purchase these insect larvae for a rather cheap price. In addition to being affordable, these garden insects also work well with most other good pests — they do not prey on them.

Plant cosmos, angelica, sweet alyssum, and coreopsis to attract lacewings to your garden. 

8. Wasps

WaspsAre wasps useful? Definitely! If you can get past the stinging capabilities of wasps, they are actually very valuable to your garden.

They eat many of the pesky creatures including mites, aphids, caterpillar eggs, and others. Wasps assist with pollination and reduce the number of harmful insects in your garden.

Wasps (paper wasp, yellow jackets, European hornet, etc.) primarily feed on insects that could be damaging to the crops.

Like bees, they will be plenty if there are flowering plants around.

9. Damsel Bugs

useful insects - Damsel BugsImage via Flickr

These are good garden bugs that are capable of eating bad insects that are even larger in size.

Damsel bugs are most helpful in vegetable gardens. They prey on small caterpillars, thrips, leafhoppers, aphids, and others.

They tend to stick around if you have alfalfa planted nearby.

10. Aphid Midge

Beneficial Insects - Aphid Midge
Photo via gardensdecor.com

These small black flies are able to eat 65 aphids in one day. They have a very short lifespan, but they reproduce quickly.

Pollen plants can attract them to your garden.

Aphid midge gets their name not because they are destructive, but because they feed primarily on bad aphids. 

11. Garden Spider

Garden SpiderThe garden spider that you see around is typically not harmful. In fact, they can help lower your risk of being bitten by other insects.

Spiders eat mosquitoes, flies, wasps, and beetles. They are able to create webs that trap harmful flying insects.

Webs are created between taller plants, so consider plantings corn, sunflower, and other tall plants to stimulate their activity.

12. Ground Beetle

Ground BeetlePicture via www.flickr.com

A single ground beetle is capable of consuming 50 caterpillars. They are most agile at removing pesky critters from the soil.

They aid in combating slugs and snails, worms, and even maggots. These bugs are so good for the garden because they still seek their prey when the others are dormant at night.

Plant perennials or white clover to attract and keep them around.

13. Dragonfly

DragonflyA dragonfly is extremely efficient as they are capable of consuming their body weight in bugs every 30 minutes, which is amazing.

Because they have such a fast digestion rate, they are always looking for their next meal. Unlike other pests, dragonflies are not creepy or crawly critters.

Many people find them to be beautiful and graceful creatures, so they enjoy their presence.

Place water in or around your garden to keep them around.

14. Braconid Wasp

Braconid WaspThese wasps are parasitic to little critters like caterpillars, moths, aphids, or weevils.

They eliminate harmful critters by injecting their eggs inside the host, where they feed, eventually killing it.

Plant carrot, yarrow, dill, or parsley to attract them. 

15. Spined Soldier Bug

useful insects - Spined Soldier BugThese bugs look very similar to stink bugs, but they have one distinctive difference. They have so-called “shoulders” that distinguish them from pesky stink bugs.

Spined soldier bugs are a relative of the stink bug, but they do not wreak the havoc of their “cousins”. They can help eradicate beetle larvae and hairless caterpillars.

Any organic garden could see benefits by having these little creatures present because they eat over 50 different kinds of harmful insects.

Plant perennials to attract and protect them.

Sasha Brown

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