It would be best to view them as protectors; useful insects help defend and maintain your organic garden. They pollinate flowers and protect plants from pests that have the potential to cause a lot of harm.
Most people try to rid their gardens of bugs, but many of these little creatures can benefit your garden in various ways. Therefore, it is essential to know which insects are helpful and those that can cause harm so that you don’t eliminate the good ones.
Below is a list of beneficial insects and other helpful animals that you can attract.
Bees 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 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.
The adult ladybug (otherwise called ladybird beetle or lady beetle) feeds on mealybugs, aphids, and mites, but their larvae feed even more voraciously.
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 ladybugs to your garden, plant angelica, fennel, marigolds, coreopsis, yarrow, and /or dill.
Image via Flickr
Most women hate the sight of these slimy creatures, but earthworms have some tremendous benefits on your soil.
Worms are not insects, but invertebrate animals and the way they move around the soil helps create air pockets for the plants to breathe. Moreover, earthworm casts help improve soil fertility .
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. A great way to encourage their presence is to mulch dried leaves or pine needles.
4. Tachinid Fly
Attract 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 killing them.
Tachinid flies will eliminate numerous negative insects rather quickly.
5. Soldier Beetles
Picture via Stu’s Images
These insects eat aphids, caterpillars, and other soft-bodied pests. This is great if your garden is overrun with pests; however, soldier beetles sometimes eat beneficial bugs too.
If you want to attract these good garden beetles, plant hydrangea, catnip, and goldenrod.
6. Minute Pirate Bugs
Minute pirate bugs will go after just about every creature that they come into contact with.
They are great at combating harmful insects; however, they sometimes go after the good insects too.
Use daisies and plants of yellow color to attract these predatory bugs.
7. Green Lacewing
Most 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.
Moreover, you can purchase them for a rather cheap price. In addition to being affordable, these beneficial garden insects also work well with most other good insects — they do not prey on them.
Plant cosmos, angelica, sweet alyssum, and coreopsis to attract lacewings to your garden.
Are wasps useful? Definitely! If you can get past the stinging capabilities of wasps, they are actually very valuable to your garden .
They eat many garden pests, including mites, aphids, caterpillar eggs, and others. Besides, wasps assist with pollination.
Wasps (paper wasp, yellow jackets, European hornets, etc.) primarily feed on creepy crawlies that could be damaging to the crops.
Like bees, they will be plenty if there are flowering plants around.
9. Damsel Bugs
Image via Flickr
These are good bugs for the garden that are capable of eating bad insects that are even larger in size.
Damsel bugs are most helpful in vegetable gardens. They are bugs that eat aphids and prey on small caterpillars, thrips, leafhoppers, and other pests.
These helpful bugs tend to stick around if you have alfalfa planted nearby.
10. 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 Spiders
Spiders are arachnids, not insects, but we included them on this list because most are beneficial.
The garden spider that you see around is not harmful. In fact, they can help lower your risk of getting bitten by other creepy crawlies.
Spiders eat mosquitoes, flies, wasps, and beetles. Moreover, they are able to create webs that trap harmful flying insects.
They create these webs between taller plants, so consider plantings corn, sunflower, and other tall plants to stimulate their activity.
12. Ground Beetle
Picture 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 helpful beetles 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.
A 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 and yard to keep them around.
14. Braconid Wasp
Braconid 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
These friendly bugs look very similar to the BMSB, but they have one distinctive difference. They have sharp, acute angles at their shoulders that distinguish them from pesky stink bugs.
In essence, the spined soldier bug is a predatory stink bug, but they do not wreak havoc like their “cousins”. Furthermore, they can help eradicate beetle larvae and hairless caterpillars.
Any organic garden could see benefits by having these important creatures present because they eat over 50 different kinds of harmful bugs and insects. For that reason, plant perennials to attract and protect these good garden bugs.