Having a bug-free garden may seem like the way to be, but opting for the pesticide route (even if it’s organic) can cause more problems than you would imagine. For example, using an organic pesticide could kill beneficial bugs on the surface of your lawn while leaving the grubs deep in the soil free to munch away on your plants’ roots without worrying about predators.
Another quick note on grubs: If you want to attract a few extra birds to your yard, toss any grubs you find while digging into a bird feeder. You’ll help your lawn look more beautiful while making some birds extra happy!
Everyone knows about lady bugs and their penchant for destroying aphids, but what about other beneficial bugs in the garden?
Aphid Midge – It doesn’t take an overly creative mind to figure out what aphid midges eat. These little nocturnal flies look similar to mosquitoes but measure roughly 1/16 of an inch across. They absolutely love (or hate?) aphids, killing upwards of 80 during their larval stages; much more than they could possibly eat. Aphid midges like sweet clover, sweet alyssum and mustard, as well as herbs like dill, parsley and cilantro.
Damsel Bugs – These bugs are great additions to any garden, being voracious eaters of most bad garden bugs and occasionally feeding on beneficial bugs such as the minute pirate bug. Damsel bugs tend to like herbs that produce pollen and nectar such as fennel, lavender, coriander or chamomile.
Ground Beetles (Carabidae) – No slug or snail is safe when the ground beetle is on duty. These beautiful little beetles tend to resemble little shiny green jewels with bug bits (legs and such). Planting perennials among your other garden plants will help to create a beneficial environment for the Carabidae beetle.
Lacewings –When lacewing eggs hatch, their larvae immediately begin tearing after aphids. This incredible appetite has earned them the nickname “aphid lions.” They don’t just attack aphids. Lacewings are known to go after most small, slow-moving insects such as mites, mealybugs and small caterpillars. Lacewings need a little nectar to create their eggs, so make sure to include some flowering plants such as cosmos and sweet alyssum in your garden.
Spiders – The vast majority of spiders found in your garden (and house, for that matter) are completely harmless to humans and great for your garden. Spiders do a great job of controlling garden pests such as mosquitoes.
By: Wylee Wooldridge