Beneficial garden insects you should know about

When you’re thinking about undertaking a professional landscaping project, or even sprucing up your garden yourself for that matter, insects are not usually one of your immediate considerations. But perhaps you should give them more attention than you think they deserve. After all, “bad insects” have the potential to turn your beautiful garden paradise into a homeowner’s worst nightmare.

For this reason, it’s a good idea to know which insects can potentially benefit your garden habitat and encourage them to make it their home.

Green lacewings

green-lacewingGreen lacewings are definitely good garden visitors. They are voracious predators that eat hundreds of undesirable bugs and their eggs. However, it’s lacewing larvae that destroy the most pests. Their primary targets are aphids – which is why they are sometimes known as aphid lions – as well as whitefly, mites, leafhoppers, mealybugs and certain moths and caterpillars.

Lacewings are native to Australia and can be found worldwide. They are attracted by Angelica, dill, fennel, dandelion, fern-leaf yarrow and caraway, to name but a few.

Ladybugs

ladybug-spirit-animalLadybugs – also known as Ladybirds or Ladybeetles – may look pretty and innocent, but they are actually ravenous and should be welcomed into your garden. However, like the lacewing, it’s their larvae which do the majority of the pest control – even though they can’t fly!

Ladybug larvae feast on aphids, mealybugs, scale and a range of other small, soft-bodied insects. Aphid-ridden plants can be cleaned up in no time at all by Ladybug larvae.

Many of the same plants that attract lacewings also attract ladybugs, so they are often win-win for your garden and you should try to introduce them wherever possible.

Parasite Wasps

parasite-waspParasite wasps might sound unsavoury, but unlike their larger, yellow-striped cousins – which people tend to frown upon – they are a gardener’s friend.

That’s because parasite wasps do not sting. Their stingers are instead used to deposit eggs into the bodies of insect pests. While it sounds macabre, Trichogramma parasite wasps lay their eggs specifically in the eggs of moths, which would otherwise eventually hatch into hungry caterpillars. After hatching, the Trichogramma larvae feed on their host and leave nothing but a hollow shell in their wake.

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