It could be said organic gardening entails doing things the way they used to be done. In many ways, many of the steps employed in organic gardening employ the traditional means to care for a garden. These approaches can often be better and safer. This is clearly the case when organic pest control methods are used instead of spraying a garden with poisonous chemicals.
Long before commercial pesticides where developed for the purpose of eliminating annoying bugs and rodents, the way to deal with such creatures was to draw in their natural predators. No, not all insects are bad neighbors to a garden as many can contribute to organic pest control. In fact, the presence of beneficial garden insects can actually help improve the ecosystem of the garden immensely. The presence of certain bugs will save you from the disappointment of venturing out into your garden and discovering leaves, fruits, flowers, and vegetables have been devoured by unwanted pests.
The Major Predatory Insects That Can Help A Garden
A number of the main predatory insects are likely ones most people have heard of, but many of them might be somewhat surprising. A few of these insects are somewhat garish looking and others reflect the evolutionary beauty of the natural world. Collectively, these creatures can definitely eradicate a number of unwanted pests in a garden. Here are a few of the most well known and most helpful insects an organic garden could benefit from:
Ladybugs: Ladybugs are probably the most well known of the more appealing looking beneficial garden insects. Ladybugs are a type of beetle and are close cousins to ground beetles. Both of these beetles are predators and they can eliminate a host of destructive insects that find their way into a garden. Aphids, for example, are a staple of ladybug diets.
The Praying Mantis: The Praying Mantis is a unique insect and it has been mentioned in folklore in cultures all over the world for centuries. The positioning of the arms of this insect makes it look as if it is praying. Really, the position is for preying. With its arms, the mantis captures other insects in order to eat them. So valuable is this creature, killing one in certain areas can lead to a huge fine. There is a surprising bit of evolutionary trivia found with this insect: the majestic looking green insect is actually a relative of the cockroach. Equally shocking, a large mantis might even be able to feed on a rodent making it one of the best members of the organic pest control fraternity.
Lacewings: When these green insects fly, they look benign and harmless. The larvae version of the lacewing is much more aggressive and can devour quite a number of smaller, more pestering insects.
Ambush Bugs: The name of this insect is quite an apt one. It will ambush its prey and eat it. Spider mites and earworms are commonly feasted on by these creatures.
Pirate Bugs: These bugs will find a home in or near flowers as pollen and nectar will draw them in. They will feed on insect eggs, small stage caterpillars, and hornworms among others.
Rove Beetles: Beetles definitely are friends to organic gardeners since they are such consistent and effective predators and beneficial garden insects. The Rove Beetle, in particular, can annihilate snails and mites.
Hover Flies: At first glance, these flies will be confused for bees. The larvae version seems as if it is a slug. As flies, these creatures love pollen and nectar. When they are larvae, they eat aphids. Best of all, the strange shape of the larvae allows them to reach aphids that may be hiding in somewhat out of the way places.
Soldier Beetles: These beetles can form an army capable of destroying garden pests such as aphids. That alone helps them make the list of beneficial garden insects.
Spiders: Spiders are not exactly the most welcome creatures in a garden. In truth, there are poisonous and biting spiders capable of causing great harm. However, the arachnids common to gardens are not usually poisonous. As will all other species of spiders, they will eat insects and this includes the common pests in a garden.
Trichogramma: No one wants a wasp anywhere near them and a trichogramma is a wasp. There are, however, also known as stingless wasps and they means they do not preset a hazard. These wasps have been used for well over a hundred years to feed on annoying insects in a garden or other harvest source. Most often, these wasps will eat lepidopteran pests.
Nematodes: The name nematodes is the official name for the common roundworm. While nowhere near the prettiest of insects, these creatures can be critical for garden health. This insect will eat up cutworms and the ”evil” nematodes known as root-knot nematode.
Tachinid Flies: At first glance, tachinid flies might look like common house flies, but they are different. These flies eat squash bugs, armyworms, cutworms, gypsy moths, and other common variety garden pests.
How To Attract These Beneficial Garden Insects
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There are extra steps that can be taken in organic pest control to draw in these extremely helpful garden protecting insects. Simply planting a large number of flowers that are known for giving off a lot of nectar may be more than enough to draw scores of predatory insects to your garden which will remain there as they eat the unwanted insects that make it their home.
By Valerie Garner
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