Top 10 Beneficial Insects For The Garden
Insects in the garden are inevitable, but some insects harm flowers, vegetables, and other plants, while others are actually beneficial to have around. Successful gardeners often encourage the presence of these beneficial garden insects. Of course, it’s important to know which insects will help and which can hurt, so you can plan your gardening accordingly.
- Lady beetles, also called ladybugs, make a diet of mealybugs, scale insects, and aphids, all of which can cause damage to plant leaves and blooms. Lady beetles can be introduced to a garden or carefully taken by hand from one part of the yard to an infested plant.
- Lacewings in the larval stage eat large numbers of soft-bodied insects like aphids, hence their common name “aphid lions.” They will also readily eat mites, mealybugs, leaf-hoppers, white-flies, scale insects, caterpillars, and moths. Mail-order companies offer green lacewing larvae for sale, making it simple to introduce them to your garden area.
- Minute pirate bugs, as their name suggests, are only 1/16th of an inch in length. The diet of these tiny insects is made up of bugs called thrips, as well as mites and aphids.
- Big-eyed bugs, just 1/8th of an inch long, eat aphids, mites, and insect eggs.
- Assassin bugs feed on a wide range of prey – caterpillars, beetles, and almost everything in between.
- Damsel bugs, slightly smaller than assassin bugs but similar in appearance, eat thrips, aphids, caterpillars, and more. Their nymphs even feed on the eggs of other insects.
- Ground beetle larvae happily feed on cutworms, slugs, maggots, and caterpillars.
- Hover flies, also called syrphid flies, pollinate flowers, but their larvae feed almost exclusively on aphids.
- Predatory stink bugs eat caterpillars, grubs, and the larvae of sawflies. They may also eat beneficial insects, though, so balance is crucial.
- Praying mantises feed on caterpillars and many other garden bugs, including the helpful varieties. They can be beneficial if you need to get rid of an infestation of large insects, but they may not be so great if they eat up all your other beneficial insects.