The Good Guys: Beneficial Insects In Your Garden

A number of insects in the garden provide several benefits including pollination of plants, eating insects that may harm the garden and breaking down decaying matter.

Around 80% of all flowering plants depend on insects and birds to help them transfer pollen. Bees are well known for helping to pollinate flowers. Butterflies, moths, wasps and other beetles also help with pollination. Some insects will gravitate toward certain types of plants. Bees typically congregate around open flowers with accessible nectar, usually with colours of blue, purple, white, and yellow. They cannot see red.

Fennel, dill and parsley are good pollen rich plants that will attract beneficial insects to your garden. Dandelions are also a good source of food and shelter for many beneficial insects.

Ground beetles, parasitic wasps, syrphid flies, tachinid flies and ladybugs all help keep other pest populations down. Some insects such as wasps and flies lay their eggs on other bugs and the larva feed off of them. Other insects such as ladybugs are predatory and are on the hunt in your garden. Ladybugs feed on small insects, aphids, mealy bugs and mites. Both the larva and the adults feed on other pests. Lacewings feed on other aphids, helping to reduce aphids in the garden. Assassin beetles feed on all other insects in the garden. Ground beetle larva feed on root maggots, slugs and worms that may harm your garden. Although they are not insects, earthworms are also highly beneficial in gardens as they aerate and enrich the soil.

There are many bugs in the garden that are helping to keep your plants healthy. So the next time you see a ladybug, beetle or worm, make sure to thank them for the wonderful job they are doing.