Attracting Beneficial Insects To Your Garden

July 6, 2015, by Ken Jorgustin

thomas-jefferson-garden
Watercolor painting of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello

As every gardener knows, some insects (bugs) eat our crops. The good news is that there are some insects (bugs) that will instead eat the bugs that are eating our plants! These are called beneficial insects. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to attract the beneficial insects to your garden so they can readily prey on the bugs that might otherwise damage your hard work crops?

The secret to attracting them is to make your garden appealing. Here’s how:


 
Beneficial insects are bugs with carnivorous tendencies. They will eat or destroy the other bugs.

To attract them and keep them around, you need the right environment habitat. While the beneficial insects are bug-eaters, they also need nectar and pollen for food during stages of their life cycle. This can be accomplished by planting flowers in your vegetable garden. They (the beneficial insects) will also serve as pollinators during this stage of their life.

What flowers to plant for beneficial insects?

Bear in mind that ideally you would like flowers blooming throughout the year for a continual food source for the beneficial insects. While many or most varieties bloom in the spring or early summer, look for those that also bloom later and into the fall.

Here’s a list of beneficial flowers to attract beneficial insects:
source: Modern Farmer

Spring-Flowering Beneficial Attracting Plants
Sweet Alyssum
Rosemary
Thyme
Crimson clover
Bugleweed

Early/Mid Summer-Flowering Plants
Lavender
Yarrow
Mint
Queen Anne’s Lace
Roman chamomile

Late Summer/Fall-Flowering Plants
Bee Balm
Mullein
Goldenrod
Fennel
Aster

 

What are some of those beneficial insects?

Assassin Bugs eat caterpillars and aphids.
assassin-bug
 
Damsel Flies eat aphids, mites, caterpillars.
damsel-fly
 
Hover Flies eat aphids, scale.
hover-fly
 
Lady Bugs eat aphids, mites.
lady-bug
 
Lacewings eat scale, aphids, mites.
lacewing
 
Pirate Bugs eat aphids, mites, scales, thrips, whiteflies.
pirate-bug
 
Praying Mantis eat all types of insects.
praying-mantis
 
Spiders eat all types of insects.
beneficial-spider
 
Stink Bugs eat caterpillars.
stink-bug