Most people think negatively when they think about bugs in their yards and gardens. But there are actually some beneficial bugs you may actually want and need in your garden. These bugs can stop other pests from destroying the vegetable and herb gardens that you worked so hard on.
These beneficial bugs can actually defend your garden from the yucky, creepy, crawly bugs you really don’t want around. You know the ones I mean, the ones that bring destruction to your crops and plants and those that are simply annoying that drive us crazy when we are trying to enjoy being outside.
1. Ground Beetles
These beneficial bugs are nocturnal. They are a great predator of slugs, snails, cutworms, cabbage maggots, and other pests that live in the soil of your gardens.
The larvae of these beetles can consume more than 50 caterpillars! In Florida, we welcome these beneficial bugs to our gardens.
Be careful, though, as these guys have some powerful pinchers and I can tell you from experience that they pack a powerful pinch when they get you!
Ground beetles prefer a habitat of perennials and white clover ground cover.
Lacewings and their larvae consume aphids, caterpillars, mealybugs, scales, thrips, and whiteflies.
Their habitat includes flowers such as Angelica, Coreopsis, Cosmos, and Sweet Alyssum. Lacewings are found everywhere.
3. Lady Beetles
These beneficial bugs are better known as Ladybugs to most people. They eat aphids, mites, and mealybugs, and their hungry larvae do even more damage to garden pests.
Lady Beetles prefer Angelica, Coreopsis, Dill, Fennel, and Yarrow.
4. Soldier Beetle
The soldier beetle feeds on aphids and caterpillars, as well as other insects – including harmless and beneficial species.
You can attract Soldier Beetles by planting Catnip, Goldenrod, and Hydrangea.
I think bumblebees are the single most beneficial bug for the garden. They pollinate many of the food crops that we eat on earth, more than any other pollinator. Read How To Attract Bees To Your Garden for more information.
6. Praying Mantis
The Praying Mantis is one of the best-known beneficial bugs next to the bumblebee. It gets its name from its 2 thick, front legs lined with spikes for grasping prey.
This bug will eat just about any insect, good or bad, including caterpillars, grasshoppers, crickets, wasps, and bees.
Beneficial bugs can actually be purchased online for release into your garden. Some sources are listed below:
- Gardens Alive: This site sells not only beneficial bugs but other gardening stuff as well. A very useful site.
- Planet Natural: This site sells beneficial bugs as well as a plethora of gardening supplies.
- Evergreen Growers Supply: This site ships all the insect control products one could need and then some.