Top 10 Good Insects for Your Garden

One of the best ways to control pests in your garden is to encourage their natural enemies. Planting pollen and nectar plants, and providing protection for these beneficial insects, is a basic tenet of organic gardening, and a way to further increase the ecological diversity of your yard. I have listed the most common beneficial insects along with tips on attracting them to your yard.

Top 10 Good Insects in Your Garden

Ladybugs

Ladybugs

Ladybugs

The familiar round, orange spotted ladybug is just one of more than 400 species of lady beetles found in North America. Most ladybug adults and larvae feed on aphids and other soft-bodied insects. Adults are attracted to flower nectar and pollen, which they must eat before they can reproduce.

Lacewings

Lacewings

Lacewings

Pale green or brown lacewing adults have distinctive large, veined wings and feed mainly on flower nectar. Lacewing larvae, however, are voracious predators that feed on aphids, thrips, scales, moth eggs, small caterpillars and mites.

Hover Flies

Hover Flies

Hover Flies aka Flower Flies or Syrphid Flies

Adults look like small bees with striped abdomens; the grayish or greenish slug- like larvae have pointed heads. Flower flies are attracted to flowers to feed on nectar and pollen. The larvae feed on aphids in tight places where other good bugs can’t go, and are especially helpful in early spring, before other beneficial insects are active. Flower flies also pollinate strawberries and raspberries, producing larger fruits and higher yields.

predatory-bugs

Predatory Bugs

Predatory Bugs

Including minute pirate bugs, ambush bugs and assassin bugs (soldier bugs, big-eyed bugs). These bugs prey on many insects, including tomato hornworms, thrips, spider mites, many insects’ eggs, leafhopper nymphs, corn earworms and other small caterpillars. Pirate bugs are attracted by willows, buckwheat, corn and nectar and pollen from many flowers. Predatory bugs are attracted to bunch grasses, shrubs and other permanent plantings that provide them shelter. A unique lure is available to attract emerging soldier bugs to gardens.

Ground beetles

Ground beetles

Ground Beetles

Large, long-legged, shiny blue-black or brown beetles that hide under rocks and logs during the day, and are fast-moving when disturbed. They feed on slugs, snails, cutworms, root maggots, and Colorado potato beetle larvae. Attract them by providing perennial ground covers, stones, or logs. Rove beetles resemble earwigs without pincers, and feed on many insect pests and like similar conditions to ground beetles.

Parasitic Wasp

Parasitic Wasps

Hunting and Parasitic Wasps

There are hundreds of species of wasps, including many that are so tiny you can barely see them. These mini-wasps often attack the eggs of pests, and are one of the most important insect groups that provide control of garden pests. They can be attracted by growing by pollen and nectar plants.

Spiders

Spiders

Spiders

All spiders feed on insects and are very important in preventing pest outbreaks. The spiders normally found in gardens do not move indoors, nor are they poisonous. Permanent perennial plantings and straw mulches will provide shelter and dramatically increase spider populations in vegetable gardens.

Tachini Flies

Tachini Flies

Tachinid Flies

Although they look similar to house flies, tachinid flies are very important enemies of cutworms, armyworms, tent caterpillars, cabbage loopers, gypsy moths, sawflies, Japanese beetles, squash bugs, and sowbugs. Grow pollen and nectar plants to attract them.

Dragonflies

Dragonflies

Dragonfly

There are more than 80 species of dragonflies. They can be identified by their long narrow body, their large compound eyes and the four transparent wings.

There is variation in color. Sizes range from one to two inches.

The larvae are found in water. They eat mosquitoes, aphids and other pest bugs. Dragonflies have decreased considerably in abundance as the wetland areas where they live have dramatically decreased.

Want dragonflies? Don’t fill in that marshy area. Better yet, enlarge it, or dig your own pond.

Honeybees

Honeybees

Honeybees

Honeybees are important pollinators of many plants. Adults measure 2/3 inch long and are fuzzy, with gold-and-black striped bodies and transparent wings. Honey bees can often be identified by the balls of yellow pollen they carry on the backs of their legs.

Grow flowering plants. Encourage wild honey bees.

Because the spread of mites has seriously reduced honey bee populations, the wild honey bees that are left are even more important. Fun fact Pollinators are estimated to be worth $8 billion to our economy!

Many other insects are pollinators as well.

These good guys will help your garden stay healthy – but there is also a good number of bad guys that can do a lot of damage! For the Top 10 Bad Insects for Your Garden, check out:

http://www.mama-knows.com/gardening-tips/top-10-bad-insects-for-your-garden.html

Hope you enjoyed reading this information and that it will help your gardening efforts! Your comments and suggestion will as always be very much appreciated

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About the author

Hanna Trafford

Hanna is the mother of two grown sons Dan and Dusan Nedelko, step mother to Abbie Gateman and is also a brand new Grandmother. She is the lead editor of Mama Knows and is hoping to create an exchange of communications with other grandmothers, mothers and daughters - giving everyone the opportunity to learn and share about everything that is "Mama"

12 comments
submit free articles - March 25, 2010

A lot of things in one place, thanks..

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    Hanna Trafford - March 30, 2010

    Thank you for you kind words – if there is anything specific you would like to see, please let me know!

    Reply
Lita Hurrigan - April 26, 2010

As a Newbie, I’m often searching on-line for articles which could support me. Thank you

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Top 10 Good Insects for Your Garden « O Park CSA - July 7, 2010

[…] Here are top 10 Good Insects in Your Garden: – Ladybugs – Lacewings – Hover Flies – Predatory Bugs – Ground beetles – Hunting and parasitic wasps – Spiders – Tachinid Flies – Dragonfly – Honeybees […]

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michael summerfield - September 5, 2011

I was surprised to see stink bugs as beneficial. it seems like they’re eating my cherry tomatoes and peppers?

Reply
    Hanna Trafford - September 6, 2011

    Hi! Thanks for your comment – I am not sure sure which bugs you mean – and before I look into getting you the correct response, can you let me know which bugs you are calling “stink bugs”? Looking forward to your response!

    Reply
Kassie n - November 29, 2011

It’s great for my assignment 5 stars

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ghaneshyam roy - May 25, 2012

i share this page in facebook for farmar help

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tony - May 31, 2014

are green bugs go or bad???

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tony - May 31, 2014

are green bugs good or bad for the garden??

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Gardening Mama Coloring Easter Eggs - September 6, 2014

[…] Top 10 Good Insects for Your Garden | Mama Knows – One of the best ways to control pests in your garden is to encourage their natural enemies. Planting pollen and nectar plants, and providing protection for these …… […]

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