‘Beneficial Insects are the key to organic growing’
Many plants that attract many different types of beneficial insects but for the purposes of this post we will look at the most popular. First of all lets take a closer look at what is meant by beneficial insects. When referring to beneficial insects I am speaking of insects that do one of two things. 1) They predate on other insects and other feeders that eat your crops or 2) increase yields through pollination.
Beneficial Insects – Hover Fly
Hover Flies look like wasps and feed off nectar and pollen making them more important insects to attract. Their larvae eat a large amount of aphids and other garden pests so they act as both pollinators and pest controllers. Try planting Yarrow, Alyssum, Dill, Egg Plant & Lemon Balm to name a few and you should see the Hover flies start to appear.
Beneficial Insects – Parasitic Wasps
Killing a large number of garden pests by incapacitating them and then laying it eggs inside their host. Their young then grow inside of the host before feeding off of them until they are ready to bust out like a scene from an alien movie. They target caterpillars, sawflies, ants and aphids to mention a few. Plant Yarrow, Mallow, Cosmos and or Marigolds and they soon should appear.
Beneficial Insects – Ground Beetle
If you suffer from slugs or snails then send for the Ground Beetle. Organic growers love this insect as it is a voracious eater and can eat a large number of pests. This beetle is so successful that organic farmers are now planting flower meadows to provide a habitat. These beneficial insects also eat the carrot fly so that’s another good reason to have them around. A word of warning, if you lay beer traps for slugs these beetles are also known to fall in and drown. However, there are a number of beer traps available that include lids specifically designed to prevent anything other than the slugs becoming trapped.
Beneficial Insects – Ladybirds
Ladybirds are no doubt one our favourite bugs and loved by children and adults alike. You can attract these little beauties by growing Fennel, Tansy and Alyssum to name a few. Ladybird larvae can eat up to 5000 aphids so you get plenty of bang for your buck with these.
Beneficial Insects – Solitary Bee
Finally the Solitary Bee, unlike the most other bees this one lives on it’s own hence the name. Lavender, Cat Mint, Fuschia, Heather and Marjoram attract bees and bees are some of the best pollinators out there. If you can attract some if these beneficial insects to your garden then your organic growing success will be greatly increased. You will then spend less time in the garden trying to control pests and more time harvesting the bounty. If you would like to know more try reading our blog on What Is Permaculture? which may provide you with more information.
Until next time. Learn as you grow.
Your friendly Suburban Farmer – Edible Gardens Team
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