Did you know that sometimes bugs are a good thing?
Beneficial insects are key to an organic garden and not all of those bugs you see in your garden are pests. Over the last two years I’ve become fairly good at recognizing the bad vs. the good. Usually, if you see bad bugs you are bound to see at least one good bug in the mix. The only way to truly learn the difference between the two is to get really close to your plants & snap a few photos for reference. Because I have a small backyard garden I have more time to spend just watching my mini ecosystem at work.
The most recognized good bug is the Lady Beetle aka Ladybug. Adult lady beetles eat aphids, mealy bugs & mites. Their larvae do as well and at a much faster rate. Sometimes Lady Beetle larvae are mistaken for bad bugs since they look nothing like their adult parents. To attract Lady Beetles plant Dill, Cilantro, Fennel & Yarrow. Adult Lady Beetles prefer the nectar from the tiny flowers of Umbels.
Below is a Lady Beetle larvae.
Another insect I love to find in the garden is the Lacewing. I’ve only spotted a few adults as they tend to be out more at night. I do however find their eggs near aphid infestations. Lacewings eat aphids, mealybugs, caterpillars, whiteflies, scales & thrips. To attract Lacewings plant Cosmos, Sweet Alyssum, & Angelica
Of course one of the most important beneficial insets are the bees.
Without our bee friends some of our fruits & vegetables will not produce due to lack of pollination. When we first started our garden I had to hand pollinate my cucumbers and squash. After adding additional pollinator friendly annuals and time I was able to draw in a few honey bees. To further our bee population we added Leaf Cutter Bee houses to the garden as well. We also purchased Leaf Cutter cocoons from Crown Bees and continue to watch them multiply and overwinter in their nesting holes. We now have a nice population of natural pollinators in the garden.
These are just a few of the beneficial insets you may find in your garden.
One book I keep on hand is Good Bug, Bad Bug by Jessica Walliser. The photos are an amazing resource for identifying common garden insects.