Mother Earth Living

Attract Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden

For all-natural pest control, encourage beneficial bugs (the kind that like to eat garden pests) to alight on your plot of land.
By Vicki Mattern
June/July 2012
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Predatory bugs include big-eyed (shown here), minute pirate, assassin, damsel and even certain predatory stink bugs.
Illustration by Keith Ward

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Not all of the bugs in your garden are pests. Many are helpful crawlers that can eliminate those “bad insects” that love to make your lives miserable, feasting on your favorite herbs for dinner. Discover which bugs are on your side (such as the non-stinging braconid wasp or the hard-shelled ground beetle), and which bugs are not. Then, learn how to build the perfect habitat that will make these beneficial bugs set up camp in your garden for good.

Enlisting an army of insect helpers maintains year-round pest control, no pesticide needed.

Read the original article, Enlist Beneficial Insects for Natural Pest Control.

Even More Pest Control Tips for Your Herb Garden

The Most Hardworking Bugs in a Garden 

Beating the Bugs That Bug 

Herbs vs. Bugs 

Natural Pesticides for Gardens 

Online Resources for Beneficial Bug Information

For a list of more than 100 additional plants that will give you year-round natural pest control by supporting beneficial bugs, check out Organic Pest Control: The Best Plants to Attract Beneficial Insects and Bees. If you’ve noticed plants in your garden that are bustling with insects while flowering, tell us about them in the comments section of that page.

Cover crops can provide food and shelter for beneficial bugs. A comprehensive cover crop database is available at SAREP Cover Crops. Entries include information about a crop’s attractiveness to beneficial insects and other selection criteria.

For more information on the findings of the California researchers who investigated how hedgerows may be able to increase beneficial insect activity on farms, see Establishing Hedgerows on Farms in California.

See the results of the Michigan State University study of 46 native plants by visiting Native Plants and Ecosystem Services. Researchers identified a group that provided flowers throughout the growing season and attracted a diversity of beneficial bugs.

Read More

Garden Insects of North America by Whitney Cranshaw

Natural Enemies Handbook: The Illustrated Guide to Biological Pest Control by Mary Louise Flint and Steve H. Dreistadt

Managing Cover Crops Profitably. Download a digital copy of this guide from Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education.

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