Insects get a lot of bad PR but there are all kinds of good bugs crawling around there. The key is attracting these good ones to assist in the organic enhancement of your garden. One of the first and most obvious ways to keep beneficial bugs in your garden is to avoid the use of the chemicals. Another key way is by using specific plants to attract specific bugs. This week we’d like to review the different types of plants and their related insects.

Lacewings

Lacewing larvae eat aphids, mites and other small insects and their eggs.

Plants that Attract

Fern Leaf Yarrow

Dill

Angelica

Purple Poppy Mallow

Caraway

Coriander

Cosmos

Fennel

Tansy
Queen Ann’s Lace

Lady Bugs

The adults are less helpful than the young larvae who eat many more pests than the adults, but one begets the other so attracting the adult beetles is key.

Plants that Attract

Fern Leaf Yarrow

Dill

Butterfly weed

Tansy

Marigolds

Cinquefoil

Prairie Sunflower

Hairy Vetch

Hoverflies

As adults these flies look like small little bees, but don’t worry they don’t sting. They lay eggs (white, oval, laid singly or in groups on leaves) which hatch into green, yellow, brown, orange, or white half-inch maggots that look like caterpillars. They feed on aphids, mealybugs and others.

Plants that Attract

Yarrow
Lavender Globe Lily

Feverfew

Buckwheat
Fennel
Spearmint

Sweet Alyssum

Parsley

Stonecrop

Zinnia

Daisy

Lemon Balm

Parasitic Mini Wasps

Like something from a horror flick lay their eggs in the bodies of insect pests. The eggs then hatch, and the young feed on the pests from the inside, killing them. After they have killed the pests, they leave hollow shells behind. Favourite foods for parasitic mini wasps include caterpillars, white flies and beetles.

Plants that Attract

Masterwort

Fern Leaf Yarrow
Dill

Cosmos

Caraway
Fennel

Lobelia
Sweet Alyssum

Cinquefoil
Lemon Balm

We’re not suggesting you become an entomologist but become familiar with which bugs mean no harm to your space. Nature has a way of balancing itself out if you give it a chance. Ralph Waldo Emerson said “Adopt the pace of Nature, her secret is Patience.” I think it applies.

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