Beneficial insects for your Garden

Whenever we hear about insects, our common reaction is to get rid of them as they could destroy our beautiful plants. But let me tell you the other side of the story. Not all insects are harmful, in fact only 1/10th of the total insects can harm your garden. The rest are either beneficial or harmless. The beneficial ones can be classified into three categories –

Pollinators –

The work of these insects is to transfer pollens from male parent to female parent. This leads to fertilization and formation of seeds which help in propagation of plants. Many of the fruits that we eat are developed only after pollination and fertilization. Furthermore, the beautiful flowers that we see, are an adaptation to attract pollinators towards the plants.

Examples – Wasps, ants, flies, midges, beetles, bees and colourful butterflies.

Predators –

These insects eat other harmful insects, pests and bugs. They also feed upon larvae of pests which might be lethal for your plants. Predators feed upon different species of insects. So having them in your garden is a good sign. They are an important part of the food chain and with their presence, you don’t have to use harmful chemicals to kill pests.

Examples – Spiders, ladybugs or lady bird beetles, lacewings and mantids.

Parasites –

This is the third category of beneficial insects. They help us in protecting our plants by feeding on them but in a slightly different manner than predators. The parasites lay eggs on the body of insects and when these eggs hatch, the larvae feed upon the insect’s body. This eventually kills the host.

Examples – Parasitic wasps, Aphidius ervi

So whenever you see these flying or roaming around your plants, don’t scare them away. These insects help complete the food chain and maintains the ecological balance of your garden. You can even include some plants which attract these beneficial insects. Wasps and bees are attracted to coriander, dandelion, zinnia and parsley while bugs are attracted to alfalfa, marigolds and dandelions. So I guess instead of feeling nauseous or creepy around them, we should try to live in harmony with the bugs for the betterment of our plants!

Published by Reema

Entrepreneur | Author of 2 Ebooks | Gardener

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