Now that the weather is warming up and the flowers are blooming we are seeing a lot of activity in the insect world on our little patch of land. Most people who either don’t garden or are new to gardening think of all bugs as ‘pests’, but actually there are ‘beneficial’ insects and of course harmful insects. As the gardening season progresses and we find more harmful ones, I’ll share those with you, but let me share with you the ones you *want* too see, okay?
I’ve already shared this picture with you. But honeybees are one of the most important, if not most important insect you want in your garden. They do all the hard work in going around to each and every flower collecting pollen and mixing it between male and female flowers. These little bees are the ones that transform your flowers into fruit and vegetables. Without them, and we are having to think about those terrible thoughts these days, we’d be running around with paintbrushes pollenating things ourselves. At this time of year you’ll find many resting in flowers and flying comically around with loads of yellow pollen on their legs as Krista mentioned.
Most people have heard about how ladybugs are beneficial. But did you know that they are beneficial in the larval stage too? They look like little tiny alligators, with six legs and are about a quarter of an inch long. Both the larvae and the mature ladybugs eat aphids, mealybugs and the eggs of many insects. I’ve been finding the ladybugs most commonly on my roses which always have aphids on them.
This bug is one that it’s talked about as much. It’s a soldier beetle. They are about 3/4″ long with black bodies and orange heads. They, like ladybugs each soft bodied insects and their larvae eat smaller insects during their time living in the soil. They also act as pollenators. I commonly find them on our mint plants which also have aphids on them.
So how do you attract these guys to your garden in the first place? Well, you can mail order ladybugs. But we’ve found that simply growing flowers and letting a few vegetables go to flower is the best way to attract them. The more of a mix of food you can provide, the more varietes of insects you’ll attract and the more likely they will be to stay in your garden too.
If you’d like to buy ladybugs you can do so here:
“9,000 Live Ladybug Beetles Hippodamia convergens – Medium Garden”