While many of us have been conditioned to exterminate any insects that come near our plants, did you know that there are a wide variety of good garden bugs too?
If left untreated, a bug infestation can significantly damage the plants that call your garden home. Some suck the sap and nutrients from the plants, others cause leaves to yellow and drop off. The really bad guys even eat our plants, which in turn leaves both our gardens in a mess, more susceptible to other diseases, and can even obliterate agricultural crops. However, did you know that there are also a range of good garden bugs that we should not only encourage, but protect too?
An Introduction To The Good Garden Bugs
The good guys, or the superheroes of the plant world, help gardeners in more ways than one. Not only do these beneficial insects actually make a meal out of the less than desirable ones such as mites, aphids and scale, but they also contribute to the very important function that we call pollination.
Pollination is the transfer of pollen grains from one flower to another. This process is important, because it leads to the production of vegetables and fruits that we can eat, and in turn, the distribution of seeds that will create more plants. Along with the birds and the bees, many insects help move pollen between flowers and act as ‘pollinators’ – but how do you spot these so-called good garden bugs?
Lacewing – If you spot tiny white dots balanced on hair-like threads that are attached to the stem of one of your plants, there’s a high chance that they’re lacewing eggs. Before you grab the bug spray though, be aware that the larvae that emerge from those eggs will eat most garden pests such as aphids, mites, whitefly and other less than desirable insect eggs.
Lady Beetle – Otherwise known as ladybirds or ladybugs, these are insects that we all love to see in the garden, but they are even more welcome when green thumbs realise how many other pest insects they can consume. Ladybirds and their larvae control aphids, with some native species also being fond of mealybugs and hard scales for breakfast.
Praying Mantis – Although they might initially give you a fright if you’re pottering around the garden, the humble praying mantis is actually highly beneficial for tackling other larger insects that are too big for other bugs to consume, such as caterpillars, beetles and even mosquitos. Keep an eye out for their egg cases, which almost resemble small woven baskets.
Spiders – Perhaps the most controversial member of the good garden bugs gang, these eight legged residents are the godfathers of organic pest control. Their vastly complex webs catch many night-flying insects and are often prevalent in gardens, especially in autumn. Just be sure to wear gloves to avoid the potentially poisonous varieties.
Hoverfly – If bees are nature’s most important pollinator, then the humble hoverfly comes in at a close second. Furthermore, hover flies can help to control common pests such as aphids and scale insects, and are often seen ‘hovering’ in and around flowers. While their wasp-like black and yellow stripes help them escape predators, they mean no harm.
To encourage good garden bugs and other pollinators, the best approach is to ensure that your garden is a healthy, functional and safe ecosystem for them to reside in without inviting in other less than desirable insects at the same time. That means turning your attention to regular mulching, and ensuring that the soil has access to a wide range of organic matter. If you wish to avoid introducing synthetics or chemical based products, consider plant probiotics as a means to drought proof your garden, introduce good bacteria, and ultimately improve the overall health of the soil.
Further Gardening Advice From The Professionals
Spending time outside and in the garden is not only good for our overall well being, but it’s also an easy way to start educating yourself on the importance of sustainability.
At Bioweed, we specialise in organic solutions to ensure that your garden reaches its full potential the natural way. Based on the Sunshine Coast, our products have been embraced by people from all walks of life, and are backed with twenty years of research and industry knowledge.
If you’re ready to take the leap into improving the health of your plants while minimising the use of chemical based fertilisers and plant food, it may be time to try a plant probiotic. Our Ultimate Garden Health Pack includes our Biotic Booster, FP-60 Probiotic Spray , RE-250 Soil Energiser plant probiotic products. In each concentrated bottle, millions of natural bacterias are waiting to find a new home in your garden.