To Eliminate Bad Insects You Must Attract Good Insects

Lady Bugs by Roger Lynn

TheGardenLady just attended an entomology lecture the other day. Insects are interesting and one has to learn how to deal with them both with indoor and outdoor plants. The safest way to get rid of the bad insect pests is to encourage good insects to your place. These beneficial insects do an amazing job keeping your garden pest free. By using pesticides or insecticides, you know that you will be killing off the good insects with the bad. So unless it is the last resort, you want to avoid poisons. You want to know how to encourage good insects by planting plants that will support the beneficial insects at all stages of their lives.

What are some of the good/beneficial insects? We all know about honey bees, butterflies and Lady bugs but here is a more complete list with photos of other beneficial insects.

Someone reading this column might say, “Well, I can buy beneficial insects.” Yes, there are places where one can buy beneficial insects. Here is a website that lists places to order them; TheGardenLady doesn’t know how current the list is.

But why would the beneficial insects necessarily remain on your property when you open the box and let them out? They might find your neighbor’s place more enticing and fly there unless you have so many insect pests on your plants that the good insects think they found “pig” heaven and want to remain. But you don’t want to get to that level of bad insects. You want beneficial insects to move in on their own because you have the location they find desirable to live in. You want to have maintained good gardening practices so that there are few bad pests. You want the good/beneficial insects to want to stay at your place because it is a good environment for them and they have just enough to eat but no more.

Dill by joeke pieters

How do you do this? You encourage beneficial insects to live on your property by planting certain plants in your garden. Dill encourages beneficial insects. I grow dill interspersed throughout my flower beds. A neighbor admiring my dill wanted to know the name of this lovely plant; it looks so feathery and pretty. I have lots of dill to use in cooking; dill is my favorite herb. By cutting it frequently dill doesn’t grow tall and go into seed. Though I don’t cut it all and do leave some for seed. The dill prevents a number of bad insects and attracts a number of good insects.

Grow marigolds interspersed among flowers and some vegetables. Old time farmers knew something they called companion planting which means growing plants paired together for the benefit of both plants (or not planting some plants next to each other). Companion gardening can attract beneficial insects that ward off pests or these companions can ward off the pests themselves, (see here). Marigolds seems to be the workhorse of companion planting. (See here)

Parsley is another plant that attracts beneficial insects. A complete list is on this website.

TheGardenLady doesn’t even have to plant some of the plants that help in the garden. The dill and the marigolds have been self seeding for years.

Zinnia by macropoulos

The saying is to remember to plant dill, mints, parsley and flowers like marigolds, echinaceas, zinnias and you will have beneficial insects come to your home to live.

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