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Attracting Beneficial Insects to your Vegetable Garden

Don’t let garden pests bug you! With the onset of warmer weather, gardeners are starting to notice the arrival of more and more bugs to their vegetable gardens. Don’t fret! In reality, 95% of bugs aren’t actually pests – in fact, attracting beneficial insects to your garden can help regulate or even eliminate populations of insect pests that feed on and destroy our precious veggies.

In order to welcome these beneficial insects into your garden, make sure that plants are blooming throughout the year – this means choosing plants that bloom in each of the seasons – so that the good-guy insects can have a constant source of nectar and pollen. You should also provide an accessible source of water as well as shelter (could be as simple as leaf litter or planting groundcovers).

Planting certain plants will also attract specific beneficial insects. Check out this list of beneficial bugs and what they are respectively attracted to:

Beneficial insects and what they are attracted to:

Assassin Bug – Sunflowers

Damsel Bug – Clover

Damsel Fly – Water

Giant Wheel Bug – Shrubs and trees

Ground Beetle/Scarab Beetle – Stone pathways, white clover, compost piles

Honey Bees – Pollen and nectar-producing flowers like asters, black-eyed Susans, goldenrod

Lacewing – Nectar-producing plants like scented geraniums, roses

Lady Beetle, Ladybug – Nectar-producing plants like tansy, scented geraniums, tropical milkweed

Praying Mantis – Flower and vegetable gardens

Predatory Flies – Nectar-producing plants

Predatory Wasps – Pollen-producing plants with tiny flowers like caraway, fennel, tansy

Spiders – Flower and vegetable gardens

Syrphid Fly – Composite flowers like dill, fennel, coreopsis, feverfew

For more help on controlling pests in your garden this spring, check out Grow Local’s Spring Pests & Diseases class on March 11th, held in the Teaching Garden! Learn to identify common pests and diseases in your spring vegetable garden and the homemade or organic remedies that can keep your garden looking great.