How much gardening media is consumed with pest control topics? Gardening store shelves are filled with pesticides, and organic gardening books are full of tactics to beat bugs with more natural tools. But having a bug-free garden is a bad thing. Here are some good bugs for the garden.
Why are Bugs Beneficial to a Garden?
Your garden is an ecosystem that relies on healthy soil. And bugs play a massive part in maintaining the soil. So much so that some soil scientists argue that invertebrate life can indicate healthy soil. Bugs can add organic matter to the soil, increase aeration, change the pH, increase drainage, and even deter other bugs from coming into your garden.
What Bugs are Good for the Garden?
Of course, there are some bugs you want to keep out of the garden, but what invertebrates are beneficial for the garden?
They eat all the organic matter that falls to the ground and becomes incorporated into the soil. This means they take nutrients that plants can’t use and turn them into something they can. They also aerate the soil as they move through it. This can bring much need oxygen into the soil and increase the area’s drainage. If you start working in the soil and notice the soil is gathered into tiny little pebbles, you probably have a good amount of worms in the ground.
If you want to bring more worms into your garden, you can buy them and introduce them. But please be careful. Buy worms that are native to your area so they will be adapted to live in the area. For North America, the most popular type is Red Wigglers (Eisenia Foetida).
Wolf spiders get big and are quite capable of giving you a scare when you find one in the garden. But you have nothing to fear.
They will not hurt the plants or you and are not venomous. But they are predators that live on the ground without a web and will eat the bugs in your garden that will eat your plants. So they are like free pest control. And in the fall, you may see a mother wolf spider carrying dozens of babies on her back. It was pretty shocking the first time I saw it, but it is a great way to know they were doing their job and eating plenty of pests.
These are typically big, bright yellow, and black in North America. They spin webs to trap pests to eat them. They are usually very calm and fun to watch while spinning their webs.
Lady bugs (not to be confused with Asian Lady Beetles) eat aphids, and they do it aggressively. They eat scale, mealybugs, mites, eggs, and other soft-body invertebrates. To make your garden place ladybugs want to be, you should plant things with yellow or white flowers like dill, cilantro, fennel, or chives.
Do you like to have bugs in the garden? Let us know below!
Ali is a work-at-home mom of 5. She spends her time homeschooling, gardening, and relaxing at the park.