Butterflies, bees, and bugs need your garden and your garden needs all these beneficial insects too. Creating an environment that is appealing to these insects will greatly enhance the success of your garden. There are many places insects can make their home and so the key is to make your space the most attractive option.
Why Do We Need Beneficial Insects?
The main reason is for pollination. When bees fly from one flower to another, they are passing on pollen and this pollen is what causes a plant to mature and grow fruit. Sure, you could do a lot of pollination on your own by hand but it is so much easier to let the bees do the work!
The second reason is that there are many good bugs that will eat the pesky bugs and therefore save your garden from being eaten up and destroyed. This reduces the need for pesticides and also reduces the work you need to do in the garden because, given the right circumstances, the bugs will happily do it for you.
What Do Beneficial Insects Want?
Like most creatures on this earth, the basic needs of beneficial insects are quite simple yet particular. They need food, water, and shelter. They are looking for a safe space to live and raise a family.
A plant flowers and produces nectar to attract insects to it. Each plant produces unique nectar meant to appeal to a certain type of insect. Not all insects want the same dish at the buffet! Plus, many like a buffet with a wide variety to choose from.
Plant a wide variety of vegetables and flowers and you will have a wide variety of beneficial insects showing up to enjoy them. To encourage a specific insect, it is important to research what plants or flowers they enjoy most and plant for them. There are around 4,000 types of bees in North America and each one has its' preferred food choice. It has been observed that bees tend to prefer native plants over exotic ones and they also prefer large patches of flowers.
All creatures need water and insects are no different. Butterflies, in particular, like to gather together and have a social drinking time. Installing a bird bath or a basin for catching rainwater will encourage these insects to stay awhile.
Insects need shelter to protect them from predators, to give them a safe place away from the elements, and to raise their young. Most insects like small hideaway type places, like bushes and hedges. They also like piles of wood or bunches of twigs, as well as hollow branches. Provide a variety of spots around your garden that will appeal to the insects and they will come.
Ditch the Pesticides
Pesticides don't differentiate between beneficial bugs and pesky, destructive bugs. Using any type of pesticide will get rid of all the insects. When the beneficial ones are gone, it is bad for the health of your garden and it is more likely that the garden will develop other issues. It also creates more work because now there are no good bugs to maintain the space and pesky ones can sneak back in and wreak havoc.
When it comes to planning and planting your garden, don't forget about our insect friends who do so much of the work for us and allow us to have fresh vegetables and flowers each and every year. For more ideas and inspiration, follow us on Facebook.