Beneficial insects

Some insects can wreak havoc in your garden. Farms and agricultural companies spend millions of dollars a year on insecticides. In the American South, insects are credited with consuming around 600,000 bales of cotton. Relatively speaking, this amounts to around 150 million pairs of jeans. This is millions of dollars of lost revenue.

In an attempt of combat these pests, many farmers have relied on pesticides. Unfortunately, these pesticides have been attributed to causing ecological damage. Over time many  of these pests have adapted to the pesticides, rendering them ineffective.  For example, some fruit flies have developed the ability to not only resist pesticides, but they have also developed the ability to metabolize some pesticides. This is far from an isolated issue in that about 500 different species of insects are showing resistance to conventional pesticides.

Luckily, not all insects are bad. There are many insects that play an important role in promoting a healthy garden. In fact, our vary survival is dependent on such insects as the honey bee. Many organic farmers have started turning to “beneficial insects,” in an attempt to rid their gardens and fields from unwanted pests. These beneficial insects prey on less desirable pests.

There are many companies that sell beneficial insects such as lady bugs. However, insects don’t know where your property begins and where it ends. They also don’t seem to care much about staying in one spot. As such, one would be wise to focus their energy on promoting the beneficial insects that are already in their garden as well as finding ways to attract more of these insects.


Flower flies

I have never been a big fan of growing flowers. I have always been more interested in growing vegetables. However, beneficial insects are big into flowers. As such, growing flowers around your garden can be a great way to increase the number of beneficial insects in your garden. The more diverse your garden is, the more beneficial insects you will attract. Fennel, calendula, coriander, dill, and cosmos are all considered good plants for attracting beneficial insects.

There are many different kinds of beneficial insects. Honey bees play an important role in pollination. Some bees and wasps also prey on harmful insects. Ladybugs in particular are highly prized due to the fact that they eat large quantities of aphids, mites and other insects that feed on various plants. Flower flies in particular are attracted to flowers to feed on nectar and pollen. Their larvae feed on aphids in tight places where other good bugs can’t go, and are especially helpful in early spring before other beneficial insects are active.

(info on homesteading)

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