There’s a lot going on in a garden like this. There are all kinds of plants and animals, and sometimes there can be friction. Fortunately, there are also a lot of beneficial insects in the garden, which recognize and fight annoying pests. In this article you will learn which of the useful little helpers you can discover in your garden, who finally kills aphids and how you can promote beneficial insects in your garden.
On the hunt for clues in the garden: Which beneficial insects can you find?
All creatures in the garden love to eat plants – that’s why your little plants sometimes get sick. But don’t panic, because beneficial insects help you keep your plants healthy. And they do it without any chemical pesticides! A beneficial insect is an organism that destroys harmful animals. Beneficial insects in the garden can be arachnids, insects, mammals, but also fungi or bacteria. They are the most effective and natural plant protection measure. That’s why it’s so important that you know which of the little animals are beneficial in the garden and how you can make it nice and homey for them.
From the many different helpers, we present here 10 beneficial insects that you should include in your inner circle of garden friends.
We like this beneficial insect so much that it simply must be mentioned in the first place. Ladybugs and their larvae like aphids, scale insects and spider mites particularly well. That’s why they eat up to 150 of them a day!
-> Ladybugs love natural meadows, hedge shrubs, wild herbs and herbaceous plants – so in a beautiful natural garden you will find many of the spotted darlings.
Lacewing larvae are wild about aphids. During their larval development they consume 200-500 of the pesky little animals. Therefore, the hungry larvae are also called aphid lions. They also destroy spider mites, scale insects, thrips and mealybugs.
-> Lacewings feed on pollen and nectar. So bring on the colorful flowers!
These small flies also eat aphids en masse. They are particularly adept at imitating wasps, bees or bumblebees, from which they can only be distinguished by their stubby antennae and wings. The females lay their eggs near aphid colonies, providing a feast for the hatched maggots.
-> Hoverflies also seek out flower-rich gardens with plenty of pollen and nectar.
- ichneumon wasp
Small but mighty: hatchling wasp females are only 2-3 mm in size, but eat up to 300 aphids in a short time. But they also help fight some other pests, such as codling moths, plum moths, leaf miners, pest flies, pest beetle larvae, pest butterfly caterpillars and mealybugs. Quite industrious! Thus they are very important beneficial insects in the garden.
-> ichneumon flies feel at home in hedges, undergrowth and border plantings and love pollen and nectar plants.
- ground beetle
The ground beetle is one of the more stately specimens among your beneficial insect friends. It grows up to 4 cm, is quite fast on its legs and knows how to defend itself: If it feels threatened, it secretes a smelly secretion. All this does not exactly contribute to its good reputation. But ground beetles eat eggs, larvae of growing insects, worms and snails.
-> They like to move into hedges, leaf litter or decaying wood and live secluded between dense planting and some weeds.
Birds not only delight us with their cheerful chirping, but also snack on all kinds of insects and insect larvae: from bugs to aphids to woodlice. Tits, for example, feed 75 kg of insects to their brood each year!
-> For birds to move into your garden, there should be plenty of breeding and nesting sites, as well as trees and shrubs to hide in. And tasty pests as food.
This will not exactly thrill one or the other: spiders are also important beneficial insects in the garden and help you keep pests at bay. Make friends with the (not at all scary) creepy-crawlies and be happy when they go on the prowl again – your bed likes it anyway!
-> Spiders prefer to crawl into niches or other hiding places in the diverse garden habitat.
At dusk, earwigs crawl out of their hiding places. But don’t worry: not in your ear, but where there are lots of aphids, spider mites, caterpillars and other insect larvae. They also eat blood lice, which can be a particular bane to fruit growers. So be happy if you discover these beneficial insects in your garden!
-> Create a few cozy hiding places for the earwigs between leaves, boards or stones.
- bees and bumblebees
Nothing really works in nature without pollination. 80% of flowering plants depend on insects. That is why bees and bumblebees are so incredibly important, because they carry the pollen from flower to flower. Bumblebees can reach deep flowers with their long proboscis and are even active in cold weather because they can raise their body temperature.
-> Help the little bees by letting native plants grow in your garden as well, because the precious buzzers are better used to them. They also prefer unfilled or single flowers, whose pollen is easier to reach.
Last but not least: our favorite pecking beneficial insects in the garden. The favorite food of the little gourmets are snails, but hedgehogs also eat insects and fallen fruit and thus clean up the garden nicely.
-> Hedgehogs especially like to crawl into piles of leaves and brushwood, dense bushes or hedges.
Ladybugs & Co.: The most effective beneficial insects against aphids in the garden
Out with the louse! That’s our motto, because at the sight of the little green things we only see red. Here are our tips on how to get rid of aphids.
We’ve already introduced you to some beneficial insects that eat aphids. So you should let these beneficial insects move into your garden.
Here are the biggest gluttons again:
- Ladybugs and their larvae
- Lacewings and their larvae
- Hoverflies and their larvae
- ichneumon flies
- Gall midges
- Digger wasps
This is what your garden needs to have in order for aphid eaters to feel at home:
- Hiding places (wall cracks, leaves, bark, stones, boards, foils …)
- tree and shrub layers
- Flowering plants
- Natural meadows
- Wild herbs
A paradise for industrious helpers – encouraging beneficial insects in the garden
In recent years, gardens have sometimes been cleaned up too much. In order to create a natural balance between beneficial organisms and pests again and to promote beneficial organisms in the garden, it is therefore necessary to rethink. If you want to attract beneficial insects to your garden in the future, and want them to stay, you need to follow a few principles:
Especially important: do not use chemical pesticides!
Tolerant plant protection: A certain amount of pest infestation is necessary to attract beneficial insects.
Create shelters: flower-rich beds, hedges and hedge borders, trees, wild corners, hiding places; prune perennials only in spring, as many animals overwinter in the hollow stems.
Intervene cautiously: Spraying, including biological control agents, is always the last choice.
Inviting beneficial insects into the garden is also one of the principles of permaculture. But what is permaculture actually? Basically, it’s about taking natural cycles and ecosystems as a model for agriculture or garden design. So working with nature is the credo here. Pretty cool, isn’t it?
Settle beneficial insects in the garden – create cozy beneficial insect shelters!
To make beneficial insects feel at home in the garden, you need to make it as homelike as possible for them. This means first and foremost: no chemical pesticides, sufficient shelter and overwintering facilities, and a diverse plant life.
- A bit of wilderness serves as a habitat and retreat for beneficial insects. Rotten wood, brushwood and stone piles or dry stone walls complete the offer.
- We love flower meadows – so do butterflies and insects!
- Remove leaves from lawns only, otherwise they are the perfect overwintering habitat, and nutrients for soil and plants to boot.
- Wild shrub hedges and a border planting are also perfect hiding places for the little helpers.
- The most pleasant place to live is under a roof, so why not buy a house for beneficial insects in the garden? There are many beneficial insect shelters available in stores: wild bee hotels, bird nesting boxes, bat boxes, bumblebee shelters, hedgehog houses, etc. You can even build a wild bee hotel yourself.
- Earwig pots, filled with wood wool, are quick to make and earwig hearts beat faster.
Buy beneficial insects for your garden
Put ladybugs in your shopping cart? You can! If you don’t have enough beneficial insects in your garden, you can also buy beneficial insects.
When doing so, pay attention to application recommendations and application instructions.
Humidity, temperature and season also play an important role!
In case of heavy infestation, we recommend combining them with organic pesticides.
Pure nature: Beneficial insects instead of pesticides in the garden!
It hums and buzzes, it crawls and creeps, it smells and grows: Your garden lives and thrives wonderfully.
To ensure that all the plants and animals in your green paradise are doing really well, you need beneficial insects in your garden. They make sure that pests don’t get out of hand and nibble away the majority of your garden, and they make it really lively and colorful. Naturally healthy, without pesticides and unnatural outside intervention. If you invite beneficial insects to join you, nothing will stand in the way of a long friendship, healthy plants and lush harvests!
I have 30 years of experience and i started this website to see if i could try and share my knowledge to help you.
With a degree a Horticulture BSc (Hons)
I have worked as a horticulture specialist lead gardener, garden landscaper, and of course i am a hobby gardener at home in my own garden.
Please if you have any questions leave them on the article and i will get back to you personally.