There is nothing is more frustrating than watching your crops get devoured by pests. The good news is that nature wants to make your work easier since all pests have a predator in the natural food chain that you can use for your advantage. The beneficial pests help to keep your plants healthy by either eating pests or by pollinating the crops for a better harvest. The trick here is attracting beneficial insects by providing them with a welcoming habitat. Here is how you do it;
Control the use of Pesticides
Limit the usage of harsh pesticides to create a welcoming habitat for your beneficial bugs. Note that the chemicals can kill your beneficial bugs, which have a slower reproductive cycle than the harmful pests. Remember that you are trying to attract insects and not to kill them, but in case of a severe pest’s outbreak, you might consider using some pesticides wisely. In such a case, please select the right chemicals or use Excel Pest Services to limit the effects on your beneficial bugs. Choose a product that singles out a specific pest than on a broad spectrum and use products that will degrade faster and have a minimal effect on the insect’s life cycle.
Plant an Insectary
Use plant species with a lot of nectar, which blooms on the growing season to feed the beneficial bugs for effective pest control. It would also be best to plant flowers with numerous petals for better access to nectar since most helpful insects are tiny. Native wildflowers and aromatic herbs are usually preferred than others.
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In the mid-summer, buckwheat, borage, and monarda will be the right choice. When it’s late summer, go for aster, mullein, sunflower, oregano, catnip, and bee balm. Spring also has a variety that you can choose from, like radish, arugula, bugleweed, and rosemary. Make sure the selected plants are as close as possible to the plants that need protection.
Provide a Water Source
The beneficial bugs need constant water supply to remain hydrated; don’t forget that these insects have wings, and if they don’t get enough water supplies from your garden, they will fly away in search of what they need. If you want to keep them longer in your garden, don’t let the water reserve dry up, you can use overhead sprinklers so that they always have wet leaves or puddles to drink from. If you choose to use drip irrigation, your insects may require an additional water source; thus, make watering holes on a saucer filled with pebbles so that they don’t drown and remember to replenish it often.
Take care of your Helper Insects
Your beneficial bugs require protection from heavy rains and heat, as well as from predator birds and insects. Provide leafy vegetation to offer hiding spaces, and for the ground beetles, you need to provide leafy litters or mulch to act as their covers and to keep the ground moist to keep them hydrated. Try not to eliminate all weeds, leave some for your beneficial insects.
Protect the Insects after Harvest
You need to provide a reason for your insects to stay after clearing up your garden. Designate a corner in your yard and plant a variety of hedgerows, including grass, flowering shrubs, and perennial, which provide alternate habitat for your insects throughout the year. As long as you provide them with suitable habitat, they will stay on your farm rather than traveling to the nearby yards in search of food.
To attract the beneficial insects in your yards, use diverse plants since different nectars and pollen attract different insects. Also, leave some dreaded weed undisturbed, to draw various insects, and don’t forget to do in-depth research on the type of plants that attracts beneficial bugs.
Image Credit: Flowers Via fotosforyou_rk/Pixabay