Gardening

How To Attract Beneficial Insects: Top 10 Tricks

Hello to all gardeners! In previous articles we have already seen the great importance of beneficial insects in the fight against pests and diseases . On this occasion, we are going to collect the best tricks to attract beneficial insects in our orchards and gardens.

Why should we attract beneficial insects?

The intensification of agricultural production systems in recent years has led to a loss of biodiversity, ecosystem services and a simplification of agricultural landscapes.

The application of phytosanitary products has led to the appearance of resistance, environmental contamination, the presence of residues in food and the destruction of auxiliary fauna , among others.

For all these reasons, major changes are currently required in agricultural and food production systems to evolve towards a more sustainable agriculture .

In order to respond to this challenge, it is proposed to mobilize multiple pest control strategies, included in the ” Integrated Crop Protection “.

One of these pest control strategies is conservation biological control , also called ‘ natural regulation ‘, and involves creating a favorable environment for the attraction of beneficial insects .

Main beneficial insects or natural enemies of pests

Although this topic could lead us to several articles, I am going to summarize who are the beneficial insects that we can attract in our orchards and gardens.

The first thing we should know is that beneficial insects or natural enemies can be specialists in a single pest or generalists if they attack several types of pests.

Taking into account that the main pests that we usually have in our gardens are: aphids, whiteflies, mealybugs, snails, slugs or mites , I am going to leave you here with their corresponding natural enemies:

  • Ladybugs (larvae and adults)
  • Syrphids
  • Carabids
  • Staphylinides
  • Cantáridos
  • Mantis
  • Dragonflies
  • Fireflies
  • Lacewing
  • Anthocorids, Mirids, Nabids (predatory bugs)
  • Parasitoid hymenopterans (wasps)
  • Other pollinating insects such as bees

In addition to these insects, there are many more organisms that can be our allies in the garden or garden such as: Spiders and predatory mites, soil microorganisms, etc.

10 tricks to attract beneficial insects in the vegetable garden or garden

Here are some of the best tips and tricks for attracting beneficial insects in your orchard and garden.

1. Biodiversity in the garden: crops and flowers

One of the key points to have a healthy garden is knowing how to manage its biodiversity , balance and variety of species . Therefore, this first advice may be the most general but, in turn, the most important.

In a practical way, biodiversity consists of planting different species of crops, varieties of the same crop, flowers, aromatic plants, plant covers , etc. All this, taken together, will surprisingly favor the presence of beneficial insects .

2. Crop association

We have seen on other occasions how some crops have advantages when they are together . It can be said that there are crops that get along better with some than with others (such as people).

It is very curious because the crops can protect each other . For example, if we plant onion and carrot together: the smell of onion alters one of the main pests of carrots (carrot fly), preventing it from finding these carrots.

Also, flowering plants within the association will attract pollinating insects and there will be a greater presence of beneficial insects .

3. Crop rotation

Each crop has its own characteristics, needs, pests, etc. That is, in each case, the demand that each crop makes to the soil will be different. Therefore, in order not to exhaust the soil and give it time to regenerate, the ideal is to rotate crops .

One of the benefits of crop rotation is that the plants will grow stronger and produce more. Therefore, they will have a higher natural resistance against pests and diseases . In addition, by taking better care of the soil we will allow the action of the beneficial microorganisms present there.

4. Vegetable covers

In the following image we can see what is known as “green roofs” (cultivated areas in the corridors). This type of plant cover greatly favors beneficial insects such as bed bugs or coleopterans (ladybugs, carabids, …).

5. Branches or stones near the garden

The presence of remains of twigs or stones near the crops can serve as a refuge for many auxiliary insects . We already know that these types of insects love to hide and, sometimes, they are ideal places to spend the winter.

6. Aromatic plants

The aromas and the arrangement in the garden of aromatic plants can be good allies in the fight against pests and diseases. These plants attract pollinating insects and, in many cases, keep pests away .

For example, lavender attracts bees and also repels many pests such as carrot flies, cabbage flies, moths, aphids, and ants .

7. Weed flora or wild plants at the edge of the plots

It is known as weed flora to those wild plants that grow spontaneously in our garden. Usually the term ” weeds ” is used more because they are not where we want them but these plants are not so bad for that reason.

One of their many advantages is that they serve as a refuge for beneficial insects in the garden . In addition, they are raw material to make our compost .

Therefore, more than eliminating weeds, we must learn to control them . In addition, each type of crop competes in a different way with this flora.

8. Installation of hedges and shrubs near the growing areas

The presence of hedges and shrubs near the growing areas has proven to be very favorable for the installation of beneficial insects .

9. Use of ecological insecticides

As long as we can use ecological insecticides instead of chemical insecticides we will help to take care of our beneficial insects in the garden or garden.

If you want to know what these ecological insecticides are, do not hesitate to consult the following article: Pesticides for the ecological garden .

10. Insect houses or shelters for beneficial insects

In addition to planting flowers, hedges or shrubs we can help beneficial insects to settle by building insect houses, insect hotels or insect shelters .

These little houses can be hung on the trees or placed on the ground . If you look at each time you will find more insect hotels in parks or gardens . Here you have a photo of a bee hotel that I found in a garden in Paris:

Here you have the link to an article where we talk more about these artificial insects homes .

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