Scientists have identified more than a million species of insects and bugs, and only 1% of these species are known to damage the agricultural produce and growing plants. In comparison, vast communities of insects are either beneficial or neutral and help promote plants' growth and development. The majority of these beneficial bugs and predatory insects need nectar as a carbohydrate source, and they obtain proteins from their prey. So, their populations can be sustained by planting favorable plants. They will feed on the plant's pollen and nectars, prey on harmful insects, and provide excellent biological control over the notorious insects.
Predatory insects and beneficial bugs are an essential component of gardening management that help improve gardening plants' growth and development and improve pollinators' work and ecosystem functioning. Various beneficial bugs and predatory insects are native to Australian climates and help improve food production and landscapes' aesthetic beauty. Top beneficial insects in Australia include ladybirds, lacewings, parasitic wasps, bees' hoverflies, and praying mantis.
The beneficial bugs and predatory insects can be attracted by planting the flowers having umbrella type flowering head. Plants in the carrot family, dill, parsley, garlic, chives, and spring onions are well known for this purpose. Generally, these plants' silhouette is providing good attraction to the insects as it allows for an excellent source of nectar and pollens. Moreover, these plants are also providing comfortable landing pads, so insects prefer to reside in these plants.
Some other plants, such as bronze fennel, Queen Anne, and coriander, are also useful to attract beneficial insects. Bronze fennel is especially essential to attract predatory insects. Mint family plants are good at producing great nectar, so they are excellent sources of attracting beneficial insects to the gardens, landscapes, and other growing spaces. Moreover, insects' creation of friendly habitats is also an ideal approach to maintain a good population of beneficial bugs and predatory insects.
Bug Hotels in Gardens
Bugs hotels can be easily made at home and can be placed in any space in the garden. It will provide an excellent habitat to the beneficial bugs that, in turn, will perform several vital functions in the greens spaces.
Relationship between Beneficial Insects and Plantation
There is a significant variation in the populations of beneficial insects in the different growing seasons. This variation exists due to the presence and absence, and growing stages of relevant plants. Healthy and good nectar and pollen-producing plants can support more population of tiny beneficial creatures. Moreover, healthy insects can produce more babies, and they also have to depend on the availability of food and shelter resources. Therefore, the population of beneficial insects may increase or decline according to the availability of supporting resources.
Companion Planting and Insectary Plants
Both short-lived annuals (Phacelia, coriander, buckwheat, asylum) and hardy perennials (thyme, monarda, mints, oregano, and catmint) can support good populations of beneficial insects. Therefore, gardeners should prefer to ensure good pollen and nectar-bearing plants throughout the growing season. Better diversity of insectary plants adjacent to the crop plants is also helpful in this aspect. So, gardeners can grow tomatoes and pairs of stacked cornflowers and borage twins near to the cucumbers.
While sunflower can be planted along with the bush beans and chilis, this will provide adequate shade to these plants and please honey bees and other pollinators. These insectary plants can also be used for compost making that, in turn, will be used to improve soil fertility, soil productivity, and biological activities in the soil. However, these plants should never grow much in size as they will be competing with crop plants for water, mineral, growing space, and nutrients.
Insectary Plant for Different Seasons
Borage, sunflower, oregano, mint, comfrey, catmint, and buckwheat are well-known plants to attract beneficial bugs and predatory insects in the late summer blooming. Whereas alyssum, sunflower, thyme, monarda, fennel, dill, comfrey, catmint, buckwheat, and borage are useful plants to support beneficiary bugs and predatory insects during the mid-summer blossoms.
Gardeners can also plant phacelia, monarda, buckwheat, alyssum, rocket, carrots, fennel, dill, comfrey, and rocket to support the population of beneficial insects during early summer blooming. While, phacelia, radish, rocket, coriander, and overwintered brassicas such as mizuna, turnip, and mustard are good at supporting populations of beneficial insects during the late spring blooming season.
The attraction of Specific Insects and Bugs by Insectary Plants
This plant performs crevices and gaps with sweet, low growing, and honey Alice. Generally, this plant is flowering throughout the season and produces mauve or white-color flowers. These flowers attract local bees and honey bees that, in turn, helps to pollinate pumpkin, eggplant, cucumber, and various other essential plants.
Unpicked carrots, parsley, and parsnip are excellent sources of attracting beneficial insects as they provide umbellifer plate-shaped places to bugs and beneficial insects. These friendly insects then attack the mealybugs, mites, hoverflies, lacewings, and aphids.
These plants have cushiony heads and are excellent fillers for the cottage gardens. These plants produce a good range of colors such as white, lemon, and pink, and can grow about 75 cm tall. They have fern-like, feathery, and delicate foliage and usually start flowering in the summer until late autumn. These plants have a good attraction for the hoverflies. These flies suck well on the aphids, so they offer reasonable biological control against these harmful insects.
Fennels offers aesthetic looks to the surroundings due to their glowing nature and also attracts ladybirds. Although ladybirds have a short life span of about one year, they attack more than 5000 aphids and protect from significant damage to plants. So, growing fennel plants offer excellent control over harmful insects and eliminates the need for chemical sprays.
Check out Beneficial Bug Mix or Good Insects Mix on our website. Efficient plantation of these seeds can cover up-to one square meter of the gardening space and add beauty to the surroundings by producing the right mix of perennials, annuals, herbs, and flowers. Gardeners can order the right combination of seeds to support the population of beneficial insects. In this way, they can play a useful role in protecting the climate and plant ecosystem functioning in your home garden and across the globe.