Instead of spraying the garden with toxic and potentially harmful chemical pesticides, gardeners can rely on the natural predators of harmful insects to fight destructive pests. Some of these insects can be purchased and released in the garden, while others can be lured to the garden by planting certain types of plants.
Not only will lady bugs hunt down and kill aphids, mealybugs and scale insects, but they are also considered to be a sign of good luck. The best way to increase lady bugs in the garden is to plant marigolds and yarrows. Buying a ladybug might be a waste of money since these insects do not tend to stay in one garden. They can be picked up and placed on plants that are badly harmed by pests, where they will then start eating. If they fall to the ground and remain still, they are simply hiding in their shells.
Parasitoid wasps are attracted to the smell that many plants release when they are consumed by caterpillars and harmful worms. These wasps then come to consume the caterpillars and worms and lay their eggs inside their carcasses. This protects plants from being destroyed by the caterpillars. These insects can be purchased.
Spiders catch a large variety of destructive insects in the garden. The only two spiders in the US that are harmful to humans are the black widow and the brown recluse. Many people fear spiders, but there is actually no type of bug that kills other bugs than spiders. Some species of spider can be purchased.
Assassin bugs suck out the insides of caterpillars, cockroaches and bedbugs. These insects are attracted to sunflowers, so planting sunflowers will help reduce the incidence of these pests.
Lacewings attack and consume thrips, mites and other insects that can harm a vegetable garden. These bugs are lured into the garden by coreopsis, cosmos, and tansy flowers. Lacewings can be purchased and often stay in the garden where they are placed as long as there is a food supply.
Praying mantises are great for vegetable gardens because they are very hungry. These insects eat beetles, flies and aphids.
Dragonflies are eat a large variety of insects including flies and ants. Dragonflies not only protect a garden but also consume a lot of mosquitoes, which can have health benefits for people who visit the garden. Dragonflies cannot be purchased since they die in captivity, but they are attracted to water. Constructing a pond in the garden will attract dragonflies.