Wednesday, May 5, 2010

4 Beneficial Insects You Must Get to Know for your Home Vegetable Garden

Do you have a home vegetable garden? Do you know which insects you should try to get rid of and which you should leave alone? These are very common questions on our Vegetable Gardening Facebook page. If you do not know the answer that’s ok, it is not so common knowledge. You should, however, familiarize yourself with some of the more common insects so you don’t accidentally eliminate them from your garden. Here are four to get you started. A Google image search will give you a picture of what they look like.

Assassin Bug
They are about a half inch long and are quite ugly to tell you the truth. In fact they look almost like a half spider, half cockroach and can easily be confused as a harmful insect. They are anything but! These creatures eat a variety of harmful insects from beetles to earworms to white flies. Have a few assassin bugs in your garden, and they will work harder for you then any type of bug killer and will not harm any of your vegetable plants either.

What is more delicate, gentle looking and beautiful in the insect world then the ladybug? But did you know that the ladybug is one of your greatest allies in your fight against such harmful insects like the potato beetle, mites and soft bodied insects? Adult ladybugs can eat their weight daily in aphids, which is a good thing since aphids can ruin your entire crop. To attract ladybugs to your garden plant some fennel or cilantro. You can even build a ladybug house. Do a Google search on “ladybug house” and you will get thousands of results for plans to build one yourself.

Praying Mantid
Back when I was a kid there was a rumor that is was bad luck to kill a praying mantid. Who knows, maybe it was true because as I found out later in life, when it comes to warding off harmful insects, the praying mantid is pretty good at it. The only problem with the praying mantid is that it eats all bugs, with the exception of the ladybug. So whereas they will eat harmful insects, they will also eat your beneficial ones as well.

Trichogramma Wasp
This defines a group of parasitic wasps. The wasp itself feeds on nectar but they lay their eggs inside garden pests so their young have a food supply. Sounds like a wild sci-fi film doesn’t it? Luckily these wasps use insects such as earworms, cutworms and other vegetable borers as the host, all insects that would wipe out your crop in no time.

Many home vegetable gardeners, especially those new to the hobby, never think about bugs that could actually help them. They just assume all bugs are bad and they must be killed. These are just 4 of the literally thousands of beneficial insects that are there to help you have the best home vegetable garden.

About the Author
Mike is the author of the book ”Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person” and the administrator for the largest vegetable gardening group on Facebook. Mike can be reached via his website

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