Growing plants in the garden has become one of the most popular hobbies in America today. A gardener sometimes faces problems, occurring when pests attack a garden. They may be omnivorous, i.e. destroying trees, bushes and flowers. Pest management in the garden is a gardener’s task #1. There are beneficial insects, which eat up these pests. Such beneficial insects, friends of a garden, may be attracted for a permanent life in the garden. Then the garden will be protected from harmful insects’ invasion. The pest management will be effective, green and environmentally friendly.
There are a few kinds of these beneficial insects. The adult ones usually feed on pollen, nectar. But they are still predatory insects. Their larvae and adult individuals eat up exceptionally plant lice, ticks and scales. That’s why in many countries they are grown for pest management of the gardens and farms. Gardeners attract these insects by plants, which nectar adult individuals of green lacewings feed on. You can grow these plants in your garden. They are appealing and have a pleasant fragrance.
You can plant Aurinia saxatilis in your garden to attract green lacewings. This is a small perennial evergreen bush with bright yellow flower clusters. The height, depending on the species, is 8″-10″(20-25 cm). It blossoms all spring long. It loves the sun, air-penetrable, alkaline soil. It looks great on rocky hills. Aurinia saxatilis is a drought-resistant and frost-resistant little bush.
You may plant Lavandula augustifolia like a curb plant in the garden. This is a bush of medium height 1-2 feet (30-60 cm) with strong spicy fragrance and astringent spicy taste. Lavender honey possesses medicinal qualities. The plant with purple flowers can grow on sandy loams, loves the sun, starts blossoming in June and continues till the end of July. It grows well in light alkaline drained soil and requires moderate watering.
Solidago virgaurea is an unpretentious plant with a rhizome. This is a quite tall perennial bush, about 2-3 feet (60-90 cm). It has tiny flowers, starting to bloom in July and finishing at the end of September. It loves the sun and grows in heavy moistened soils, however can grow under other conditions as well. Different species are available. That’s why you can choose those, suiting your garden.
These are perfect predators for pest management. They usually find their prey according to the saliva smell, secreted while leaves of the plants are eaten up. A parasitic wasp lays eggs in a caterpillar’s body. Eggs turn into larvae, which eat up the caterpillar. Parasitic wasps destroy many soft-bodied pests such as butterflies’ caterpillars, beetles’ larvae.
Flies of the family Syrphidae - Syrphid Flyare are very beneficial insects for the garden. Adult individuals, same like green lacewings, feed on nectar and plants pollen. For reproduction they lay eggs on the prey or near the prey. The eggs are so tiny that a caterpillar even doesn’t notice them. With time eggs turn into larvae which devour the prey. They are so voracious that they can eat up a larva every single minute. Adult individuals can be attracted by the blooming milfoil, dill, mustard, mint. They are widespread plants which do not require description. Carabidae are a vast family, where species of different sizes are found, living under various life conditions and in different climatic zones. Adult insects and their larvae possess strong jaws. If they have inhibited your garden, it will be easier for you to maintain pest management in your garden. Some species of Carabidae eat up snails and nudibranches. There are species eliminating small caterpillars.
There are other kinds of beneficial insects, which can be friends of your garden.
Interesting studies were conducted in California University.
The latest researches have shown that plants, affected by caterpillars, are able to emit aromatic substances the signals for their mates and beneficial insects-predators, eradicating caterpillars. Volatile substances are sent to other plants to warn them against the danger. In this case other plants change their composition so that leaf-cutting insects digest these plants’ leaves poorly. Such signals are sent during the day time. At night they can emit different smells, scaring flying pests away. This is a very interesting characteristic. It’s hard to say if all the plants are able to do this.
One thing can be said for sure: a garden and its inhabitants turn into an ecosystem, a self-protecting and self-cleansing one. A gardener needs just to help it with pest management and protect beneficial insects.Use of beneficial insects for pest management it is the building block for creating a healthy ecosystem garden.