Did you know that over 95% of the insects aren’t pests? Some insects help pollinate fruits and vegetables while others take care of common garden pests. By limiting pesticide use in your yard and by providing the right type of plants, you can encourage beneficial bugs to inhabit your backyard habitat which will reduce your need for pesticides.
Many wasps and other natural enemies of insects rely on plant nectar or pollen as adults and invertebrates as juveniles. Therefore, planting flowers that attract adult predators and parasitoids can increase natural pest control in your backyard. Predators are animals that attack and consume other animals whereas parasitoids live in or on their host and kill the host in the process. Most parasitoids are specialists and only attack certain species. For example, a common parasitoid is the braconid wasp (Cotesia congregatus) which lays its eggs inside of tobacco and tomato hornworms.
When planting, it is best to either interplant the species listed above within your garden design or to create small borders around your garden. These flowers can be used in all types of gardens from edible gardens to pollinator gardens.
Fiedler, A., Tuell, J., Isaacs, R., and D. Landis. 2007. Attracting beneficial insects with native flowering plants. Extension Bulletin E-2973.
Xerces Society. 2014. Farming with Native Beneficial Insects: Ecological Pest Control Solutions. ISBN-13: 978-1612122830
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