It might seem strange to want to encourage insects into your garden – just the mere mention of some insects is enough to make any weathered gardener shiver – but these creepy crawlies will be very beneficial for your garden. From pest control to pollination, these critters will be all too eager to fluttering or scuttling around your garden, giving it a helping hand.
While their younger selves might not be seen as all that beneficial, adult butterflies are essential for pollinating your garden greenery. Bees are another fantastic natural pollinator, but as numbers are known to be declining, these pretty butterflies will be all too happy to give them a helping hand by flitting from flower to flower.
Why not invest in a special butterfly house to encourage them to pay your garden a visit? They love sunny spots filled with flowers for them to gorge on all that juicy nectar, so make sure to plant a variety of colourful plants in your borders.
These fascinating little creatures are essential for your garden. Earthworms are vital for maintaining the health of your soil; they wiggle around beneath the roots, munching on any decomposing material such as dead plant matter and dead leaves, which then gets deposited partially digested, and revitalises the nutrients in the soil.
Not only does this mean more vital nutrients for your plants, all that moving around helps to aerate your soil so that plant roots can get enough oxygen to help them thrive, making it easier for roots to get into the earth, as well as helping to aid drainage.
Earthworms prefer undisturbed ground, so you’re more likely to find them in your compost and your lawn than in your vegetable beds. However, you can rotate where you grow your crops each year so that they can help rejuvenate fallow patches for a successful growing year in the future. Leave a top-dressing of leaf mould to encourage earthworms to make themselves at home.
While they have similar markings to the more aggressive wasp, these black and yellow insects are completely harmless. Not only that – they’re a fantastic pollinator for your plants. Hoverfly larvae are incredibly helpful for eating any pesky aphids which might be nibbling away at your greenery, too!
Hoverflies have a penchant for highly scented flowers such as chrysanthemums, roses, and sweet peas, as well as fennel, dill, and ice plants; plant any of these plants to encourage hoverflies to pay a visit.
Ladybirds aren’t just a pretty face. These fascinating insects are a wonderful natural pest control and will eat their way through quite a lot of the pests making themselves at home in your garden. The ladybird larvae will eat at least 400 aphids before they pupate, and their adult equivalent will eat more than 5,000 aphids in their 3-year life span. They also like eating whitefly, mealybugs, and mites – so are definitely an insect you want to encourage into your garden!
Tempt ladybirds into your greenery by planting coreopsis, angelica, basket of gold, or any members of the parsley family; parsley, carrots, fennel, dill, and yarrow. If there are plenty of aphids for them to eat, they’ll be sticking around for a while. Tempt them to make your garden their home with ladybird house, too.
Spiders aren’t everyone’s favourite garden visitor, but these eight-legged arachnids are wonderfully beneficial for your garden. Web spinning spiders will catch any flying pests, which help to keep the insect population under control. The majority of spiders will eat aphids, too, as well as a number of other pests. So even if you’re not a fan of spiders, they’re well worth encouraging in your garden.
The good news is it’s fairly easy to attract spiders to your garden. If you’ve got plenty of hedges, trees, log piles, and vegetation, there’s sure to be spiders spinning their webs to catch that pesky prey. These places will also be encouraging plenty of bug traffic, so your friendly spiders won’t go hungry any time soon.