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Buying bugs may not seem like an everyday activity, but it’s undertaken in small or large scale by gardeners who are interested in pesticide-free solutions to conquering garden pests. Many people may have heard of ladybugs or a few other insects as helpful in getting rid of various pests in the garden, but there actually a very large number of beneficial insects that fall into these classes, and are available for sale for home use. Essentially, the definition of a beneficial insect is that it either helps in pollinating plants or that it feeds on certain insects that enjoy infesting or chewing up organic matter. Some pollinate and munch their way through pests, but a few insects that are described as “beneficial” enjoy pests and plant matter as food and really aren’t that helpful. People who use this term are quick to point out that each gardener must weigh benefits for him or herself in deciding if a purchase of insects makes sense.
There are certain beneficial insects that can be attracted to the garden for free, and these are frequently the heaviest pollinators. Most forms of bees, butterflies and many types of moths pollinate plants and will be attracted by flowering plants. Purple and crimson-colored flowers, in particular, tend to be known as butterfly plants and attract plenty of honeybees and bumblebees, too. Similarly, they may draw the attention of certain wasps that also eat many insects.
Other times, people do want to add beneficial insects to their yard by purchase. A common choice is the ladybug, which feeds on aphids that can easily destroy the appearance of many flowering plants like roses. Usually available in spring to summer, many people may even find these at their local nursery. Directions have to be carefully followed when releasing or they have a tendency to fly away before they can do much good.
Ladybugs don’t tend to bite, but they may if they swarm and this brings up an important issue about beneficial insects. Some bugs may deliver a bite more often, so it’s important for gardeners to research those insects that will be of most benefit with least disadvantage. Additionally, a few insects may cause their own infestation problems; certain kinds of flies may be considered beneficial at one point but problematic later. For some people, the real problem is the “ick factor” of handling bugs in order to resolve other pest issues. Green lacewing flies, certain types of worms, praying mantis or others may be great in theory but terrifying in practice.
Lots of people feel that beneficial insects are still the best way to work on pest control in a garden and can be used to destroy aphids, mites, and other invasive bugs that are chewing up plants or causing plant disease. People should purchase the right bugs for their climate and the proper season. It’s very important to avoid pesticide use, because beneficial insects may come into contact with it.
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