These little bugs are great for your garden!

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1. Lady Birds

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The old nursery rhyme goes…

Ladybird, ladybird fly away home,
Your house is on fire and your children are gone…

But we want these little beauties in our garden, as they feed on soft-bodied insects like aphids. You don’t want aphids as they will suck the sap from your prized plants leaving them lacking vigour and with distorted growth. They often excrete a sticky substance n foliage, which allows the growth of sooty moulds and can transmit plant viruses.

It is thought aphids cause tens of millions of pounds worth of damage to crops worldwide every year.

2. Aphid Midge

Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org

Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org

The aphid midge – named as it’s a midge that eats aphids – is a tiny, mosquito-like fly whose larvae eat those little blighter’s the aphids. They will naturally come to your garden, but can also be bought commercially.

The aphid midge larvae is a tiny little orange maggot too small to see with a naked eye. When they’ve gorged themselves on their prey they can be seen with a lens or microscope as fat, red or brown maggots in among the aphid.

3. Lacewings

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Both adult lacewings and their larvae eat aphids, caterpillars, mealybugs, moth eggs, scales, thrips, and whiteflies, all of which will eat your veg and flowers if left untamed.

Grow Angelica, coreopsis, cosmos, and sweet alyssum to attract them to your garden.

4. Hover flies

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These little ones are often confused with wasps and bees. The larvae of the hover flies feed on…you got it…aphids. They also get to the aphids which like to live in tight, hard to reach places. These winged-wonders are also great pollinators!

5. Braconid Wasps

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Like something from a horror film, the female injects her eggs into host insects, including caterpillars, moths, beetle larvae, and aphids. The larvae then feed inside their hosts until host dies.

Grow nectar plants with small flowers, such as dill, parsley, wild carrot, and yarrow to bring them to your garden.

6. Ground Beetles

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These little fella’s come out at night and love to munch on slugs, snails, cutworms, cabbage maggots, and other pests which cause damage to your plant. A single beetle larva can eat more than 50 cabbage munching caterpillars.

Plant perennials among garden plants or white clover to tempt them into your back yard.

7. Tachinid Flies

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Looking like bristly houseflies, the tachinidae is the largest family of flies in the world with over 10,000 species. Much like the wasps, their larvae burrow into pesky caterpillars and other nuisances that scoff our veg, eating them from the inside out!

To attract them to your garden plant dill, parsley, sweet clover, and other herbs.

8. Spiders

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Spiders are formidable hunters and will devour pretty much any pest in your garden that eats your flowers.

You can attract them by planting straw mulches, or permanent perennial plants.

9. Dragonfly

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The dragonflies feed on…yep, those naughty aphids. If you have a pond they also keep the mosquito population under control, stopping those annoying bites.

Add more plants and flat rocks to your pond to invite them in.