The Good Guys: 8 Beneficial Bugs for Your Garden

Roll out the welcome mat for friendly insects that will get on your garden's good side. While some insects like aphids and grasshoppers can wreak havoc on gardens, not all insects have a destructive bent. In fact, many of these good bugs help eliminate their garden-eating cousins by snacking on them. Insects can also help your garden grow by pollinating flowers. Here are 8 great bugs that will be a pleasure to have around your garden, and suggestions for encouraging them to pay you a visit.

  1. Praying Mantises

    Praying Mantis

    Praying mantises are like bug-eating bouncers for the garden. They devour dozens of difficult plant-eating pests. DIY picklers may run across them most often, because they have a particular penchant for the scent of dill. So plant some dill yourself to turn your garden into a hot property for praying mantises. 

    Related: These Popular Plants Might Actually Be Bad for Your Garden

  2. Ladybugs


    An insect best think twice before asking a ladybug out to dinner. The suitor could end up as the meal, as could a lot of those other bad bugs lurking in your garden. Get on a ladybug's good side by adding some cilantro to your garden mix. Soon enough, a few of these colorful omnivores will head on over to keep the bad bugs at bay.

  3. Butterflies


    The mere presence of butterflies adds a heavenly vibe to any garden, but these graceful insects also help beautify plants by pollinating them. One of the best ways to attract a few of these magnificent creatures is by planting liatris, spiky flowers that some butterflies find very appealing.

    Related: These Are the Most Dangerous Insects in America

  4. Green Lacewing Larvae

    Green Lacewig Larvae

    The larvae of the green lacewing are nicknamed "aphid lions" because of their fearsome appetite for aphids. They are one surefire way keep your garden free from those pesky pests. You can attract adult green lacewings—and ultimately their larvae—with marigolds, which have a tasty nectar they find delectable.

  5. Minute Pirate Bugs

    Minute Pirate Bug

    For serious garden infestations, who should you call? The minute pirate bug. Other predatory insects take out bad bugs only up to the point of satiety. But minute pirate bugs can continue to kill even when they're full. Growing alfalfa is an excellent way to recruit minute pirate bugs to guard your plants.

    Related: 25 Amazing Plants That Are Native to North America

    Wikimedia Commons via gbohne

  6. Hoverflies


    Hoverflies may look like bees, but they're actually more like humans in that they eat both meat and plants. That means they offer up a one-two punch of pollination and pest annihilation. Orchid flowers will draw these big-time beneficial bugs to your garden.

    Related: 10 Flowers That Attract Bees to Your Garden

  7. Dragonflies


    No insect detrimental to your garden will be safe from the mighty dragonfly, with its very broad taste in insects. Adding a pond with plant vegetation to your garden is the best way to get them to swoop down. Don't worry about mosquitoes setting up shop. Dragonflies devour them too.

  8. Moths

    Antler Moth

    Moths are yet another winged creature that plays a big role in pollinating plants. They also serve as food for your other beneficial bugs. Plant some nettle plants to attract them, and before long they'll join the good-guy army of butterflies, hoverflies, and dragonflies in your garden.

    Related: Bad Neighbors: 11 Plant Pairs Never to Grow Side by Side

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