Natural Pest Control: Attracting Beneficial Insects to Your Garden

Not all insects are bad for your garden – in fact, it is recommended to attract a few varieties of insects that help keep your garden and flower beds healthy, and as natural pest control. 

There are many insects that can be helpful to the home gardener. Not only can these beneficial insects help keep pests at bay, some even help pollinate crops and flowers as well, thereby improving your natural landscape.

Essentially, there are three types of beneficial insects: predators, pollinators, and parasitoids. Predatory insects eat large numbers of other insects. Some of these predatory insects feed on only certain types of insects, while others feed on a wide variety. 

Common predaceous garden insects include lady beetles, praying mantis, ground beetles, damsel bugs, and snakeflies. Meanwhile, bumblebees, orchard mason bees, and syrphid flies are the most important pollinators found in most home gardens. 

Creating a habitat for beneficial insects 

Cilantro is a companion plant that attracts beneficial insects and deters pests | |Vego Garden

If you want to invite beneficial insects to your garden, provide them with food and shelter they need for survival. It’s that simple. 

In most cases, this means planting a variety of plants and flowers that can either be a food source, or a host to the insects they feed on. In addition, if you create an ideal environment where they can live, nest and lay eggs – they will start making it their home.  

Consider planting herbs like basil, mint, and cilantro. These not only attract beneficial insects, but serve as companion plants that can deter pests. Apart from garden herbs, plants known to attract beneficial insects also include fennel, yarrow, and clover.

Beneficial insects also need water to thrive. If you do not have an irrigation system for your garden, spray your plants in the morning to provide enough water and keep them moist.  

Your helpful garden allies 

Given that you have avoided using pesticides, and have a variety of insect-friendly plants growing, you may find many little allies already present in your garden. The ones you’re likely to see include lady beetles, praying mantis, lacewings, hover flies, and wasps. 

They can be divided into two main categories: those that eat their prey directly and those that deposit their eggs on or into their host. Let’s learn more below about a few of the best beneficials to have in your garden to help you fend off pests, and keep your plants in optimal health. 

Praying mantis

Praying Mantis: A Gardeners Best Friend | Vego Garden

With its lanky, stick-like body and signature triangular head, the praying mantis can seem rather menacing. But this strange looking bug is actually a gardener’s best friend, and is a major predator of insects in the garden. 

Unfortunately, the praying mantis does not discriminate in terms of prey. They will eat all kinds of insects – both good and bad, while they are great for keeping insect populations under control in the garden. This is true even of their own species, as they will sometimes attack each other. 

Lady beetle

Ladybugs, or Lady beetles, provide natural pest control in gardens | Vego Garden

Lady beetles prey on a variety of garden pests, with different species preferring different types of prey. Adult lady beetles are flighty, and will roam from one garden to the next in search of food. That being said, the ones that do stay will be a big help against pests in general. 


Hoverflies are great at natural pest control in gardening | Vego Garden

Hoverflies resemble small bees with their striped abdomens, but they are more like flies in flight: going from plant to plant, and hovering briefly before landing. They are one of the most conspicuous beneficial insects found in gardens. Attracted by pollen and nectar from a variety of flowers, they lay their eggs near aphids and other pests. Their larvae can eat up to 60 aphids per day.

Green lacewing

Lacewings are another natural source of pest control in gardening | Vego Garden

The green lacewing is another trusted garden helper, and loves to dine on aphids, whiteflies and leafhoppers – all of which can be detrimental to your garden. Bright green in color and with compound eyes, they are hard to miss. They are especially attracted to herbs like coriander and coreopsis plants, as well as flowers like dandelions.

Leave a comment