While there may be some insects we’d rather didn’t visit our gardens, there are also plenty we should encourage to stay! From pollinators to predators, they’re brilliant when it comes to keeping our gardens happy and healthy. There's plenty we can do to attract beneficial insects to our gardens - and make sure they want to stick around once they've arrived.
Bees and butterflies are well known for their ability to pollinate our gardens. There are plenty of plants we can grow to encourage them to visit; once they’re here, there’s also lots we can do to take care of them and encourage them to stay!
In dry weather, pollinators may need a little extra help to keep hydrated. Insect houses can be found with dedicated feeding areas and safe spaces to put water - we have a variety of these in the Garden Centre now. Alternatively, why not opt for a DIY option? Bees and butterflies don't like to get their feet wet so providing water while ensuring they can also stay dry is important. A dish filled with water and pebbles, for example, gives them somewhere to safely stand while having a drink.
While often overlooked in favour of the better-known honey and bumble bees, solitary bees make up the majority of the UK’s bee species and are incredibly efficient pollinators. They are also non-aggressive and non-swarming, meaning they’re safe around children and pets. To help solitary bees hang around the garden, adding safe places for them to rest and lay their young is a brilliant idea. Solitary bee hives and nesters are a great option - we have a good range in the Garden Centre to get you started.
Ground beetles are excellent slug and snail predators – which means they’re a good insect to encourage to the garden as a natural form of pest control. Ground beetles like the shade, so make sure there are plenty of covered areas for them to enjoy during the day time.
Ladybirds are another great garden predator, feeding on aphids and red spider mites as part of their carnivorous diet. A single ladybird can eat up to 5,000 aphids throughout its lifetime and are particularly effective in contained areas such as greenhouses and conservatories.
Adding a ladybird tower to the garden can encourage these beneficial insects to visit and stay. Ladybird towers can be placed in areas such as lawns, flower beds and planters; to attract ladybirds, smear ladybird food around the entrance of your tower. Encouraging insects to carry out pest control in your garden is a great option for organic growers, as well as being easy and cost effective for gardeners.
Wasps can be a pain and, although we shouldn’t aim to get rid of them completely, we may want to avoid their sting during the summer months! Prevention is better than cure and while it's not easy to keep wasps away altogether, there are things we can do to make our homes and gardens less attractive to them during warmer weather. Covering anything wasps may be attracted to is a good first step - this will largely be food, including pet food! Make sure any rubbish or compost bins are closed, and food isn't left out - wasps are attracted to both.
For those wasps which do decide to pay you a visit, even setting up their nests in your gardens, we have a range of control solutions in the Garden Centre including nest destroyers and a wasp trap complete with bait.
Insects can be both friend and foe - if you're looking to naturally control the pest population in your garden, or keep plants pollinated, they can be a gardener's best friend.