by Lee Dobbins
Gardening can be a fun and relaxing hobby but if you have to constantly be worried about garden pests damaging your plants became soon turned into a source of stress.
Dumping harsh chemicals on your plants is not good for you or the environment but luckily there is a better way. You can encourage natural predators into your garden that will soon eliminate these pesky pests. These natural creatures can live in harmony in your garden where they will eat the pests that are harming your plants.
Here are some natural predators and how you might encourage them to take up residence in your garden.
What would a garden be without some frogs and toads? They are likely attracted to your garden as it is, but you can add a few elements to attract even more of them. Since frogs and toads love water you might think of installing a garden pond, or at the very least a small water feature low to the ground that they can breed in. They will thank you by helping to control small insects and slugs.
Ladybugs love to eat aphids so you want to attract as many of them as you can into your garden. You probably recognize them as an adult with a red and black dotted shells but you might not easily recognize the lava which is gray in color with orange dots. Don't mistake the larva for a past as these lover can chow down more aphids than the adults. Ladybugs like Cosmos, scented geraniums and even dandelions so be sure to have plenty of those in your garden.
Ground beetles like to make their home under stones or leaf covers and sleep all day coming out at night to feed on garden pests. They have quite an appetite Emil Chow down slugs, snails, cutworms and leather jackets and the lava or egg stage. Some will even climb up in the trees to get a good meal and can eat gypsy moth and tent caterpillars. you can encourage these as you garden are providing permanent plantings for them to live under, loose leaf cover or small stones.
Who doesn't want birds in their garden? While these might be considered pests for some vegetables they can also read your garden of pests such as caterpillars, grubbs, slugs and aphids which they feed on. have a little bird bath in your garden as well as some nesting boxes to encourage birds into the garden where they might see a tasty grub they might want to feast on.
Lacewings, or the larva of lace wings feed on aphids and small soft bodied pests. To attract bees, make sure you have a water source and plant lots of nectar and pollen flowers as they like to lay their eggs underneath the leaves of these plants.
With a little bit of strategic planning, you can attract these predators into your garden which will not only help control the pests but will also add interest to the garden. Plus, it's a lot more fun to plant particular flowers and put out sources of water to attract birds, beetles and frogs into your garden than it is to drag out the sprayer hose and douse your garden with chemicals! Not only will you be getting rid of pests on your plants, you'll also be providing a food source for the predators and keeping the environment free of chemicals!