Gardening Blunder #2

February 12, 2006

The first common gardening blunder involved the vegetable garden’s layout, today’s blunder takes a look at the way that you treat the beneficial insects and good bugs that patrol your vegetable garden.

Gardening Blunder: Killing Insects

Yes, the second gardening blunder is an activity that you may consider to be one of the goals of growing a successful vegetable plot; eliminating insects from the garden. Don’t get me wrong, I confess to wiping out more than my share of bugs, but it’s a mistake to view all insects as the enemy and set out to destroy anything that walks, crawls, flies, or otherwise moves through the garden.

Following that type of strategy of annihilation will actually do more harm than good for the garden and will eventually lead to even greater problems with destructive insects. The problem with killing bugs at random is that over ninety percent of the insects that visit our gardens are beneficial and play an important role in the success of our garden’s growth.

Beneficial Pollinating Insects

You’re probably familiar with the first group of beneficial insects, which is made up of the pollinators. The most common and well known of the pollinators is the hard working honeybee. In addition to honeybees, there are countless other crawling and flying beneficial insects that contribute to the pollination of our crops and are essential to the productivity of our gardens.

Other pollinators include mason bees, various types of flies, wasps, and even butterflies. Without the visiting pollinators the plants that we grow would be incapable of reproducing or bearing the delicious vegetables and fruits that we enjoy.

The plants themselves understand the importance of attracting pollinating insects, which is part of the reason they display the colorful and fragrant blossoms to attract the good bugs that some gardeners carelessly destroy.

Beneficial Predatory Insects

The second group of beneficial insects, which are not as widely recognized, consists of the predators who seek out and prey upon the harmful insects that want to destroy our plants. Beneficial predator insects include: ladybugs, green lacewings, pirate bugs, trichogrammas, praying mantis, ambush bugs, tachinid flies, wasps, spiders, and certain varieties of nematodes.

There are hundreds or thousands of beneficial insects present in our gardens, and their main purpose is to control the populations of destructive insect pests such as aphids, caterpillars, grubs, and beetles. One problem with the use of chemical pesticides in the garden is that they wipe out all of the insects; the good ones die right along with the bad.

Garden Pest Solution: Protect Your Beneficial Insects

Unfortunately, it can take the beneficial insects a longer time to reestablish themselves and return to the job of controlling destructive insects. This results in a void during which the destructive pests take advantage and wreak havoc in our gardens. This in turn causes the gardener to resort to more and even stronger chemical pest controls.

Beneficial insects should be protected and welcomed in your garden, and even their eggs should be identified and sheltered from harm. It’s best to identify the destructive bugs, and apply natural pest controls that only affect the offending pest. There are biological insect controls that are safe and employ bug viruses to sicken and kill specific varieties of insects.

Other natural insect controls are available to safeguard your harvest by trapping the pests, or by creating a physical barrier between your plants and the insects.

The next gardening blunder will examine an important consideration when it comes to feeding the plants in your vegetable garden.

Other Related Vegetable Gardening Posts:

  • As a kid growing up on a farm we used a lot of poisons, well dad did. He sprayed all the crops in the fields and then would do the same things to the garden.

    Unfortunately I was the one who paid the biggest price for that as I grew up with constant migraine headaches that no one could seem to find the cause for.

    You can be sure we don’t use any pesticides at all in our backyard gardens.

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