Using herbs to attract beneficial insects, or beneficial planting, is a great way to bring in the bugs that you want to the garden. Beneficial insects not only prey on the damaging insects that eat your crops, they also pollinate the garden. This is an essential step in producing the most vegetables possible without using chemical enhancements.
How Does Beneficial Planting Work?
Beneficial planting with herbs does take a little bit of planning. It is important to plant your herbs to provide blossoms from as early in the season as possible, to as late in the fall as your garden grows. This provides food and safe shelter for every type of beneficial insect to want to stay in your garden area.
What Types Of Insects Am I Attracting?
Beneficial insects that will be attracted to your herbs will be numerous. They include insects such as parasitic wasps, that inject their eggs into the host insect, hornets that are excellent predators who carry off flies and other larvae and beetles. Beetles from lady bugs, who eat aphids and spider mites, to ground beetles that prey on many pests that come out at night like cutworms and slug eggs, tent caterpillars and army worms. Dragonflies, lacewings and spiders are also beneficial to the garden. Although may be not a family favorite, spiders are excellent predators and are usually shy enough that you do not even see where they live.
What Herbs Attract Beneficial Insects?
Herbs that attract beneficial insects will have large clusters of flowers that are tiny. These include fennel, dill, anise, coriander, yarrow and calendula. For early blossoms, plant calendula. This will allow the insects that prey on early pests like aphids to set up house. Planting the herbs in the carrot family: Fennel, dill, anise, will allow the mid season blossoms to grow. The late season bloomers like yarrow will round out the garden season, allowing for the longest available food and housing for the insects you want to remain in your garden.