Q&As/Garden Insects/Attracting Good Insects

Question

I would like some suggestions on what to plant to attract the ‘good’ insects like bees, ladybugs and praying mantis to my garden.

Answer

While bees are attracted to many plants, they do have their preferences that are worth adhering to when planting colour into your spring/summer garden. The colour of a flower is significant. For instance, blue, purple, white and yellow are the bees favourite colours. They cannot see red as it appears black to them. Bees have a distinct fondnss for plants that produce a flower that has a large single row of petals which makes landing and the retrieval of nectar that much easier. Plants that produce a rich source of nutrients are always popular with bees, such as flowering annuals like asters, sunflowers, cosmos and zinnias. Herbs are also very popular providing an excellent supply of nectar; such as basil, coriander, chives, lavender, lemon balm, mint, parsley rosemary sage and thyme.
Praying mantis are known as generalist predators, in that they will eat nearly any insect they can find. This includes moths, crickets, flies, beetles, bees and caterpillars. Ladybugs are also generalist predators and they consume aphids, scale, mites, mealy bug, small caterpillars, insect eggs and pupae, whiteflies and mites.
How do you attract ladybirds and praying mantis to your garden? Strangely by providing an abundant food source for them, which of course means infestations of a desirable insect. However, a backyard garden with a range of trees and shrub will invariably contain significant populations of both praying mantis and lady bugs.

 

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