Whether they tend an indoor or outdoor garden, all gardeners have dealt with unwanted visitors.
As ugly as they are, these pests can do serious damage to your plants and undo all your hard work. What if, though, we told you that there are insects that are actually helpful for houseplants?
Beneficial insects for your Indoor garden
More and more people are turning to these beneficial insects to rid their indoor gardens of annoying pests and restore their once-beautiful appearance.
Moth egg parasite
These little wasps are highly effective at warding off moths and caterpillars. It’s also worth noting that their mechanism resembles that of the Aphid parasite. They use their sense of smell to track down their prey and lay eggs inside.
Over 200 species of dangerous insects are no match for these tiny fighters. Insect pests come in many forms, from codling moths and armyworms to peach borers and cabbage loopers to tomato hornworms and caterpillars. Even though they only live for 10 days, these wasps can eliminate over a hundred pest eggs.
Almost everyone has heard of ladybugs and agrees they’re too cute to harm. Thankfully, this is correct, but keep in mind that not all cute creatures in your garden will be helpful insects.
But these exist, and they are widely popular for their voracious appetites. They can devour mites, aphids, and any eggs they happen upon. Ladybugs are well-known for their ability to devour mites and aphids, but their larval stages are a hidden secret.
You’re also likely to be surprised by the appearance of their eggs and earlier stages. They may not have the endearing qualities of a full-grown ladybug. However, they provide significant benefits nonetheless. Therefore, you should give them some space.
Ladybugs are attracted to plants with nectar; therefore, if you grow nectar-rich houseplants, the ladybugs will stick around.
True to its name, this tiny bug is a vicious predator of aphid larvae of all varieties. As they hunt for food at night, these predators are rarely spotted during the day.
They spend the day hidden on the underside of leaves before coming out to eat at night. The adult form of this insect, which resembles a mosquito, feeds on the honeydew secreted by aphids and lays its eggs within aphid nests.
To be clear, nematodes are not insects, yet they can be useful in the fight against garden pests. They are ground-dwellers that prey on insect larvae. So it finds its way with the help of the body heat of other animals. And they also give off carbon dioxide.
Once inside another pest’s body, it spreads a germ that eventually kills it. While this may sound frightening, the bacteria they carry pose no threat to plants, humans, or even beneficial bugs such as earthworms and ladybugs.
Green Lacewing Larvae
The soft-sounding name and attractive hues of this beetle contradict its vicious nature. However, it is at its larval stage—when it goes by the names aphid lion and aphid wolf—that it poses the greatest threat to aphids and other soft-bodied pests.
Green lacewing larvae can consume as many as 300 aphids in a week, and if they remain hungry enough, they won’t feel bad about eating other larvae. The eggs of these insects, which can be seen attached to the underside of leaves, have the appearance of being on a stalk.
These insects, both adults and nymphs, prey on other insects. Neither adult insects nor their eggs can survive a pirate bug attack. As repulsive as it may sound, these insects actually suck the blood of their target rather than ingest it.
Pirate bugs penetrate their prey’s skin and drain its blood to feed. Because eggs hide so deeply within plant tissue, it’s unlikely you’ve ever seen one.
You won’t mistake this fly for any other. Those mighty paws have bristles and suction cups for maximum grip. The head is reduced in size while the body is stretched out.
They have a very powerful proboscis that can easily break through the shell of a beetle. As a result, these insects have little respect for authority and will devour anything, from dragonflies and wasps to May beetles.
The larvae of these insects are just as voracious as any other insect. They are predators that feed on other soil larvae.
Even though it doesn’t seem to care, this tiny wasp is responsible for turning aphids into mummies and killing them in the end.
It “smells” for aphids by following the scent of their honeydew. Upon discovery, it will lay an egg inside the unfortunate aphid, and once the egg hatches, the parasite larva will begin devouring the aphid from the inside out.
The insects that avoided the egg release chemicals that other aphids can smell. This will prompt the others to escape and abandon your plants quickly. Use these tiny, helpful insects for indoor gardening as a preventative measure or a weapon against persistent pests.
Hoverflies are so named because they like to hover in midair while making chattering noises. Since it looks so much like a wasp, it is frequently misidentified as one. Hoverflies are beneficial to summer dwellers. Their larvae aggressively consume small caterpillars and aphids, while the adults feast on flower pollen and nectar.
The female hoverfly lays her eggs among the aphids. Larvae hatch from their eggs after a few days and begin searching for nourishment. These ravenous young ones go on nighttime hunts.
During the two weeks it takes for a larva to transform into a pupa, it can kill as many as 700 aphids. Plants with yellow blooms and other honey plants, such as zinnias, lavender, daisies, and asters, are particularly attractive to hoverflies.
Let these beneficial insects stay
Last but not least, it’s crucial to refrain from using pesticides. Unfortunately, insecticides will kill both the pest and its natural predator. Thus, everyone loses. You should also avoid using chemicals if you want to attract entomophages.
Keep in mind that the goal of controlling pest populations through the use of beneficial insects is not eradication.
There will still be some potentially dangerous bugs in your neighborhood, so everything might even out. Could you give up some of your harvests for a greener option? That means you’ll need some beneficial insects.