I am really interested in knowing about what plants attract beneficial insects. also what types of plants work well with each other? im kinda new at this stuff please let me know :) I am trying to have the sweetest garden!
permaculture and homesteading Ontario zone 4a-5a
The beneficials are carnivorous, so won't be attracted by the plants, just pests that may visit the plants. If there are no pests, beneficials will go elsewhere, most are able to fly. If/when you see plant pests, learning what each one is can be very helpful in knowing how to control it mechanically, and to research what critters consider your pest a meal. Providing suitable nesting sites for local carnivorous birds also helps with pest control.
If you research "companion planting" and "planting guilds" you'll find info about symbiotic plant relationships. Avoiding monocultures is another natural method of pest and disease control.
As a beginner, I would suggest focusing your efforts on having healthy plants via healthy, fertile soil. Compost, amendments, and natural fertilizers such as composted manure are much easier to apply to soil before an area is full of plants, and that initial effort will reward you for years with healthier plants that are naturally more able to resist invasions of pests.
thanks for the info. Im also looking into birds as a pest control to. I assume a bird feeder would help a lot but what im really interested in is getting some praying mantis eggs! I love those critters and they help out a lot. thoughts...
If you know a link for the beneficial eggs you would be my hero :p
This message was edited Mar 13, 2013 5:37 PM
Stuff like plants and bug eggs don't travel across the border as easily (or inexpensively) as they do from state to state within the US, so I would recommend trying to find a Canadian source for such.
I don't feed the birds because the yard is always full of them and if I feed them, they might not go find the bugs and weed seeds they might otherwise eat, and if there wasn't something here for them to eat already, they wouldn't be here. I don't intend to live here forever, so in the long run, it would be doing more harm than good to temporarily and artificially increase the available food in the area. But this is a personal decision for each person and I wouldn't 2nd guess anyone's decision to do so.
I don't purposely introduce beneficials because they will find their way here if there is sustenance for them/a job for them to do. Mantids are large predators, in the insect world, so an abundance of them could be problematic in regard to having balance. There are so many bugs and insects out there, it seems illogical to me that introducing a single one anywhere in large quantities would be helpful in general. If one has large numbers of a specific pest, I can see where releasing a predator would be helpful but I don't plant any particular plant in that kind of quantity.