How to Attract Friendly Insects to Your Garden

Every garden has a wide selection of insects, some more welcome than others. High on the list of the ‘goodies’ of the insect kingdom are bees, whether honey or bumble, and hoverflies, dragonflies, lacewings and ladybirds. So if your insects tend to be of the pest variety it is worth making an effort to attract some of the more friendly kinds.

However many insects you have in the garden you can never have enough butterflies, ft is not only their beautiful colours and prettily shaped wings which are appealing; their delicate fluttering flight is attractive.

Luckily the flowers that butterflies adore are just as pretty and so are worthy of a place in any garden. The only possible exceptions are nettles, which most gardeners try to eradicate altogether. However nettles are very important for many varieties of butterfly as they lay their eggs on the leaves. So if you want to have beautiful butterflies gracing your garden it is worth gritting your teeth and allowing a clump of nettles to grow in some out-of-the-way corner.

garden insects How to Attract Friendly Insects to Your Garden

The other point to remember is that butterflies, being light-bodied insects, cannot stand the wind and prefer sunny, sheltered spots. So if your garden is quite windswept it is worth growing a hedge as a windbreak. When you have created your suntrap, either dig out a bed, or group together a selection of containers planted with colourful, fragrant plants. You will not only have a butterfly garden but a delightful place to eat out or simply sit and enjoy the comings and goings of the insects.

The needs of bees and other helpful insects are very similar to those of butterflies. They too are drawn to colourful, fragrant, nectar-rich flowers. Nectar is absolutely vital to the well-being of many flying insects as it provides them with energy-giving carbohydrates.

Herbs are also guaranteed to attract butterflies, bees and hoverflies, none of which can resist their strong aroma. Plant lavender, sage, thyme, rosemary and mini for fragrance, beauty and a host of attractive visitors. Other good choices are traditional cottage garden-style flowers such as catmint (Nepeta), sunflower (Helianthus), Aster, anemone, globe thistle and sedum. Many insects, including butterflies and bees, find blue flowers particularly alluring, so include plenty of these when planning a butterfly/insect corner. Like birds, butterflies and other insects love to feed on rotting fruit, as it ferments, so leave some windfalls.


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