7 beneficial insects for your edible garden
How many beneficial insects do you have in your edible garden?
All garden have insects, and sometimes it's hard to know which are the good cops and which are the bad cops in your garden neighbourhood! The good cops, the insects that help with pollination and pest control are referred to as beneficial insects.
Bad cops on the other hand are fruit fly, possums that steal your fruit, aphids, looper caterpillars, grasshoppers, locusts and more. Visit our Pests and Disease guide for information on keeping the bad bugs out of your garden.
So, back to the good cops! A pollinator is an animal that causes plants to make fruit or seeds. They do this by moving pollen from one bit of the plant's flower to another part. The pollen then fertilises the plant.
Pollinators are essential for your Fruit Salad Tree to produce fruit. Common insect pollinators that are found in your garden are butterflies, wasps, moths, beetles, hover flies and of course bees.
Other insects that are part of the good guys help control your garden neighbourhood by eating the bad guys like aphids, mites and scale.
1. Lady Bugs
There are two types of lady bugs; the first one is your common one, tiny and red with black spots, the second is a black and yellow lady bug that attacks any fungus growing on the tree.
Munch on: aphids, mealy bugs, mites, small larvae and moth eggs.
2. Chilocorus Ladybird beetle
An orange helmet shaped ladybird beetle that are about 5mm long.
Munch on: most scales insects like red scale and white louse scale.
There are quite a few wasp varieties (eg parasitic wasps) that work in your garden as good pollinators and will help deter pests as well.
Munch on: Caterpillars, curl grubs, spiders, scale and flies
4. Praying Mantis
A carnivore that is a beneficial insect unless you are trying to attract pollinators to your garden as these guys will eat pretty much anything.
Munch on: Grasshoppers, mosquitoes, moths, butterflies and anything else that moves.
5. Ground Beetles
You will find many varieties of beetles in your garden ranging in size, usually black or metallic blue/green in colour.
Munch on: Aphids, slugs and snails
6. Hover Fly
The adults have a black and yellow banded abdomen, you will notice this insect often hovering above plants.
Munch on: Aphids and mites
A small green insect about 15mm in size with four clear wings.
Munch on: Aphids, scale insects, mealybugs, caterpillars, whitefly and mites.
Top tips to attract these good cops to patrol and protect your garden are:
- Plant a variety of herbs like dill or Italian parsley
- Keep the area around your Fruit Salad Tree weeded
- Keep topping up your mulch with pea straw
- Plant flowers like lavender, daisies and nasturtiums nearby
- Planting some yummy strawberries in your garden will definitely please the ladybugs.
Create an insect hotel/sanctuary in your garden
An insect hotel not only enhances your garden but you'll encourage more beneficial insects like solitary bees, wasps and beetles season after season.
Good watering practices are great for your multi-grafted Fruit Salad Tree and these little guys too.
Do you have any more beneficial insects to add to our list? Let us know in the comments or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'd love to hear about them in detail and we also love seeing photos if you have them.
Here at Fruit Salad Trees, we stock a wide range of fruit trees, which all boast different fruit on the same tree. Each fruit variety retains its own flavour, appearance and ripening time. We graft citrus, stonefruit and multi-apple trees.
Our fast fruiting trees can be grown in the ground, or in pots on your balcony.