Everything that creeps, crawls, wriggles or squirms isn’t necessarily nasty. In fact, many of the creatures in the gardens in Calgary are harmless and even useful. They work hard to prevent pests and diseases from getting out of hand.
Got pests? Never try to wipe out every pest; your aim should be to reduce pests to an acceptable level. Beneficial insects can be a great help in controlling many garden pests and we would be lost without them.
Beneficial insects – the good guys
Most of the beneficial insects you want to have in your garden will occur naturally in a healthy diverse garden. The key is diversity and plant health. Below are a few of the many beneficial insects living in our gardens in Calgary.
- Ladybug, Lady Beetle or Ladybird
- Green, Bronze or Brown Lacewings
- Syrphid Fly, Hoverfly or Flower Flies
- Icheneumonid, Braconid and Chalcid Wasps - harmless to humans
- Tachinid Flies
- Rove Beetles
- Ground Beetles
- Yellow Jackets, Wasps and Hornets
Attracting beneficial insects
There are many books on designing gardens to attract wildlife, including beneficial insects. Many beneficials require nectar and pollen to supplement their diet, so you will encourage them if you plant different flowers, herbs and ornamentals.
- Choose flowering trees, shrubs and perennials for shelter, as well as flora with smaller flowers, as larger blooms tend to collect water and drown bees and parasitoids.
- Choose a variety of plants that bloom throughout the season and are of varying heights. Some species such as beetles require low growing vegetation, while species such as spiders require taller vegetation. Lacewings require sheltered areas for their eggs.
- Have water available for the beneficials to drink. Place stones and twigs in a shallow water container to create an area for the insect to perch on and take a drink without drowning. Replace the water regularly to prevent the growth of mosquito larvae.
Pests – the bad guys
The best way to control an insect infestation depends on the problem. However, there are some effective alternatives to pesticides. Review The City’s information on common pests in Calgary for more information. Below are some potentially harmful insects in your yard.
For more information, review our pest management information or contact Parks.