William Moss: Gardens are like little ACs for wildlife, especially insects. Fortunately, most of them are good guys that help us out through the summer season. We'll go ahead and discuss some ways to invite more good guys to the garden.
First, there are two types of good guy insects, the pollinators and those that eat the bad bugs. So the dragonflies eat the mosquitoes, the praying mantises eat the grasshoppers, and ladybugs are really good at eating aphids. So good in fact, this become common now to actually buy them and use them on your tomatoes, peppers, roses or other plants that may have an aphid infestation.
This is a really good project to do with kids. It's a lot of fun for them to have this experience with nature right in the backyard.
Now as far as the pollinators, things like the butterflies and the bees, they really help us into fruit and veggie garden. Most of our fruits and vegetables require pollination by some insects. So it's nice to be able to have them come in. You'll get more fruit because of their presence.
So you want to do things like, plant colorful annuals, also plant herbs, and then plant a lot of flowering perennials. All of those things will have a lot of nectar and they will bring in the good guys to help fight against some of the bad guys.
It's also important not to use any pesticides that have harsh residual toxins, because that will take out not just the bad guys, but also the good guys. So use a pesticide that's more of a contact killer.
So by using those contact killers on specific bad guys and by planting lots of beautiful flowers, you will have plenty of good guy insects, come and help you to have a healthy garden all season. Get out and grow!