Herbs for Attracting Beneficial Insects

calendula with bee

Organic gardening is becoming a popular movement even though it was common-place to our ancestors. Of course, our ancestors didn’t call it organic gardening; they called it feeding their family. With the advent of synthetic chemical pesticides, farmers and gardeners thought their worries were over as they doused their crops with toxic chemicals that not only killed all the insects, but as was later discovered, also contributed to a variety of health issues.

Natural Pest Control

Today, enlightened gardeners know that chemical poisons have no place in our food production. You can grow plenty of fresh produce without the use of nasty pesticides. If you’re concerned about pests getting more of your harvest than you, consider using natural pest control methods to reduce the damage.

The most non-toxic of all pest control methods is the use of beneficial insects to control garden pests. While there are places that sell beneficial insects, you can also put out the welcome mat for those already nearby by planting herbs as companion plants that will entice beneficials to take up residence in and around your garden.

Basil

Basil is a kitchen favorite used in a variety of delicious recipes. This kitchen herb also encourages many beneficial insects, such as bees. As a bonus, basil also repels several unwanted insects including aphids, tomato horn worms, whiteflies and more.

Calendula

Calendula is a useful medicinal herb that everyone should grow in their gardens. A home made calendula salve is perfect for treating minor wounds, abrasions and inflammation.

This herb is not only pretty and good for healing. It also attracts butterflies and bees which are useful for pollination. Calendula is also known to attract hoverflies which prey on aphids, thrips and other pests.

Dill

Dill is another herb that attracts a variety of beneficial insects. Plant a row of dill along the perimeter of your garden and you’ll soon find green lacewings, lady bugs, parasitic wasps and hoverflies happily taking up residence.

You’ll also enjoy having fresh dill for your culinary creations. Dill isn’t just for making pickles. You can enjoy it on fish and in other dishes as well.

Lemon Balm

Lemon balm has a fabulous fragrance and sometimes it is planted just for that reason alone. Beneficial insects enjoy it as well. This herb will entice parasitic wasps and tachinid flies which help control cutworms, caterpillars, cabbage loopers, weevils, squash bugs and many more garden pests.

Plan Your Companion Plants

As you plan your herb garden, choose your plants careful. Include a variety of your favorite kitchen herbs, a selection of medicinals and some carefully chosen herbs that will help keep the rest of your garden healthy and thriving. If an herb you want for attracting beneficial insects is one you have not used before, explore some of its other uses. You may just find a new favorite herb.

photo credit: 140823_Kellerkatzenweg_124 via photopin (license)

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