Summer Brings Bugs: Good and Bad

I know lots of folks who start their veggie and flower gardens by spraying pesticides in their yard to prevent the insects from eating their plants.  BUT, you are also exposing yourself and others to poisonous chemicals by killing these bugs.

By not spraying pesticides, you will get “bad” bugs, but also attract “good” bugs.  Part of this process is having the right plants to attract the beneficial insects to your garden, such as, yarrow, dill, feverfew, lavender, lemon balm, parsley, sunflowers, spearmint, fennel, white sage. Understand that any wildflowers native to your region will work!

Now, do I have “bad” bugs in my garden?  Yes, but if you have kids, this is part of the learning experience of growing a garden.  Mr Grasshopper has a permant residence in my sage bush.  And my son enjoys seeing him daily.  (I wouldn’t be surprised if the postman brings him mail).

My son enjoys visiting Mr Green Grasshopper.

Tomato horn worm will devour your tomatoes. But interesting to see...

We also enjoy seeing the beneficial insects as well.

Spined Soldier Bug will eat the green cabbage looper caterpiller. It's a Good Thing!

You would think you don’t want caterpillars, but you might want one that turns into a Monarch butterfly. These black and yellow caterpillars eat milkweed plants almost exclusively. It’s worth having the plant in your yard if it grows in your climate.

Monarch caterpillar eating the milkweed plant.

The caterpillar makes its home - a chrysalis. Looks like a green jewel.

Let’s not forget ladybugs and spiders. They keep the “bad” insects in your garden in check. Part of successful gardening is exploring what insects you have and what they do.  Children really do love seeing nature and the insects that live in the garden.  If not for your neighborhood, then for you: promote your beneficial insect population.  You might be surprised what nature brings.

About Sharon M., MS RD

As a registered dietitian and a master gardener, I know the healing power of food. Nothing has given me more satisfaction than growing my own food. I have experience working in the public health field, including school districts. I have worked with pregnant moms, children, diabetics, and bariatric patients. I emphasis a plant-based, whole food diet. Yet, I appreciate the movement of eating sustainably, while hoping folks appreciate the bean as a source of protein. "To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art." - Francois de La Rochefoucauld "Feeding is going well if both you and yor child are having a good time." -Ellyn Satter
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