Lots of beneficial bugs and birds eat problem insects. Attract the good guys and you will reduce problems with the bad ones.
Aphids, praying mantises, ladybugs, and aphid wolves or the larvae of green lacewings are natural foes of aphids. Flies and wasps kill aphids by injecting their eggs into aphids. Plant Queen Anne’s lace to attract wasps and marigolds to attract hove flies. Birds, especially chickadees and house wrens, consume aphids by the thousands. House wrens, mockingbirds, warblers, and catbirds devour harmful moth and butterfly caterpillars and the larvae of numerous other insect species. Install birdhouses in your garden or erect seed tables and plant fruit-bearing hedges.
Woodpeckers pick out eggs of codling moths and many other insects that hide in tree bark. Attract woodpeckers to your yard in winter by hanging suet and weed feeders in affected trees.
Trichogramma wasps are beneficial insects that parasitize many moth eggs, including those that hatch into armyworms and cutworms. Release wasp larvae in June when moths are laying eggs, or simply grow plenty of flowers.
Birds are hardworking grub eaters. Till your garden bed at least two days before you plan to sow or plant and let them pick it clean.
Robins, starlings, and flickers, equipped with the long, pointed beaks needed for poking into soil, help control Japanese beetles by eating the larvae. Other birds, including cardinals and catbirds, eat the adult beetles. Make sure that fresh water is always available but empty your bird feeders during Japanese beetle season to keep the birds hungry enough to snack on the beetles and grubs. Also invite birds into the garden by minimizing use of broad-spectrum pesticides.
Blackbirds, ducks, frogs and toads, lizards, and snakes all consider slugs and brown snails a delicacy.
Lacewings and ladybugs are good whitefly predators.
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