Beneficial Insects For Your Garden

The amount of time spent on this project can vary. If you choose to plant your plants from seeds, it will take longer before you can actually begin your project unless you watch from the time your plants sprout. You can also choose to get plants that are already grown and simply transplant them into the garden that you’re watching. The idea here is to attract certain types of insects to your garden that are beneficial to the entire garden.

Question: When you plant specific plants in your garden, does it increase the number of beneficial insects? Are there certain plants that attract these insects?

Materials:

  • Insect ID book
  • Tape measure
  • Borage plants – 5
  • Notebook and pen
  • Timer or watch

Instructions:

  1. Bugs love flowers. Flowers attract insects and many times those insects are beneficial to the garden. Some insects, such as bees, help pollinate crops. Other insects will eat the insects that are trying to eat your crops. So, which insects are good and which ones are bad?
  2. If you place certain plants in your garden, will it increase the good insects? Begin by creating your hypothesis and tell us what you think will happen.
  3. You will want to do this experiment during the spring, summer or early fall. Basically when there are plenty of insects around.
  4. You should begin before adding your plants to the garden. Sit outside and pay attention to what insects are frequenting your garden already. Take note of the species and what they’re doing. You need to identify them and write them down in your notebook. If you have trouble, this is where your insect identification book will come in handy.
  5. Mark off a small section of the garden and do a timed experiment. In a 3’x3′ area on a sunny day, take about 30 minutes to seriously observe what insects enter your sectioned off area. Make sure that you note the time in your notebook because you’ll be doing this again on another day and will want to watch at the same time of day.
  6. Write down the number of insects that you see in that 30 minute period. What type and how many of those insects are in your area? Document it.
  7. Once you’re done doing the timed experiment, plant your borage in that sectioned off area. In this experiment, we are going to plant 5 borage plants that are already in bloom to save time. Make sure that you water them and then leave them alone to adjust to their new environment. This will take about 3 days.
  8. Wait for a day that is as sunny as the first day that you went out to observe. Count the number of insects that enter the plot area beginning at the same time that you observed last time. So if you observed from 12pm to 12:30pm, make sure that you observe at the same time this time too. Are there more insects? Are there less? What kinds of insects are there? Are there any new ones?

End result:

The plants that you placed into your garden should have attracted more beneficial insects. Beneficial insects are vital to a well-tended garden. We may water and use plant food, but beneficial insects help to keep the garden healthy by eating the bad insects that will destroy your plants. Some of these insects also help the soil in your garden.

For example:

If your garden is full of aphids, you will want to lure more ladybugs into your garden because ladybugs eat aphids. This action will help to bring balance to your garden. Anything that helps to pollinate your flowers is also a beneficial insect. This doesn’t mean that it has to be bees.

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