Feel like bugs are taking over your backyard? Don’t sweat it—the vast majority of insects are entirely harmless. And many of them, like assassin bugs, ground beetles, minute pirate bugs, ladybugs, and more, are actually good guys that can help you keep the bad guy bugs in check. But the secret to keeping them on the job is to follow these rules:
Lay off pesticides. It’s a frightening thought if you’ve been using them for a long time, but if you quit cold turkey, throngs of good guys will show up and start chowing down on the bag bugs in no time flat.
Give them a drink. Sink a few plant saucers into the ground, set some pebbles inside, and pour in water. It gives insects—and insect eaters like toads, frogs, birds, and bats—a place to quench their thirst.
Mix it up. Plant a mixed bag of flowers, herbs, veggies, trees, and shrubs. The more options you offer up, the more kinds of helpers will come to your yard for food or shelter, and the more kinds of pests they’ll polish off.
Go native. If you want a first-class dream team on your side, look for plants that are native to your neck of the woods. I guarantee that local good guys will flock to your doorstep!
Provide pollen. Most good guy bugs are pleased as punch with any flower that’s rich in pollen and nectar, such as asters, cosmos, mint, morning glories, and yarrow. Plant a mix so that there will always be blooms for them to sip from throughout the growing season.