One of the most interesting things about having your own garden is having the opportunity to learn about and interact with nature’s diverse array creatures. While some of these creatures are considered to be pests, others actually help your plants grow and thrive. To help you understand the difference, here is an overview common insects, birds, and wildlife that affect backyard gardens.
Beneficial vs. Harmful Insects
As a gardener, you should welcome certain insects to your yard because the eat harmful insects and help pollinate plants. Bees are the essential pollinators of plants, as well as butterflies. You can attract these insects to your garden with native plants and brightly colored plants. Lady bugs are beneficial because they eat the harmful species of mites and aphids. Praying mantis are predators of moths and mosquitoes as well.
Some insects that you don’t want in your garden include aphids, mealy bugs, and grasshoppers. These bugs can eat many types of plants that you are working hard to grow, and they thrive in gardens without natural predators nearby. Other harmful insects for gardens are locusts, carpenter ants, and hornets.
Beneficial vs. Harmful Birds
Birds can be lovely to watch with binoculars in the woods or even from your kitchen window. However, not all birds belong in your garden. Certain birds eat insects that put your plants at risk, including chickadees, bluebirds, sparrows, and cardinals. You can attract these beneficial birds by providing them with places to hide among your landscaping during bad weather, adding a birdbath to your yard, and hanging a bird feeder from a tree.
Some birds that you don’t necessarily want hanging around your yard are woodpeckers that can damage shingles and siding, as well as pigeons that leave messes behind. Starlings and blackbirds are notorious for eating vegetable and fruit plants and be a serious nuisance for homeowners.
Beneficial vs. Harmful Wildlife
Larger wildlife animals can also pose threats to your garden, while other species should be welcomed with open arms in moderation. For example, lizards and toads help keep insect populations under control. Although seeing a snake in your garden can be unsettling, snakes are actually very effective in keeping insects and rodents away from your plants. Bats help keep mosquitoes under control, while salamanders regularly eat ticks that could put your family or pets at risk.
However, domesticated cats roaming around your yard will deter beneficial birds from taking up residence in your garden area. Rabbits, deer, squirrels, voles, and gophers can all put your garden at risk. To control them, you may need to add strategic fencing, plant scent repellent plants to your garden, or explore other organic pest control options. Even your pet dogs can help chase furry pests away from your plants as long as they don’t trample over delicate leaves and flowers.
What insects, birds, and wildlife have you been seeing in your garden this year and how are they affecting your plants? Feel free to share your latest garden stories with fellow Seagate blog readers in the comment section below.