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Everyone who has ever had a garden, be it indoor or outdoor, has known problems with pests. These little creatures are not only ugly, but they can ruin your hard work and hurt your beloved plants. But what if I told you that there are some insects beneficial for indoor gardening?
That is true! More and more gardeners these days rely on these beneficial insects to take care of damn pests and bring back beauty to their indoor garden.
Let’s give a look at what these insects are and what they can do!
Beneficial Insects For Indoor Gardening
As I already mentioned, we have all known problems with pests at one point or another. But let me show you some numbers.
Did you know that there are approximately one million identified insect species in the world? And did you know that less than 1% of all of them are known as pests?
I know, that would mean that there are still 10.000 pest species out there, but still, most of the bugs that you would normally find in your indoor garden are just, well, chilling there!
Most of the bugs that I will mention today will be turned to fighting aphids since we already explained how serious these little creatures can be.
Now, as in every food chain, there are some bugs that eat other bugs. So, these “good” bugs are what you want to keep around.
“When we kill off the natural enemies of a pest, we inherit their work.”
From this saying, we can see that there are certainly those bugs that you should keep. But what are those?
Prepare yourselves, this is NOT going to be cute!
Related: Aphids on Indoor Plants – How to Deal with It
1. Ladybugs (Hippodamia Convergens)
We all know of ladybugs and we all know how cute they are and never to kill them when we see them. Luckily, this is true, but not every creature in your garden that is cute has to be one of beneficial insects.
However, these are, and they are very well known for eating off the aphids, mites, and all of the eggs that they might stumble upon.
What you probably didn’t know about ladybugs is that larvae stages also like to nom on the aphids and mites.
Another thing that you probably didn’t know so far is how their eggs and other stages look like. They might not be as cute as a grown ladybug, but they surely are beneficial. So, make sure you leave them be.
Ladybugs like plants that have a lot of juicy nectar, so if you have those plants in your indoor garden, these beneficial insects will surely stick around.
2. Green Lacewing Larvae (Chrysopa Rufilabris)
Even though this little insect may seem cute with its pretty colors and gentle name, it is everything but.
Even though the behavior of this bug’s final stage goes well with the name, it is most dangerous to aphids and other soft-bodied pests in the stage of larvae, when it is also called aphid wolf or aphid lion. Now you know what I’m talking about!
When in that stage, green lacewing larvae can eat up to 300 aphids per week, and if it stays hungry, it will not feel sad to eat off other larvae.
Their eggs look like they are on some kind of a stalk that is often attached to the underside of a leaf.
3. Aphid Predator (Aphidoletes aphidimyza)
This little insect lives up to its name since it is a ferocious killer of all aphids’ types in its larvae stage.
Aphid Predators are night feeders, so you will rarely see them. They often hide on the underside of leaves during the day and feast at night.
In its adult stage it looks much like a mosquito, feeds on the honeydew that aphids produce, and it hatches eggs in aphids’ colonies.
4. Aphid Parasite (Aphidius colemani)
However cruel it may be, this little wasp lays eggs inside aphids, causing them to mummify and die.
It finds the aphids by “smelling” their honeydew secretions. When it finds it, it puts an egg inside of the unlucky aphid, and when that egg hatches, the parasitic larva starts to eat the aphid from inside.
The aphids that were lucky enough not to get the egg emit hormones that other aphids can smell, so they flee fast, leaving your plants alone.
These little beneficial insects for indoor gardening can be used both as a preventive measure and to fight off the stubborn infestations.
5. Moth Egg Parasite (Trichogramma pretiosum)
These little wasps are fantastic in fighting off caterpillars and moths. And they work much in the same way as Aphid Parasite.
They use smell to find their pray, and when they do, they lay eggs inside.
These little insects can fight over 200 species of other, harmful insects. These include armyworms, codling moths, European corn borers, cankerworms, caterpillars, cabbage loopers, tomato hornworms, peach borers, and much more.
Even though their life is short, these wasps can finish off more than 100 pests’ eggs in those ten days.
Related: How to Get Rid of Bugs on Indoor Plants
6. Pirate Bugs (Orius Insidiosus)
Both adult and nymphs of these bugs feed on other insects from your garden. Aphids, spider mites, caterpillars – neither these nor their eggs stand a chance against pirate bugs.
However disgusting it may sound, these bugs don’t eat their prey, but they rather drink it. Pirate bugs pierce the body of their pray and suck it until it’s dry.
You probably never saw their eggs, since they place them underneath a plant’s tissue, where it will not be noticeable.
7. Predatory Nematodes (Steinernema Nematode and Heterorhabditis Nematode)
Nematodes are not bugs, but these tiny little worms surely can help in fighting those nasty pests from your garden.
They live in the ground and feed on larvae of other pests. I mentioned bugs that can find other bugs and moths with their sense of smell. Well, this one uses the warmth of other creatures to navigate. That, and carbon dioxide that they emit.
They enter the body of another pest where they release a bacterium that eats the pest from the inside out.
Even though this all sounds very scary, neither they nor their bacterium are dangerous to humans, plants and other beneficial insects, like ladybugs and earthworms.
Beneficial Insects Over Pesticides
As you can see, there are enough natural ways to fight pests from your garden, so you don’t have to use pesticides.
One of the reasons why insects are better is that the pests may become resistant to pesticides over time. Therefore, using pesticides here would bring more bad than good.
Of course, if you decide to go with homemade sprays, it is a completely different story.
However, note that ants feed on the honeydew that aphids produce, so they will do everything to protect them. If you see ants in your indoor garden, do not wait, but act FAST.
It is easy to conclude that “enemies of my enemies are my friends” as in others, so in this situation.
Luckily, now you know what insects are beneficial for indoor gardening and which of them should be left in your garden to live, work, and feast.
Have you used this method before? What are some other insects that have proven beneficial for your indoor garden? Share your experience with us in the comments below!