This is a guest blog from Jack Falker.

Here is a new book by Jessica Walliser, “Attracting Beneficial Bugs to your Garden”, which changed my way of thinking about controlling insect pests in my gardens.  Here’s a link to that book, which is available in many public libraries, as well as both new and used on Amazon.

Magers & Quinn | Amazon | Hennepin County Library

What Jessica advocates is the establishment of “insectary gardens” to attract beneficial insects (good bugs), such as syrphid flies, lady beetles, minute pirate bugs, lace wings and predatory wasps that attack “bad bugs” such as spider mites, thrips and aphids. As long as you don’t spray things that kill them, these predators are very easy to attract to the garden with plantings, such as oregano, dill, bachelor buttons, lobelia, yarrow, daisies, alyssum and cosmos (and many others cited in the book).

Here is a partial list of the beneficial insects we all want in our gardens:

  • Bees of all varieties (there are more than 400 bee species in Minnesota).
  • Predatory beetles, especially Lady Beetles
  • Syrphid Flies
  • Minute Pirate Bugs
  • Lace Wings
  • Predatory Wasps
  • Butterflies

And here is a list of some of the plants that attract beneficial insects:

  • Oregano
  • Dill
  • Angelica
  • Lovage
  • Daisies
  • Yellow Cone Flowers
  • Sunflowers (both annual and perennial)
  • Bachelor Buttons
  • Alyssum (On the edge of every bed to attract Syrphid Flies)
  • Verbena Bonariensis
  • Zinnias
  • Boneset
  • Cosmos
  • Coreopsis 
  • Monarda
  • Rudbeckia
  • Aster
  • Yarrow
  • Anice Hysop

Jack Falker is a writer, blogger, and Master Gardener. He is also an organic farmer, and creates his own organic fertilizer. Jack’s blog is The Minnesota Rose Gardener.