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Welcoming beneficial wildlife into your garden

3rd March 2020 Print

When considering what could benefit your garden, insects may not be the first thing to spring to mind. With hungry pests eyeing up your hard work as potential dinner, it can be tempting to keep all bugs at bay. But there are several critters you should take note of as welcome guests to your garden. We explore various wildlife helpers with the aid of Dobies, provider of garden plants, on how to entice beneficial bugs to your trees and flowers and 

Encouraging growth

Bees and butterflies are an obvious athletic addition to any garden, painting a perfect spring image. But beyond this, they are natural pollinators, which means that they help spread your flowers around the garden and encourage growth. 

Lure butterflies and bees to your yard with the support of brightly-coloured petals. Bees are attracted to these plants, as they source their energy from sugar-filled nectar and the pollen provides bees with protein and fat. 

You can encourage bees to visit in greater numbers at a time by clustering your garden plants together. Also, plant flowers that bloom at different times of year to encourage your flying friends to come to your garden. 

Protecting petals 

Some insects can brew problems for your plants. But you can enlist some of them to protect your plants from infestations of smaller creatures. 

Aphids can wreak havoc on flowers and shrubbery. The small insects, also known as the greenfly and blackfly, suck saps from plants and excrete it as honeydew. This sticky substance then falls on the lower leaves of the plant which can be harmful to its growth. Photosynthesis becomes inhibited and the plant becomes deprived of energy. In extreme aphid attacks, the insects can fully smother the plant — causing it to become stunted and weak, which leads it to die. 

In response to this, welcome ladybirds into your garden. It is the larvae from these bugs that are predators of soft-bodied insects such as aphids. Encourage ladybirds to visit your garden by providing them with a water source. Fill saucers with pebbles and water, this allows the insect to take a drink without falling in and drowning. 

Along with ladybirds, you should be pleased to receive a visit from damsel bugs. They feed on aphids, small caterpillars and other irritating small creatures — helping your crop thrive! 

Deter snails and slugs 

Other creatures might view garden plants as a garden salad! Slugs and snails for example leave holes in leaves and feast on your fresh green shoots. 

Everyone loves to see a hedgehog rustling through their back garden, and for beneficial reasons too. They are a gardener’s best friend, as they feed on snail, slugs and other insects. To encourage hedgehogs into the garden, leave food out for them. This could be minced meat or tinned dog and cat food. Although people think that the creatures enjoy drinking milk, you shouldn’t leave this out for hedgehogs. It can upset their stomach and lead them to become dehydrated. You can also leave areas of the garden to grow wild with piles of leaves and overgrown grass to encourage hedgehogs to set up camp. 

You could maybe encourage other animals into your garden too, such as birds and wild ducks who will feed on problem insects. However, don’t expect your neat rows of fruit and vegetables to stay that way!