How to Attract Beneficial Predators & Pollinators

It was recently reported in a research study conducted by Michigan University that predatory insect attracting plants saved American farmers “an estimated $4.6 billion last year on insecticides.” Let us hope they continue to up their creativity in their predatory insect attractant planting techniques and quit using insecticides at all!

Having predatory insect attracting plants will dramatically improve your garden’s safety and health, especially from herbivorous insect plagues. And the best part is that you probably already have a lot of insect attracting plants in your garden already!

Predatory & Pollinating Insect Attracting Plants

Apiaceae: Umbels

Angelica, anise, caraway, carrot, celery, chervil, cicely, cilantro, cumin, dill, fennel, lovage, hemlock, parsley, queen anne’s lace, parsnip, silphium.

Asteraceae: Composites/Daisies

Daisy, sunflower, aster, marigold, chrysanthemum, dahlias, zinnias, heleniums.

Lamiaceae: mints

Mint, lemon balm, bee balm, basil, rosemary, sage, oregano, thyme, lavender, perilla, teak.

The above are just a few of the most common predatory and pollinating insect attracting plants. They attract beetles, centipedes, spiders, bees, butterflies and the like because the shallow flower shapes allow these desirable insects to feed. "Many insect pest predators and parasites use flower nectar as a source of energy while they search for prey.” (Edible Forest Gardens, p.164.)

Why do we need these insects? Because predatory insects and parasites will eat the herbivorous insects and parasites that eat your plants.

There are four levels of predators in the micro-ecosystem in a healthy garden, and they need the support of food from flowers when their ideal herbivorous prey is not around. Having a steady residential system of beneficial predatory insects ensures the health and stability of your garden ecosystem by preventing potential herbivorous insect plagues on your crops.

Pollinators are of obvious importance in fertilizing the flowers that produce the fruit, vegetables and grains that we grow to survive. Without pollinating insects around we would have a lot of painstaking hand fertilizing work to do.

It is important to plant not just some of these flowers but to plant lots of them and a large variety of them in order to ensure that your predatory and pollinating insects have a stable supply of nectar over spring, summer and fall (and in winter too in milder climates!).