Gardens are not static decors but living spaces that many creatures call home. Children gardening should be made aware of these critters so that they know what to expect and how to behave around them. This will allow them to appreciate each while protecting themselves from harm.
The presence of insects can actually be favorable as some might aid in pollination while others could eat those that might destroy the plants. The children should learn how to differentiate between them. Below are three of the most common garden insects and their brief descriptions:
These can be the stuff of nightmares given their appearance and behaviors. However, they are actually difficult to spot while gardening given their excellent camouflage. Their color and shape make them blend seamlessly with their surroundings. You will have to look closely before you find them.
They may be thin as sticks but they have a voracious appetite. They will eat other insects in the vicinity such as mosquitoes, caterpillars, leaf hoppers, and much more. They like soft-bodied insects while they are young. As they mature, they develop the capacity to devour larger insects like crickets, grasshoppers, beetles, and the like. They will eat the pests around the garden, thus preventing the destruction of the plants. Mantises use their front legs to grab prey. They will hold a spot and keep still until a creature comes close enough for them to snatch.
Although they can be scary, they are quite useful around the garden. Seasoned gardeners welcome their presence. If you see their eggs, then protect them and prevent their disturbance. Teach your children to identify them using known characteristics. These can generally be placed on leaves and twigs above the ground. They should not be placed at ground level because they will become vulnerable to foraging ants. Care for the eggs to ensure a healthy population in your garden.
There are some insects that feed on sap which you might want to eliminate from your garden paradise. You can do this by employing ladybugs which are known to prey on such creatures. Instead of using potentially harmful pesticides, you can wage this natural biological warfare to fix the problem. These ladybugs are able to eat plenty of sap-sucking bugs in a day. They can even eat the larvae of a number of destructive bugs as well. Keep them around as they can come in handy.
Finally, you should look into having green lacewings in your garden as they are capable of ravaging the most destructive insects during the larvae stage. They are incredible predators that gorge on mites, aphids, eggs, small caterpillars, and other soft-bodied insects for a few weeks. Even as they grow into adulthood, they can still be of use to gardeners as they can help in pollination while they hop from flower to flower feeding on nectar. They increase the garden’s vitality.
Get familiar with the appearance of this insect throughout the various stages of its life cycle. During the larvae stage, the lacewings have a tiny gray-brown body. The larva will attack its prey with vigor such that it is difficult to escape. First, it will inject a venom to paralyze the target and make it easier to operate. Once the prey stops moving, it can draw the liquids out from the body for nutrients.
They can grow into adults and live for as long as six weeks in this state. They no longer prey on other insects as they did before. Instead, they feed on nectar and honeydew. Therefore, you have to ensure that they have an adequate supply of these kinds of sweet stuffs to increase their population. Otherwise, they might move to another place.
These are just some of the most beneficial insects to have in your garden. Learn more about them and share your knowledge with your kids. They are the best natural pesticides on earth. Despite their reputation as predators, they truly help in preserving your garden and stopping the destructive elements in their tracks.
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