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Homes for insects

Hoverfly

Image: Ian Dawson

Insects such as ladybirds, lacewings and hoverflies feed on aphids and other insects considered less beneficial in the garden. Bumblebees, solitary bees and solitary wasps are also very useful as a natural form of pest control. Others help with pollinating plants around the garden.

You can provide all the right conditions for these insects to feed, breed and shelter naturally in your garden. However, providing them with an articial home can help them further and allow you the opportunity to watch them at close quarters.

Insects that use artificial homes

Insect or bug boxes provide certain insects with somewhere safe to hibernate in. A number of insects can be attracted to artificial homes and include:

  • Lacewings: delicate bright green insects with near transparent wings and long antennae. In Britain, there are 14 species. Adults and larvae have a voracious appetite for aphids and are of great benefit in gardens.
  • Ladybirds: probably our most loved member of the beetle family. The two and seven-spotted are the most numerous and frequently seen species. Adults and larvae of ladybirds eat aphids and other small garden pests.
  • Solitary bees and solitary wasps: do not occur in large numbers like their social cousins. Over 250 different types are found in Britain and many occur in gardens. The commonest solitary bee species are the tawny mining bee and red mason bee. They are very good at pollinating flowers. Solitary wasps are mostly parasitic and lay their eggs inside the bodies of other insects. These grow inside the host’s body until ready to emerge as an adult. They are very good at controlling garden pests.

How you can help

Carder bumblebee harvesting nectar

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