You don’t want insects ruining your garden, but the chemicals to get rid of them could ruin it just as easily, and could maybe even harm you and your family; what’s a gardener to do? Take a tip from nature and introduce a new species to your garden.

To get rid of flies, consider introducing the fly parasite into your garden. These little guys lay their eggs in fly pupae and the hatching larvae devour the fly before it can even grow wings. They will go after almost any sort of fly, but the great thing about them is that they don’t go after the sorts of bugs you actually want in your garden, and they don’t bite humans. They are gnat-sized and can live almost anywhere in the US, as they are very adaptable to their environment. And for $15 you can get about 2,000 pupae, more than enough for your average-sized garden.

Green-LacewingThe Green Lacewing is another insect you should consider a friend. These little guys will not damage anything in your garden, including fruits and veggies, but they will eat the bugs that generally go after such plants. The Green Lacewing will reproduce in your garden so once you release them you can sleep easy knowing they are protecting your garden. Adult Lacewings are typically yellow or green with gold eyes and long feelers. They get their name from their wings, which do look quite lacy. Surprisingly, the adult Green Lacewing is not the main predator; the larvae are voracious and will eat up caterpillars, moths, aphids, beetle larvae, and other pests. You should try to have one Lacewing per foot of garden, which shouldn’t be hard as you can purchase 1000 for approximately $15.

Finally, the Trichogramma is a great insect to introduce into your garden. The Trichogramma will cut harmful bugs down before they are even born! It kills over 200 types of insect eggs including earworms, codling moths, and cutworms, but Trichogramma also won’t hurt any of the other bugs that help your garden. And, they are harmless to humans so no worries that they might sting your family. You can buy about 4,000 larvae for as little as $5, so a little investment will go a long way with this bug!

You can buy most of these insects at your local nursery or garden store, or online. Instructions for how to release them safely should always be included on the packaging. It may seem like you are getting a lot of bugs for each order, but remember that many of the insects will either die or move to another area, leaving just enough to keep your garden pest-free. Utilizing beneficial insects in your garden can save your flowers while keeping you, your family, and your pets safe from potentially harmful chemicals and pesticides. Just make sure you don’t accidentally release your new best friends inside the house!