Healthy Bugs for Your Garden


Are you inclined to stomp on spiders, flatten flies or squash insects?  Before you grab for that rolled up newspaper, wait, there’s more to these creepy crawlies than meets the eye.

ladybugSome of the best time spent in the garden with my children is on expedition. Bedecked with magnifying glasses, explorer hat and a sense of adventure we head outside to hunt for bugs, butterflies and creepy crawlies. These bugs aren’t only providing child-friendly entertainment but they’re keeping the ‘pests’ at bay and helping me keep the garden pesticide-free.

I’m not asking you to embrace all things creepy crawly, but some of these bugs really act as Mother Nature’s organic pest control.

Knowing which insects are ‘beneficial’ and how to attract them to your garden will streamline your organic gardening possibilities and minimise your use of pesticides making your garden more child, pet and environmentally friendly.

Some of the organic gardener’s best insect buddies include the ladybug, lacewings, bees, the assassin beetle, earwigs and the leopard slug.

Two ways to make them feel welcome is to create a habitat and food source.

lacewing_hotelHere’s how to make your own Lacewing Hotel with children:

  1.  Saw the bottom off an empty 2 litre soft drink bottle.
  2.  Cut a piece of corrugated cardboard about 80-100cms long, roll it up and slide it inside the bottle.
  3. Push some thin wire through both sides of the bottle base to stop the cardboard falling out.
  4. Tie a string around the bottle neck, leaving the lid on and hang it up in a sheltered position.

A Plastic food container can also make a great house for lady bugs and other beneficial insects.
– Make a series of small holes in the lid of a square tub with a knitting needle and stuff the inside with straw.
– Place the tub on its side under a bush or a large plant to keep it dry over Spring.

Another beautiful step by step guide on how to build an Insect hotel can be found here.

bug home finished

Mixing flowering native plants with vegetables and fruit encourages many useful bugs, is aesthetically pleasing and a sensory delight for children.  Grab your hats,  magnifying glasses and kids gardening tools (which can all be found on our online store here) for some garden fun and happy hunting!

Garden tools




Article originally published Sept 2014 and written by Jenna Farrington- Seear, Garden Specialist – Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program, Montmorency South Primary School.


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