Garden Bugs And The Food Chain
The fact of the matter is that garden bugs are all to do with the food chain. Bugs eat bugs, hedgehogs eat bugs, birds eat bugs, frogs eat bugs and so it goes on and on and ... well this cycle would stop if their were no Bugs.
So the Bug Food Chain is vital to a healthy garden.
As with all things in life there are those bugs that work with us and there are bugs that don't. There are also bugs that, just by going about their daily business get in the way of what we are trying to do.
A Wildlife Gardening tip answer to this is .... Remember
the garden bugs food chain and use it to your advantage.
Are Aphids a problem in the garden?
Use Garden Bugs As Pest Control
We need to keep in mind that Aphids are prime ladybug food.
Ladybugs or my preferred name Ladybirds have voracious appetites for Aphids, Greenfly and most other pests that
enjoy feeding on our plants.
It is said that a Ladybird can consume up to 4000 aphids
in its lifetime! Both larvae and adults eat the pests.
For this reason alone it's good to encourage the Ladybird
to remain in our garden throughout it's life cycle.
Ladybird Or Ladybug Food Attractant
We can entice more Ladybirds into our gardens by providing ladybug food attractant. Similar to using a butterfly feeder.
Also providing places for shelter, protection and hibernation will help the Ladybird stay put. As well, by smearing the attractant near these areas the Ladybird is more likely to find these places of safety and make good use of them.
This same approach can be taken with lacewings
which are truly a great ally with Aphid control.
Nectar, pollen along with honeydew are the adults main food.
With Lacewings the real predator is the larvae, which has also been called the Aphid Lion because of its aggressive eating habits where Aphids are concerned.
Here again we should provide the right habitat to preserve their presence in our gardens. Nectar rich flower beds or containers will ensure the adult lacewings receive their daily quota of food.
They are then more likely stay around to lay their eggs, larvae will hatch, feed away, become adults and the cycle continues with a little help from us.
Lacewing attractant can be used to help them find shelter for over the winter, whether this be in a dry shed or an especially made box.
Help Garden Bugs Get Established
Fast tracking seems to be an integral part of modern life,
so it should come as no surprise to find out that establishing Ladybirds and Lacewings into our garden as an efficient form of pest control can be fast tracked by purchasing them at the Egg, Larvae or Adult stage. Simple but effective.
As beneficial as Ladybirds and Lacewings are, they are still part of the garden bugs food chain which means they and their offspring from egg to larvae to adult are potential food for Birds, Dragonflies and anything else further up the food chain.
So the more diverse the wildlife in our gardens the more likely the continued preservation of any particular local species that
is close to our hearts.
What Is Healthy Hedgehog Food?
If asked which wild mammal people would like to find in their garden? How many I wonder would say the garden Hedgehog?
The Hedgehog well illustrates how diversity of wildlife
in the garden helps to fulfil it's dietary needs.
What might be a surprise to most of us is that Slugs and Snails come very low on the list of healthy and nutritious hedgehog food. Slugs and Snails also carry Lungworms which are parasitic and the root cause of a lot of Hedgehog deaths.
So it would be better if they were not on the menu at all and there are various responsible products available to us that do not harm other wildlife as we curb the amount of Slugs and Snails in our garden.
A Healthy Menu Of Hedgehog Food Includes:
Beetles such as the ground beetle and caterpillars, these two making up over half of it's diet, earthworms just over 10%,
then birds eggs, mammals, millipedes, earwigs, bee's, birds
and other creatures.
From this diet well over two thirds of the hedgehogs diet is made up of insects, caterpillars and worms.
The food chain is clearly evident in this list, caterpillars are food for ground beetles, both are food for hedgehogs and birds etc.
By creating a wildlife friendly garden we open up a doorway to a wide variety of wildlife including garden bugs, an integral part of the food chain which helps preserve the different species.