Bug vs Bug

I have flies. Little ones. Tiny ones. Ones that are in between. No see-ems. Some mosquitoes. They are trouble, especially in the evening. They make gardening and lawn care much less enjoyable. I want to get rid of or significantly reduce these pests. I have no real source of standing water though so I don't know where they are coming from. One idea I had is to enlist and army of ""beneficial bugs"" Lady bugs and Mantids. Release them and hope my minions take care of the pests. Thoughts?
Submitted by BHGPhotoContest


Thanks for writing. Beneficial insects do attack and kill pesty insects. But if you have a lot of flowers in your yard, be aware that some of the tiny flies you're seeing may be beneficials. There are some very small species of wasp, for example, that only attack pest insects.

One good way to attract beneficial insects is to plant lots of flowers such as daisy, sunflower, yarrow, and other similar old-fashioned plants. These are good at attracting beneficials, which eat the plants' pollen, as well as bad bugs.

One thing to keep in mind about releasing beneficial insects is that they will disperse from where you release them in search of food. They all probably won't stay in your yard. But then chances are that not all of the annoying insects you're seeing are coming from your yard, either...

All of that said, it's probably going to be more effective in the long run to use an insect repellent on yourself. There are several natural products on the market now, as well as traditional chemical sprays. You might give them a try and see if they help make your gardening experience more enjoyable.

---Justin, Senior Garden Editor, BHG.com

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