Most of us think of pests and animals as nasty garden creatures. They don’t look good and also make it difficult to workaround. So it is obvious to treat be as intruders in our garden, Isn’t it? No certainly not. What we think is not actually bad. It can sometimes really help us in keeping our garden healthy. If you are interested then keep reading beneficial garden animals and pests that actually help the garden.
What are beneficial Garden animals?
Any Animal that has a positive impact on the ecosystem of your garden is beneficial Animals. These animals can be as small as a ladybug or earthworm or big as an owl, crow, or snake.
They usually support the ecosystem of the garden by simply following their own lifestyle. And yes they don’t charge you for anything.
Just, for example, Earthworms dig deep tunnels in the soil allowing water and air to circulate. They feed on decaying organic matter and return nutrition to the soil in form of worm cast or vermicast.
Similarly, A Crow, parrot, pigeon, sparrow, or any other bird helps in keeping the garden clean. Some of them control the population of other insects and animals. While others help in the dispersal of seeds. they eat the fruits and spread seeds with their droppings.
Interestingly most of us don’t even notice their working. We think of them as disturbing agents. Nature has so much to show and share. It’s us who need to be keen, watchful, and a little observant to understand these changes.
Why do we consider pests and Animals harmful to gardens?
It is a general misconception that most garden Animals are harmful. Some of their deeds may confirm this idea but not all of them are bad.
In fact, each and every garden animal has some positive impact on the garden ecosystem.
If you see a squirrel chopping off flower heads and tinder veggies then it is a heartbreaking fact. This is harmful, isn’t it? If you think of this the other way then it may look different. Think of a tree that bears seeds and these squirrels carry the seeds to their underground home. You may think they will eat all of these but this is not true. Squirrels and chipmunks have very short-term memory. They usually forget the location of hiding after a couple of weeks. Then nature plays the role, the seed will germinate and grows into a new tree. This way they help the trees to root.
Another example is the frogs or toads. They are noisy and no one can deny that. But they help the garden by controlling the overgrowing population of mosquitoes, bees, and many other harmful bugs and insects.
Are all animals and pests harmful?
No certainly not. All animals and pests are not harmful to the garden. In fact, none of them are harmful especially if their population is under control in any specific area.
The problem occurs only when their number exceeds the limit. An increase in population will directly impact the food and shelter requirements. In return, it will eventually disturb the garden ecosystem, and this can be harmful.
Think of a situation where you have a couple of sparrows visiting your garden every day. They feed on tiny seeds and insects. Suddenly one day they ask their friends to join and 100s of sparrows invade your garden. Is it healthy or will they leave your plants alone? no certainly not, they will feed on whatever they found and can eat. This is a disturbing fact and can definitely harm the garden.
Therefore, an overgrown population of any bug, insect, pest, or animal can be harmful to your garden.
How Some Pests Actually Helps our Garden?
- Enriching the soil texture
- ProvideFertilization to the soil
- Improve the soil health and balance Ph level
- Helps in pollination
- Disperse seeds
- Assist in pests control
- Creates ecological balance
Beneficial garden animals can help your garden by enriching the soil texture, adding natural fertilizer like manure and compost, and finally balancing the ph with the micro-ecosystem of the soil. The earthworm is one such creature that can really improve the quality o the garden soil.
Other animals like birds butterflies and honeybees can help in the pollination of flowers and result in higher fruit production. squirrels and some birds can carry seeds from one place to another and help the plant with the dispersal of seeds.
Overall these beneficial animals create an ecological balance that is impossible to maintain by us humans. One creature feeds on another and this cycle continues. together they maintain a well-balanced healthy garden ecosystem.
8 Animals That Benefit Your Garden
Snakes are among very few animals that we really fear. They look creepy and yes some of them are poisonous. Still, Most garter snakes that we see in our backyard are non-venomous. They feed on small rodents, birds, other reptiles, and insects.
In this way, they actually help in maintaining balance in the garden ecosystem. Few of these reptiles can be helpful for your garden and vegetables.
You can attract snakes in your garden with proper hiding spots. You can put some logs or wood chips where they can hide and stay warm at night. Obviously, this hideout should be located on the corner side away from the general garden area.
Frogs and Toads
Frogs, Toads, and salamanders are beneficial to the garden. They control the population of harmful bugs, pests, and insects.
In this way, they keep the garden clean and healthy. Frogs and toads are an important part of the food cycle of the garden animal kingdom. They eat insects and in return be eaten by birds and snakes. Hence they maintain a perfect balance in the garden.
Frogs and Toads are amphibians, so they need water for survival. Therefore add a small pond or water pool to attract these beneficial amphibians in your garden. Don’t forget to add some shade for hideouts where they can rest throughout the days preparing for their night shift.
Butterflies and Bees
Butterflies and bees are small beautiful creatures that can make garden heaven. I don’t think anyone dislikes them. Still, you may think of caterpillars or larvae that eat our plant leaves. Yes, they are harmful and they are definitely related to these beautiful insects.
Still, butterflies and honeybees are an essential part of our garden. They fulfill an important job of pollination. This helps the plants to form fruits, seeds and then reproduce. Both butterflies and bees are natural pollinators and determine the yield of our crops.
Simply add more fragrant and colorful flowers to your garden in order to attract butterflies and bees.
Read This for more details: Beautiful Plants That Attract Butterflies and Bees
Earthworms and Centipedes
We all know earthworm is the friend of the farmer. These small boneless creatures make tunnels in the soil. These tunnels loosen the soil and allow air and water to reach their depth. Earthworms eat organic matter and excrete digested castings which acts as compost for the soil. In fact, vermicast or worm compost is the best organic fertilizer for the soil. It can provide dozens of essential and micronutrients to the soil.
centipedes are another beneficial insect that feeds on tiny bugs. They dig holes in the soil and control the population of harmful bugs and larvae in the soil.
You can add more organic matter to the soil to attract earthworms and Centipedes. They require a moist, warm, and well-aerated place to survive.
Lizards are reptiles just like snakes. They are an essential part of every garden. You have seen house lizards, skinks, geckos, chameleons, or maybe iguanas All of them are lizards of different kinds. They feed on insects and sometimes fruits. They naturally keep pests’ growth in control and also help in the dispersal of seeds in some cases.
lizards themselves are food for bigger carnivores like snakes and birds. In this way, they complete the food cycle and maintain a healthy ecosystem in the garden.
If you really want to introduce lizards in your garden then prepare with bigger bushier trees and plants. They need places to hide during hot days and very cold nights. They usually like light sources as it attracts bugs and lizards feed on bugs. Therefore outdoor lights on the porch can be a good place for the hideout of the garden lizards.
Ladybugs are tiny beautiful striped bugs. They are beetles but not like others who harm the plants. In fact, ladybugs are natural predators who feed on aphids and whiteflies. Thus keeping the pest population control in the garden.
They have 100s of color and pattern variations and their size can vary from 1/2 to 1 cm.
Professional gardeners usually introduce ladybugs in their garden as a natural pest control measure. You can buy these ladybugs online on amazon.
Ants can be harmful as well as useful depending on the situation. In a controlled state, they can help in pest control while in excess they can simply damage the plants. Too many ants can dig and cut roots, make holes in fruits, and bore into tender stems.
Therefore if you find a few ants then make sure they are just some visitors not the residents with 1000s of other family members.
A couple of ants feeding on bugs and insects can keep you at ease with a pest-free garden. But too many of them at once can become a nightmare.
So to keep them in control check out my previous post: How to get rid of Red Ants in Garden?
Birds and Bats
Most of the birds as well as bats are natural predators. They are at the top of the food cycle in the garden ecosystem. Both birds and bats feed on small prey like insects, frogs, rodents, earthworms, and other creatures keeping their population in control.
You can introduce a birdbath and birdhouse to attract all kinds of birds. Also provide some hiding spots for bats. Together they can keep your garden clean and healthy.
Some other beneficial garden animals that are not very common
- Squirrels & Chipmunks
What do you think about these beneficial garden animals and pests? Write down your thoughts or any queries in the comment box.
I’ll be back with another garden fact till then Keep reading keep gardening!