Beneficial insects and bugs

We share our gardens with many creatures. Knowing which are the helpful ones, ensures gardeners give them a home.

A ladybird larva
A ladybird larva

Quick facts

  • Log piles and areas of long grass in your garden will help attract wildlife
  • Gardens provide food and a home for thousands of creatures throughout their lifecycles
  • Both native and non-native plants help support wildlife 

Garden biodiversity benefits

Your garden is a place of many interlinked relationships. Some creatures help keep down damaging pests by eating them or even laying eggs inside them. Pollinating insects help boost your harvest. Others organisms perform the vital task of breaking down decaying material. 

Beneficial insects and bugs


What: Ladybird larva. Grey/black some with orange or white markings. Some spiny. Around 10mm in length

Benefit: Predator of aphids and some other insects like scale insects

Likes: Adults need sheltered sites for overwintering

For more information, see our page on ladybirds


Violet ground beetle 

What: Violet ground beetle. Ground beetles range in size, up to 25mm. Often black, sometimes metallic

Benefit: Predators of ground and soil dwelling insects including vine weevil larvae

Likes: Log piles, leaf litter and compost heaps

For more information, see our page on ground beetles and rove beetles.

Marmalade hoverfly

What: Marmalade Hoverfly. Around 50mm, striped. Hoverflies dart in flight, hovering on the spot. Larvae are semi transparent maggots

Benefit: Adults act as pollinators. Many hoverfly larvae eat aphids

Likes: Flowers with open​ centres, pollen and nectar

For more information, see our page on aphid predators

Parasitiod wasp

What: Parasitiod wasp. Lay eggs inside other insects, several species inside aphids

Benefit: Larvae eat their hosts from the inside leaving them as papery husks

Likes: Adults eat flower nectar and pollen as well as aphids’ fluids

For more information, see our page on aphid predators

Common wasp

What: Common wasp. Black and yellow, striped, winged insects

Benefit: Hunts caterpillars and other insects in summer to feed grubs

Likes: Colonies live in papery nests in the ground or hanging from trees. These die out each year

For more information, see our page on wasps


What: Springtail. Less than 6mm long. Various colours. Many are able to jump

Benefit: Helps in the process of breaking down organic matter

Likes: Often found in damp places such as leaf litter, compost heaps and decaying material

Green lacewing adults

What: Green lacewing adults. Pale green bodies. Transparent, veined wings. Larvae to 8mm tapered, bristled body

Benefit: Larvae eat other insects especially aphids

Likes: Crevices, leaf litter and evergreen shrubs for hibernating. Aphids for laying eggs nearby

For more information, see our page on aphid predators


What: Bumblebee. A hairy, striped and rotund social bee with four wings

Benefit: Pollinates flowers

Likes: Some like nesting holes in the ground or tree bases. Nectar-and pollen-rich flowers from March to October

For more information, see our page on bees


​What: Centipedes. Slender 2-6cm yellow or brown, long bodies. One pair of legs per segment

Benefit: Hunts soil prey on or below soil surface

Likes: Soil prey. Dark damp areas such as log piles and leaf litter with lots of prey

For more information, see our page on centipedes


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