More often than not, the immediate reaction to spotting any insect is exterminating them right away. But guess what? Not all insects are bad, especially in terms of the benefits they can bring to your garden.
How do you ask? Well, it has been proven that beetles, for example, can really boost the life quality of some of your garden plants. Our focus here is ground beetles and how beneficial they can be to your plants.
A Little Background:
Ground beetles are of the Carabid family. In North American alone, there is 2500 different species of ground beetles. There is a total of around 40000 species worldwide. The ones you’ll find in your backyard are mostly nocturnal types.
These black hard-shelled creatures can be spotted hiding under mulch and soil, and come in different sizes. It can vary from the size of your pinky nail to the size of your thumb. Their dark shell is more often than not black, sometimes in dark brown with an occasional holographic sheen.
What Do They Eat, and Their Habitat?
When it comes to their ideal habitat, ground beetles prefer to hide from the sun during daytime. Having shelter is highly important! Thant’s why you find them hiding under plants or objects like rocks and mulch. Since they’re nocturnal creatures, they become active during the night or cloudy weather. That’s why they go unnoticed. Most beetles feed of plants and seeds and other small insects.
Why Are They Beneficial for Your Plants?
The moment you see a ground beetle, the standard reaction is going all out on it and killing it. But no, you’ll definitely want plenty of them hanging around. These little creatures are great allies to keep in your garden.
Well, to put it simply, ground beetles can become a night guard for your plants. Once the sun goes away, they come out of their hiding and hunt any intruders they find.
It can be smaller beetles, soft-bodied slugs, caterpillars, ants, maggots, aphids, wireworms and basically in small pest they can find in their way.
They will also get rid of weeds by eating the seeds they find like foxtail, ragweed, lambsquarter, and thistle. They can also break down organic matter thanks to their shallow burrowing.
How to Attract Them?
Composting areas are good to start to provide ground beetles with a convenient habitat. Try to provide a year-round one by planting vegetables like rhubarb and asparagus.
If you don’t want to bother with planting, or you just don’t simply don’t have them, mulch will be helpful.
Make sure your garden is well covered all year long because these insects need decaying plants to lay their eggs and not only for shelter.
Ps: There are other types of beetles that can be also beneficial for plants, such as Lady Beetles, and Soldier Beetles.