In addition to pollinators, there are other insects that sustain our ecosystems. Now is the perfect time to embrace the creatures that biologist E.O. Wilson described as “the little things that run the world” into our gardens.
Many gardeners plant flowers in order to draw butterflies and bees. However, insects cannot survive solely on flowers. They need shelter as well as water and, in some instances, certain food items to rear their babies. Create a space for pollinators, as well as the many less popular but nonetheless important insects. It doesn’t matter if you add fresh plants onto your front stoop or create an outdoor fountain for butterflies, or make a meadow in your backyard full of pollinators, making informed decisions about your garden and its maintenance can have a significant impact.
WHY ACT NOW?
Farmers and gardeners have reported decreasing pollinator populations over a period of years, and recent studies suggest that the issue is more serious than was initially believed.
Although local research on the subject is abysmal, researchers found insect biomass decreases up to 75 percent in protected regions from Germany and up to 60-fold decreases of arthropods in Puerto Rico, along with reductions in the birds, frogs, and lizards who eat arthropods. In addition, a review in 2019 cautioned that more than 40 percent of insects are in danger of disappearance.
The disappearing six-legged wonders perform much of the work pollinating plants, which includes large portions of human food crops, and they are a major food source for wildlife of all kinds. In his book Bring Nature Home: How to Support Wildlife using Native Plants, Douglas Tallamy explains that one pair of chickadees needs an astounding 6,000-9,000 caterpillars in order to feed one set of chicks. Insects that are in danger form the basis in our ecosystems of food, and they’re in need of our help.
To address this issue, we need radical changes to our policies on agriculture and the environment. However, gardeners can help in a meaningful way to support an array of native insects like moths, wasps, beetles, flies and real bugs, some of which can be beneficial to gardens and the garden.
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Growing natural plants while letting insects take a bite is possibly the most efficient option to help maintain a healthy number of wildlife and insects.
It’s widely known that monarch caterpillars eat exclusively on milkweed, however the majority of other insect larvae are restricted to certain species of plants. In the United States, hundreds of native species of bees, around a quarter are specialists, which means they are only able to eat pollen from a single plant family or, in some instances, one species. The majority of garden plants aren’t native to the area and therefore unpalatable for native insect species. In fact, these plants’ nature to repel insects have made them a popular choice. This has also led to some to become wild plants in natural environments.