Help Fight Insect Habitat Loss
Insect populations have declined by an estimated 45% worldwide in the last four decades due to habitat loss, agro-chemical pollutants, invasive species, and climate change. Insects are vital: they pollinate our food and other plants, predatory insects help control pest populations, they aid in the decomposition of dead plants, animals, and feces, and are integral parts of food chains and food webs.
What can we, as individuals, do to help insect populations? Let’s tackle one cause of population decline: loss of habitat. Shown above is our wildflower field overlooking the nursery with woods beyond. We purposely allow this area to grow wild as a way to attract insects that are beneficial to our plants and to provide both woodland and grassland habitats. We also use logs as barriers in the nursery and to provide homes to boring insects (as in they make holes, not that they’re not interesting).
You can help insect populations by allowing portions of your yard to grow wild; habitats for insects would increase by more than 4 million acres in the US if every home, school, and park converted 10% of its lawns to wild space. You can also:
-Mow less often, especially in summer when insects are most active.
-Leave fallen sticks in the garden, leave bare earth uncovered in the fall, and don’t rake leaves before winter.
-Curb the use of insecticides and herbicides on your lawn on in your garden.
-Limit exterior lighting that attracts and can kill nocturnal insects.
And of course, grow native plants.
Check out these articles and podcast to learn more about the vanishing insect population.