Most people like butterflies, lady bugs, sometimes bees, and dragonflies are cool. But spiders, centipedes, wasps, flies, etc.? Nope, nope, nope!
But if you want to work with nature to grow your own food and build a natural life then it's time to start loving ALL the bugs.
Bugs (used here as a general term covering most macro-invertebrates) are the foundation of the food chain and a healthy bug population is necessary to prevent pest issues in your garden.
When you try to eliminate bugs or not support them you end up with an out of balanced system where pests become a major issue.
So what should you do to support bugs? Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Plant native plants including flowers
- Add habitat features such as woody debris and rock piles
- Stop using chemicals to control pests
Many plant eating bugs are specialists that can only eat native plants. Around 30% of all bugs fit in this category. When you skip the native plants you skip supporting this entire group of life. This will have a ripple affect through the food chain resulting in less bug eating wildlife such as birds.
Bugs need habitat and shelter. Rock piles and woody debris provide shelter for many types of bugs.
Chemicals just throw the whole system out of balance. You kill the pests but also their predators. The result is that you become locked into a cycle of having to use the chemicals every year so the pests don't get out of hand. By stopping the use of these chemicals you may have a bad year but overtime your wild homestead will return to being in balance.
Working with nature takes time. When you implement these methods you create the conditions to work with nature but the predatory animals take time to show up.
Predator populations always lag pest populations.
Also, a balanced system will always have some pests. Your produce will have some bug damage. That is not a bad thing and it won't hurt you to eat those plants.
But when you work with nature you won't be dependent on health damaging chemicals and you will be saving yourself time and money while still getting great harvests.
The sooner you start the sooner your system will get in balance.
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