It’s Time to Celebrate Bugs
When they’re stuck in your hair or floating in your drink, insects might not seem that great. When it seems like they may be bugging us, remember that many insects are working hard to perform a number of services that keep our gardens blooming and food on our plates.
When you admire a flower garden, the first thing you notice is the colourful blooms of flowering plants. But if you look closer, you’ll also notice the colourful activity of the insect community. Watching the many crawling, buzzing, swooping and inching insects adds another dimension to garden enjoyment. Butterflies are one insect group that can be easily spotted around flower blooms. If you see a butterfly in the Credit River Watershed, submit it to our 2022 Butterfly Blitz.
Insects offer us more than garden entertainment. Studies estimate that insects provide services worth billions of dollars to farmers and gardeners, like pest control, crop pollination and manure management. Often, the value an insect provides is related to the type of insect it is.
Most beneficial insects fall into one of three categories: pollinators, predators and parasitoids.
Pollinators support plant fertilization by transferring pollen between plants. They’re responsible for pollinating over 30 per cent of the food we grow. They include flies, bees, moths, butterflies, beetles, ants and wasps.
Predators like spiders, mites and millipedes attack and eat other insects, helping to control pest insect populations.
Parasitoids deposit eggs inside or on the body of a host insect. The larvae feed on the host, killing it. Parasitoids, like wasps and flies, are beneficial when pest insects are their host species.
You can attract beneficial insects to your garden or farm by creating safe and healthy habitat. Planting native plants and creating no-spray zones are two quick ways you can get started. Watch for CVC’s new guide on how to attract and harness the benefits of insects to support your farm coming later this summer.
Find more gardening resources at cvc.ca/naturescaping.
Learn more about agricultural best management practices at cvc.ca/ruralwater.
By CVC’s Calantha Elsby, Specialist, Environmental Outreach and Holly Shipclark, Coordinator, Agriculture Outreach