Incredible Insects: Tiny, But Mighty

Ladybug sitting on plant and eating

Do you count yourself among the many that fear bugs? A fear of insects is one of the most common phobias. Knowing that Canada is home to an estimated 55,000 insect species might give you a little creepy crawly feeling.

When we think of insects, many of us think of the bad: biting, stinging, garden-eating pests, but nuisance insects are only a small portion of a much larger group. Many insects are, in fact, beneficial to have buzzing around our properties and our communities.

  • Pollinators, like bees and butterflies, are good for our gardens and increase flower and crop yields.
  • Predators and parasitoids, like damselflies and wasps, prey on pest insects and help to control their populations.
  • Decomposers, like beetles, cycle nutrients from decaying matter and improve soil quality.
  • Many insects also provide a food source for animals like birds and bats. A property with an abundance of insects is a sign of a healthy, balanced environment.

Our insect populations are decreasing as they face the challenges of a changing landscape. Habitat loss, pollution, pesticide use and climate change are leading factors to dwindling populations. Support bennies (beneficial insects) on your property by providing them with food, habitat and protection.

Food starts with flowers. Plant native and plant diverse, so nectar and pollen eating insects have high-quality food sources throughout the seasons.

Habitat can be provided by adopting wildlife friendly yard maintenance practices. For example, leave leaf litter and piles of woody debris insects can use as nesting sites. Farmers can consider planting patches of native plants around field borders.

Protection means creating a space where insects are safe from chemicals. Limit and reduce pesticides around the garden and on the farm wherever possible.

Learn how to attract bennies to your farm.

Reach out to a stewardship coordinator to find out about planting projects.

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