Naturally control pests by creating a functioning ecosystem in your own yard
How? The answer is simple - organic management strategies and native plants. When planning your garden, choose varieties of trees, shrubs, flowers and grasses that are native to your region. These will help support adult pollinators and other beneficial insects with nectar and habitat, and provide food for their larval stages. Insects need these host plants to be able to breed and increase their numbers. A good example of a host plant’s importance to a species lifecycle would be the relationship between Monarch butterflies and milkweed. The caterpillars the plants host are food for baby birds. Research shows that native plants are vital to nesting birds who must feed their young thousands of caterpillars.
Native plants also require less water and be more resistant to pests and disease than exotic imported ornamental plants. Their deep roots help sequester carbon from the atmosphere.
Be sure to provide a variety of flowers and bloom times. The greater the diversity of native plants, the more biodiversity they can support. Avoid cultivars of natives and opt for the “straight” or wild species. For example, when you want to purchase a plant, look for the latin name. The straight species will have two latin names, while cultivars will have a name after it sometimes in quotes. I.e. Latinus namus, or Latinus namus, “Fancy Plants Cultivar.”
Be sure plants you purchase have not been treated with any systemic pesticides like neonicotinoids or fungicides.
Invasive plants threaten biodiversity - invasives spread quickly, displacing native plants and creating monocultures. Learn which plants are invasive in your area, regularly monitor your property, remove and replace with natives.
Individuals are empowered to be able to help reverse the dramatic losses we are seeing in our insect bird and wildlife populations just by choosing native plants and using organic practices in our yards. Every bit of habitat counts, no matter how small!