The Importance of Insects and Ways to Help their Declining Numbers

The Importance of Insects and Ways to Help their Declining Numbers

Insects play a very important role in our ecosystem. They perform crucial functions such as maintain soil fertility and structure, disperse seeds and cycle nutrients and most importantly they;

  1. Pollinate plants – Insects pollinate majority of our fruits, flowers, and vegetables. About one-third of our produce that we eat and thrive on is supported through pollination.
  2. They play a huge role in organic decomposition – they help breakdown food waste and accelerate the decomposition process. They help return nutrients from dead plants and other organic waste to the soil.
  3. Bring Balance – Insects help nature to help keep pest populations at a tolerable level. Predators and parasites exist for a reason, for one, they help with the balance of nature.

Unfortunately, in the last few decades, there is a massive global decline in pollinators such as honey bees, butterflies and other insects. This significant drop is alarming and depressing because it brings far-reaching consequences for us humans and our environment. This would mean a dramatic collapse in our food growing capacity and all other animals would disappear too. Why? With over a million different kinds of insects, they are the cornerstone of all terrestrial ecosystems. Most amphibians and reptiles and about half of all the bird species eat insects and even though some animals don’t eat insects, they rely on foliage which is only possible with the help of insects. And without healthy ecosystems, there is no clean air and water. 

How can we help?

  1. Never spray chemicals in your garden or home
  2. Plant native plants & flowers
  3. Build a pond or have a bird bath with rocks for bees to land & take a drink
  4. Create diversity of species in your garden allowing the ecosystem to flourish and take care of itself
  5. Build a bee hotel!

Let’s build a bee hotel – first materials, you will need to make a wooden box. Recycled or reclaimed materials are preferred. Pine cones, sticks, old bark, small pieces of dead wood, leaves and dried grass. Use natural materials that insects are familiar with.

Once you have a box, make sure that the back wall blocked and start filling it with the materials you have collected. Make different segments and compartments, different in shape and size. Each compartment can be stuffed with natural materials that you’ve gathered. Next, drill a few holes in the wood pieces or use bamboo canes – they naturally have holes in them or dried sticks bundled loosely so that insects can travel inside them. This is great for when insects lay eggs or to hibernate in. Secure elements with the nails and string or wire to make sure it stays in place. You can be creative with the design, however you want it. Display or hang it your garden and wait for your visitors. =)

We also build native gardens and verge gardens if you would like some assistance in building a sustainable eco-friendly garden!

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