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Insect Biodiversity in The Garden
Insects, whether pests or pest predators are essential for garden stability. Pesticides upset the delicate balance that exists within gardens. It is possible to radically reduce the number of insect pests in your garden without having to resort to hosing your garden with a potion of harsh chemicals and toxins. Poisoning the lower end of the food chain will not only keep the slugs and beneficial insects away but will also deter other natural predators like birds from visiting your garden.
Insect biodiversity is also enhanced in gardens that have a varied planting scheme within the garden; these varied habitats provide safe areas for pest predators to over winter within the garden. If you are not able to have a varied planting scheme, you can also use insect hotels to provide this protected environment. Planting indigenous plants will also increase the insect population within the garden.List of indigenous plants that will encourage insects to the garden.
Some of the more common pests found in the garden and their natural enemies as well as a more organic insect deterrent, as follows:
|Pest||Natural predator||Alternative pest deterrent method|
|Aromatic herbs like citronella, mint and lemongrass are natural deterrent to aphids|
|Brown garden snail||Predatory ground beetle||Crushed eggshells put around base of plants|
|Make homemade sprays , using common ingredients like garlic, essential oils etc., use internet to find relevant recipes|
|Whitefly||Encasia Formosa( natural predatory insect)||Use yellow sticky traps or using a handheld vacuum to remove nymphs and larvae|
Insects do compete with us for food, especially in the agricultural sector and large numbers of them are carriers of diseases and pathogens, but we must remember they are also pollinators, and scavengers and help to regulate ecosystems. Conservation and understanding of this group is critical for ecosystems to function.