Why help insects?
Insect populations are declining, and an estimated 40% of insect species are vulnerable to extinction. The most common threats to insects are habitat loss, pollution, disease, the use of pesticides, nonnative species, and climate change.
Insects are the base of many food webs, act as pollinators, and assist in nutrient recycling. Read to learn how to make your house more insect friendly to help them and the environment.
Lawn and garden care
The use of herbicides and insecticides on your lawn can also hurt non-target species like pollinators and other beneficial insects. Consider using an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach to managing pests in your lawn and garden. The principles of IPM are:
- Monitoring pest species populations and only using control measures when needed
- Using non-chemical control measures such as crop rotation and trap cropping
- Use a biological control agent to limit pest populations
- If chemicals are necessary, use a safe application method and choose chemicals that have reduced effects on non-target species Mow your lawn less. Insects prefer unmanicured lawns and thrive in longer grasses that provide crucial habitat and food reservoirs for them.
Plant more native and pollen-producing plants. Planting a variety of native plants in your yard greatly benefits the insects that live there and adding more plants that produce pollen will attract more pollinators like butterflies to your garden!
Start composting. Composting is already a great way to recycle organic matter, and using compost in your garden instead of synthetic fertilizer will help insects by decreasing the likelihood of chemicals and pests getting into your garden.
Turn off the lights
Artificial lights attract nocturnal insects and cause them to exhaust themselves to death or be eaten by predators because they are easily seen. Additionally, light pollution can interrupt insect courtship, foraging, and navigation.
Turn off your outdoor lights at night to avoid confusing insects and interrupting their normal biological processes.
Reduce water pollution
When using cleaning products, opt for biodegradable and insect/environmentally safe soaps. There are chemical pollutants in some soaps (such as car washing soaps) that can harm insects.
When disposing of cleaning products, do not pour them down the drain. Instead put them in the trash to avoid polluting the water with chemicals.
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Information from the Florida Museum, Penn State Huck Institutes of Life Sciences, CNN, and the Center for Biological Diversity.