By: Laura Mills
Life is full of relationships with family, friends, co-workers and institutions. However many relationships strongly benefit one party or another, it is rare to find the true balance of a mutually beneficial relationship. Leave it to nature to create such equilibrium with Beneficial Insects.
Beneficial Insects are one of those truly mutual relationships: the critters get a place to live with a bounty of otherwise detrimental insects or litter to feast upon, while you reap the benefits of naturally improved soil, pest reduction and increase harvest depending on which critters you incorporate.
Earthworms breakdown and incorporate organic material in to even heavy clay soils, lightening and enriching them as they move through the soil. Earthworms can also be raised in homemade or store bought worm bins to concentrate their effort and reap more direct benefits like earthworm castings, compost tea and rich black compost. Whether they’re in the soil or in a bin they get lots to eat, a comfortable place to live and you get enriched the soil that’s teaming with beneficial microbes.
Lady Bugs devour pesky and destructive insects like aphids, mites and scale. Plus they are adorable additions that adults and children alike delight in seeing. The Lady Bugs receive a place to live with lots of tasty aphids and you get a natural way to control common pests.
Mason Bees are a relatively solitary, non-aggressive bee that appears early in the year to pollinate earlier flowering crops like most fruits including apples, pears, blueberries and cherries. Mason Bees get a place to live filled with nectar and you reap a bounty of fruit.
Nematodes are microscopic worms that attack destructive pests like European Cranefly, Root Weevil and even Flea larvae in the lawn. They get a place to live stocked with tasty creatures and you get a natural way to control troublesome bugs.
Praying Mantis are fascinating insects that are relatively large. They eat a host of insects including aphids and are sold as egg cases. Young naturalists can watch these unusual and interesting insects emerge. The Praying Mantis gets a place to live and lots of food and you get an intriguing helper that not only eats pests but teaches children about nature.
Mutually beneficial also entails that insecticide use is eliminated or kept to a minimum to encourage these garden helpers to stick around and create new generations. To ensure they home to your plot and minimize the potential for predation, release these critters at dusk; it encourages them to bed down at your location.
All of our stores have a fresh stock of Beneficial Insects in now. If you’re looking for a mutually beneficial relationship for your garden stop by any of our Portland garden centers or our location on the coast.