Insects are often referred to as pests by marketers looking to convince you to use their products to eradicate creepy crawlers and bugs they say will ruin your gardens and lawns. But in reality, we all should be doing more to protect insects because they play a vital role in pollinating our world and sustaining wildlife.
The fact is that 80 percent of all plants and 90 percent of all flowering plants are pollinated by insects.
“If we lost our pollinators, we’d lose 80 to 90 percent of the plants on the planet. Forget the crops. Losing 80 to 90 percent of the plants on the planet is not an option,” said Doug Tallamy, author and professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware. “…And insects are crucial to biodiversity and healthy ecosystems. Terrestrial food webs and freshwater aquatic food webs are all based on insect protein.” Learn more.
With all the advertising aimed at eradicating outdoor insects that hit the air waves and mail boxes this time of year, it’s tempting to fall for the messages in the frenzied marketing that try to scare you into thinking that just venturing outside to your garden or yard with your family and pets could be life-threatening.
Yes, ticks are out there, but there are ways to protect yourselves and your pets from disease carried by them while also safeguarding the environment than turning to pesticides pushed heavily by the chemical industry.
Lyme disease is caused by the bacteria Borrelia Burgdorferi. It is spread by a number of different ticks, but the deer tick is the most common carrier. Ticks pick the disease up from the blood of mice and then can pass on the bacteria to humans or pets. Read more.
West Nile, Zika, Triple E. As the weather warms, we’ll all be hearing more about how to protect ourselves from insect-borne diseases but before you jump to spray your yards with chemical solutions and support municipal spraying programs you should be aware of the effects these methods have on important pollinators such as honey bees and wild bees.
Spraying grounds and aerial areas have questionable efficacy and can also harm non-target insects such as pollinators who are already facing challenges.
More than 44 percent of honey bee hives have been lost in recent years and insecticides, like neonicotinoids, which are widely used in agriculture, as well as pyrethroid and organophosphates used in public health mosquito control programs have been identified as being toxic to bees. Read more.