Life is getting difficult for our insects. A recent study published in the journal Biological Conservation found that more than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered. It’s a rate of extinction eight times faster than for mammals, birds and reptiles. With a decrease of 2.5% in overall insect mass every year some projections suggest they could completely disappear by the end of the century.
This rapid decline will have dramatic consequences for the entire eco-system. Food chains could collapse and human beings won’t be immune to the consequences. It’s in our own interests to do our bit to help them all we can.
There is hope however. Collectively our gardens could become a vast nature reserve in which insects are allowed to thrive.
Here’s a few things we can all do to help reverse the decline…
1. DITCH THE SPRAY
Our reliance on pesticides has increased over the past few decades. These are indiscriminate and often kill far more insects than their intended target. Being more tolerant of insects that we currently view as pests can help countless others in the process. By eliminating the use of pesticides in your home and garden you give the insects who live alongside you a fighting chance. If you do need to do something to help protect your plants try to use natural remedies instead like chilli powder or garlic.
2. SAY NO TO PEAT BASED COMPOST
Peatlands have been decimated by the horticulture industry’s use of peat as a growing medium in compost. These unique habitats take thousands of years to develop and are home to an incredible range of insects and birdlife. By opting for alternatives to peat in your garden you are helping to protect the remaining peatlands and to slow down the impact of climate change. Read more about our thoughts on peat here!
3. LET YOUR GARDEN GROW WILD
Alongside pesticide use, habitat loss is one of the biggest contributors to the decline in insect numbers. Being less worried about having a tidy garden can be incredibly beneficial to all kinds of wildlife, insects included. Keep the lawnmower in the shed and put your feet up instead. Allow fallen leaves to rot down, create log and stick piles or even make your own bug hotel ! Here’s how 🙂
4. BUY YOUR GARDEN PLANTS FROM LOCAL NURSERIES
The global horticultural trade is worth billions. Every year plants from across the world are transported across continents often bringing with them invasive species such as flatworms which prey on land snails and earth worms. If you buy your plants from local nurseries you are less likely to inadvertently introduce invasive species into your garden.
5. SCATTER SEED BALLS (OF COURSE!)
A wildflower patch in your lawn is an invaluable asset for insects. Native wildflowers have evolved alongside our native insects making them perfectly suited to one another. A colourful wildflower patch is not only attractive to look at and low maintenance, it’s also a lifeline for insects. Taken together, a wildflower patch in every garden would radically increase the amount of insect supporting habitat across the country. And seedballs make growing your own wildflower patch incredibly easy ! Do check out our range, including our very own Beetle Mix!