Inviting Friendly Crawlies
By Shanuka Kadupitiyage
It’s hard to escape from the creepy crawlies. Without getting the help of an exterminator and plenty of harmful chemicals, keeping them from invading your home is nigh impossible.
Although you may not like them in your home, it’s important to know that these insects are an essential part of balancing the world’s ecosystems. So think twice before spraying pesticide or slamming a slipper on a bug that you know isn’t a pest.
You’ll notice the importance of insects out in your garden the most. Consider your garden a mini-ecosystem that you have the power to turn into a world teeming with life, or a sterile patch of ground.
One of the best ways to breathe life into your garden is to invite beneficial insects into your garden. Pollinators such as bees and butterflies as well as natural pest controllers such as ladybugs and dragonflies not only balance out the ecosystem but also help to make your trees, shrubs, and plants bear more fruit for you. You’ll also see a decline in pests such as mosquitoes and flies. Needless to say, inviting them into your garden has its benefits.
If you’re in the city and want to provide a safe place for beneficial insects to find refuge within the concrete jungle, you can still contribute by having a small planted space on your windows or balcony. While it may seem small for you, it could mean the world for a wandering butterfly or bee.
Doing so will also help protect more than a few species that are under threat of dying out. Insecticides and lack of foliage in rural and urban areas, dealing heavy blows to insect and animal population. If you’ve wanted to make a difference and help save the planet, here are some great ideas to help invite friendly crawlies into your garden, balcony, or windowsill.
No chemical romance
If you’re the type that’s into using lots of chemicals (either for pest control or as fertiliser), then it’s time to break a habit. Chemicals are a surefire way to deter both beneficial and harmful insects from staying in your garden or planted area. Use any chemical on your green-space sparingly.
A safe space
You might have heard of how considerate farmers leave a patch of their paddy fields unharvested just for the birds and other animals to enjoy. Well, why not have a patch of your garden specially set aside for animal and plant life to grow and ‘breathe’.
Our modern gardens carpeted with neatly trimmed lawn grass don’t make great environments for beneficial insects. However, we all love to have a clean, neat, and organised garden.
While some people might embrace the idea of a fully natural ‘meadow’ that allows all sorts of weeds and plants to grow naturally, you might prefer to leave a small patch of your garden unattended instead. Doing so will allow you to enjoy a nicely trimmed lawn while leaving behind a patch of untrimmed weeds and shrubs; a perfect haven for insect life.
Choice of flora
The plants you choose to grow will have a direct influence in inviting more beneficial insects. Make sure to give preference to local varieties of flowers to promote a natural environment. Also, make sure to grow plants that bloom brightly coloured flowers (in colours of violet, blue, white and yellow) that are rich in pollen and nectar.
Don’t forget to grow fruit trees if you have the space to do so. These trees usually depend on pollinators and have evolved to attract them, a big bonus.
If all you have is a window to work with, you can still provide a small habitat for urban wildlife to take refuge in. Grow plants that although small in height, make up for it with plenty of flowers. Make sure each plant has a different colour for some variety.
You could even be specific and plan your patch of green to be a butterfly habitat. It won’t take a lot of space, but you will still be creating a safe place for butterflies. Safe enough that they won’t hesitate to leave their offspring in your care.
While it may be easy to say that you don’t have space, all it takes is a little creativity, some help from the internet and some planning to enjoy a green pocket while living in a concrete jungle.
You did your homework and you put in the effort. Now, you have to be patient and let nature run its course. If there is any maintenance needed, be consistent. However, most of all, be patient. It takes time for nature to take effect.
You might experience the odd leaf or crop being eaten by insects. Don’t overreact. That’s just how it’s supposed to be. It’s a small price to pay for the benefits that come as a result of having a balanced ecosystem in your backyard.
Take time to enjoy
Once your green pocket or garden has established a balanced ecosystem, you will notice the difference. More varieties of butterflies and other insects will appear. Birds will follow suit. Before long, your garden will be teeming with life and it’s all thanks to you, who gave them time and space (and the odd fruit) to let nature into your home. Who wouldn’t want to enjoy that?