Save the Insects; Save the Planet
You may have heard of an “insect apocalypse”. News stories sometimes refer to it as “insectageddon”. While it may be a relief for us to go outside and not have to deal with clouds of insects spoiling our picnics, the truth is that having fewer bugs is simply NOT good for the planet.
Oliver Milman, an environmental journalist, writes about this overlooked but looming problem in his book, Insect Crisis. He references the work of Danish ecologist Anders Pape Moller, which involved repeatedly driving down two roads and systematically counting the resulting insect spats on the windshield. Although Moller’s efforts were met with criticism and outright mocking, the results of his study were grim. Twenty years after beginning his observations (1996 – 2016), the insect splats had declined by 80% on one road, and an alarming 97% on the other.
Humans have the ability to do great harm to Insects, often without considering the unintended severe consequences to the ecosystem. Declining insect populations pose a giant threat to our very existence. They can lead to a collapse in food webs, mass failures of crops, and extinction of birds who rely on them for food.
Why Chemicals Are a Threat
Milman places great emphasis on the unintended effects of agriculture devolving into monocultures – for example, land previously covered with diverse crops has been converted to fields of corn stretching for miles and miles. The increase in use of pesticides, as well as chemicals used to eradicate weeds and fungus, has had a dramatic impact on insect populations.
As the world awakens to the harmful effects of pesticides and the benefits of insects (for example, honey bees account for one of every three bites of our food!), our attention is being drawn to the importance of restoring and stabilizing our world’s bugs.
How You Can Help Save the Insects
But how best to do this? In a New York Times book review of Milman’s work in March 2022, Thor Hanson summed it up perfectly:
“If you squint a little,” Milman writes, “addressing the insect crisis can be viewed as surprisingly straightforward.” Doing things to help insects may not be necessary if we stop doing things that harm them.
OCI is committed to this very mission. If we add life to our gardens, rather than chemicals, we can actually help Mother Nature recover from decades of harm caused by what is essentially “chemotherapy” for the garden. Rather than applying man-made products to plants and soil, we believe in adding beneficial insects to accomplish what nature intended – to fight pests naturally and organically.
The overall concept of beneficial insects is transformational. We hope to help bring about a world where, rather than reaching for a can of bug spray, people will instead deploy an army of insects, then sit back and watch as the landscape comes alive with birds, worms, blooming flowers, and buzzing bees. Nature DOES recover, and you can help by coming alongside her to restore balance in our own yards and gardens.
Where to Buy Beneficial Insects
Beneficial insects for the garden can be found at nurseries and garden centers near you. You can search for a store near you here.
SOURCE: Book review NYT –