Go Gardening

It 's a bug's life

-

When looking for ways to grow healthy productive gardens while taking good care of nature, the more we can understand about the tiny creatures we live alongside, the better.

Beneficial insects worldwide are in decline. Without insects for pollinatio­n we’d be missing a huge chunk of the world’s food supply. As precious as our pollinator­s, the predator insects that feed on common garden pests need our protection.

In New Zealand we have thousands of species of tiny parasitic wasps, which lay eggs inside other insects’ eggs, larvae or pupae. When the wasp larvae hatch from their egg they consume their prey, pupate and emerge as new adult wasps. There are parasitic wasps known to prey on aphids, caterpilla­rs, whiteflies, codling moth larvae. New species of parasitic wasp are constantly being discovered. Usually each parasitic wasp species attacks just one kind of pest. They occur naturally in our environmen­t but many are now cultivated as biological control agents

for crops. Find out more about this at bioforce.co.nz.

Like bees, parasitic wasps seek food from flowers and are pollinator­s. Planting bee friendly flowers can also attract these minuscule garden heroes. Parasitic wasps are said to be partial to yellow marigolds, also lavender and the herbs fennel, rosemary and dill.

Planting to support nature has huge benefits - both in the backyard and beyond. Vege plants that turn to flower and ornamental­s that are overdue for dead-heading provide food and hiding places for beneficial insects. Nature loves a messy garden!

Use any pest control with care and caution and always read the label. All insects are potentiall­y harmed by any spray used to solve a pest problem.

 ?? ?? Bees love Phacelia flowers
Bees love Phacelia flowers

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand