Farming with Native Beneficial Insects
The Kerr Center’s projects to provide habitat for beneficial insects in our certified organic horticulture plots, on the Kerr Ranch and in our office landscape are summarized in “Farming with Native Beneficial Insects: Ecological Pest Control Solutions,” a new guidebook from the Xerces Society.
Pollinators such as honey bees, bumble bees, and many butterflies, flies and wasps are certainly beneficial on the farm and in the garden, helping to pollinate millions of dollars worth of crops each year.
But the new book focuses on other beneficials– predators and parasites– which attack other insects, including insect species that damage crops and trees.
The case study, Beneficial Insect Habitat on an Oklahoma Farm and Ranch, outlines our strategies for integrating “economic and ecological goals to achieve successful ranching and farming operations that provide for biodiversity.”
Rotational grazing leads to increasing biodiversity on the ranch. Something is always in bloom during the growing season. In addition to native plants, we grow cover crops and plants such as sunflowers that shelter and sustain beneficial insects throughout the year.
The book argues that gardeners and farmers should consider adding habitat for beneficial insects. And like other Xerces Society books, this one is comprehensive– including
- lists and descriptions of beneficial bugs
- tips on establishing habitat
- lists of native plants for various regions
- beneficial-friendly farming and ranch practices
- the ecology of beneficial insects
- minimizing pesticide use and more.