From the frozen ice fields of the Arctic to the Amazon rain forests, animals, insects and plants are disappearing at alarming rates as a result of climate change, pollution, hunting and habitat loss. Every life on earth is valuable and worth protecting, but there are a few that need some extra attention because if we hurt them, we’ll also be hurting ourselves or we may not be able to live without them. Some of these animals are very important for farming. Without them, we’ll have a huge problem with our food supply because these organisms are directly responsible for pollinating flowers, pest controlling, breaking down organic matter, aerating the soil, etc. To encourage beneficial organisms into your garden it’s important to minimize insecticide and herbicide use and provide natural habitats and shelter. For example, ponds can attract frogs while native trees will encourage native birds, bees, bats and lizards.
Honey bees provide the world with something more important than delicious honey and beeswax. They are the world’s greatest pollinators. Insect pollination supports at least one third of human crop growth and bees are responsible for over 75% of it. Some economically important crops including coconuts, blueberries, strawberries, coffee, mango, cotton, almonds and avocados are mainly reliant upon bee pollination. In fact, cows and some other important animals to humans also depend on bees to pollinate the plants they eat.
At present, human interaction with nature has caused critical problems for bees. Bee numbers have fallen by up to 70% in some parts of the world due to pesticide use, climate change, pollution and disease. Therefore, we need to protect these industrious little insects or we may face mass starvation without them.
Bats are the only mammal capable of flying and approximately one in every five mammals is a bat. They are one of the largest insect consumers on earth. A bat can eat over hundred insects a night and they do it continuously every day. Therefore bats are very important for farmers to control harmful insects and pests. Their fecal matter and urine known as bat guano provides a high concentration of nutrients to plants and the surrounding soil. Except for that, nectar eating bats are crucial pollinators for over 400 ecologically significant plant species.
Earthworms are generally known as ecosystem engineers because they remarkably modify the biological, physical and chemical properties of the soil profile. They eat organic matter and create nutrient rich castings which improve the nutrient availability of the soil. The extensive burrowing and channeling by earthworms aerates and loosens the soil and improves soil structure and drainage. Because of all these reasons, earthworms are very beneficial for gardeners and farmers. So you need to protect these organisms in your garden and farm to increase your fruit harvest.
A garden pond with aquatic plants is a true wildlife magnet providing bathing spots, homes, breeding grounds, food and water for all types of beneficial garden organisms including bees, birds, frogs, snakes, insects, etc. However, if you have a pond without having fish in it, that’s disastrous because a pond without fish is a good breeding spot for mosquitoes. So it’s essential to introduce some suitable fish into your garden pond to make it a small sustainable ecosystem. Except for that, you can also use fish waste as garden fertilizer.
Birds play a vital role in keeping the balance of nature which is very important for farmers and gardeners. They consume thousands of insects, many of which are considered as pests and help maintain sustainable population levels of insects in natural systems, home gardens and farms. Without them, we’ll be having a huge problem protecting our food crops from harmful insects which can affect badly for our continuous food supply. Besides some bird species are very important in plant reproduction through their services as seed dispersers and pollinators.
Lady beetles are also known as Ladybugs. There are over 450 different types of ladybugs in North America and most of them are predators of various soft bodied insects. In fact, ladybugs are a natural predator of pests like thrips and aphids. It’s always good to encourage native ladybugs in your garden instead of buying wild caught ladybugs to manage pests. Sometimes wild caught ladybugs can carry diseases and parasites that will infect the native ladybugs in your farm or garden. However, if you bought them from a company, the best time to release them into your garden is in the evening soon after a watering.
Frogs and Toads
Having frogs and toads in the garden is very beneficial as they naturally feed on many pests such as caterpillars, cutworms, grubs, grasshoppers, slugs, etc. A single frog or toad can eat over 100 insects in one night and up to 10000 in a single summer. Attracting them to live in your garden can keep the pest population down and reduces the need for natural insect deterrents and pesticides. You can attract frogs and toads to your garden by providing them a shallow and non moving water source.
Garden snakes including but not limited to rat snakes, garter snakes, trinket snakes and wolf snakes are generally nonvenomous and harmless to human beings. You can even keep them as pets. They won’t bite you unless provoked and probably won’t chase you or looking for a fight. They are active throughout the year and mostly prey on rodents and insect pests in your garden. Although garden snakes are beneficial predators, venomous species can be dangerous if provoked or startled. If you have venomous snakes in your region, learn how to identify them and never try to pick up a snake species you don’t recognize.
Organisms like honey bees, bats, earthworms, birds and lady beetles are very important for gardeners and farmers. They are responsible for maintaining the balance between good and bad organisms that affect your garden. They help you by pollinating flowers, controlling pests, conditioning the soil and providing manure for free. These beneficial organisms can be lured into your garden or farm by providing them food, water and shelter. You can also purchase them from beekeepers, worm farms and pest management companies. If you are a commercial grower, you must encourage these animals to your farm and they will surely help you to increase your profits gradually.